No matter how modern you are, there will surely have been times when you’ve paused to admire beautiful antiques. But a look at the price tag may have given you second thoughts. Of course we like to invest in a few signature pieces – and mixing and matching ultra modern decor with antiques is all the rage. But once you’ve dug deep for a few amazing signature items like your sleek lounge suite or arty coffee table, you may be reluctant to pay quite so much for a piece simply because it’s old. The fun side of this is that you can get the look – or get genuine antiques – without the barrier of exorbitant prices. Add a touch of antique character to your decor with these smart, budget-friendly tips.
1. Just Get the Look
From furniture to decorative boxes and other knick-knacks, brand new often looks as authentic – and sometimes even more so – than genuine antiques do. So, instead of suppressing a shudder as you reach for your credit card to pay for an overpriced antique, shop around for replicas that have all the looks, all the class, and none of the hype. You may also find that new, antique-style furniture is better suited for the space constraints of modern homes. Many genuine antiques seem to be real space-eaters. So, if you like the look of that room-sized antique dining table but would prefer something that doesn’t occupy quite so much space, a brand new piece with the right look could be way cheaper than the original.
2. Check out Auctions
There’s a lot of fun to be had out of attending auctions. Just be sure you know what you’re looking for before you begin bidding. Discovering an irresistible bargain is great, but if you have no idea of what you’re actually going to do with it when you get home, it’s better to let someone else walk away with the lucky find. If possible, attend the pre-sale viewing to identify the items you like, research their real value, and decide what you’re willing to pay. That way, you’re less likely to get carried away in the heat of the bidding process, and more likely to end up with items that already have a place in your home decor plans.
3. Know When Junk isn’t Junk
The difference between “junk” and antiques is sometimes nothing more than a difference in name and price tag. Admittedly, antique stores will usually ensure that items are better-presented. They’ll do a little refurbishing and you’re less likely to find what you’re looking for mixed in with a whole lot of stuff that really is junk. But, if you have the time, the patience, and know what you want, you could luck out with genuine antiques at second-hand store prices. If the item looks like it needs a bit of TLC, factor the cost of restoring it to its former glory into the price. If it’s still worth the cost, you have a bargain! Still wondering if it’s worth watching thrift and junk stores? Antique dealers do just that!
4. Bespoke Replica or Original?
If you’re really in love with an antique piece but are hesitating about its price, it may be worth finding out what a bespoke copy might cost you. Wood furniture offers fertile ground for this cost-comparison exercise. Admittedly, your carpenter may have to compromise on certain materials – rare woods may need to be replaced with more easily obtainable and cost-effective ones, for example. Nevertheless, a bespoke replica might cost less and look just as good as the original that you fell in love with but would prefer to get for at least somewhat less.
If you ever looked at a price tag and thought that it looked like the dealer was taking a chance, maybe they are! Of course, you wouldn’t begin a negotiation by saying so, but there’s no harm in telling the antique dealer that you love the piece but are only willing to pay X amount for it. This leaves the tradesperson with two choices: turn you down, or consider parting with the piece for less than they hoped to realize from its sale. Even if your offer is refused, you can leave your contact details and ask the store’s personnel to get in touch if they decide to reduce the price. You never know, they may have second thoughts later, especially if the item simply won’t sell at the current asking price.
Don’t Make These Mistakes
Hunting for a bargain can be a lot of fun. Finding one is even better, but a bargain isn’t a bargain if you end up buying just because you found one. Be as sure as you can about what you want before you begin and only settle for a compromise if you’re certain that the substitution will be a good one. If you’re fondly thinking about refurbishing items yourself, do consider whether you have the skills, the equipment, and the time you’ll need to get the job done. If it’s going to end up languishing in the garage rather than adorning your home, there’s no point in reaching for your pocket book!