Trader Advice: Finding, Owning and Caring For Your Vintage Furniture

(taken from Judy’s Affordable Vintage Digest 7…read more here)

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By Kim and Phil Allsopp of Festival Fifty One

In our fast paced world of instant gratification and disposable lifestyles we are finding ourselves looking back at our pasts with fond nostalgia and a want to create home comforts from a bygone era.

There continues to be a growing demand for us to furnish our homes with original vintage furniture, lighting and styling from decades of the last century. A particular favourite period right now is the mid-century (1950’s – 1970’s).

So, how do we do this and where do we go?

Finding well made pieces that have stood the test of time, in good condition and at a reasonable price is becoming quite a challenge!

The Vintage Furniture Flea really is a great place to start. A sister business of Judy’s Affordable Vintage Fairs, The Vintage Furniture Flea is filled with carefully selected traders who really do know their stuff!  You can pick up pretty much anything your heart desires for mid-century living at The Flea. What you will find is not only a fabulous array of stock to choose from but prices that really will surprise you! (in a very good way).

So, what do we choose?

Now this really does depend on personal taste.  I think it’s always best to start with a couple of key pieces which make an immediate impact.  How about a couple of new chairs, a new sofa or even a sideboard?  One simple piece can make a great new look instantly. The demand for solid wooden pieces in Teak or Rosewood is as high as ever and to be honest you really cannot beat these pieces for great quality and craftsmanship.

Don’t forget your mid-century lighting.  Lighting can and does dramatically change the mood of any room or space at home.  Mid-century lighting comes in many shapes and forms and in most cases, is instantly recognisable.  Warm yellow and orange glows from fibre spun shades and rocket lamps, as well as the space age forms of Danish pendant lights with their smooth copper and aluminium shapes suspended like floating UFO’s look quite simply, fabulous!

You can have an absolute field day with your soft furnishings too.  The vivid colours, prints, patterns and textures of fabrics from the

mid-century enable you to be as creative as you want to be in your own home.  Nothing looks as good as a scattering of cushions on a vintage sofa made from a variety of patterns and colours.

So, how do we care for our new mid-century homes?

To be honest, this is really quite simple…it’s back to basics here!  Remember this stuff has lasted an awful lot longer than most other things you have ever owned!

Wooden furniture always loves a feed.  When polishing it, use a non silicone based polish, and something beeswax based is great.

Remember a bit of elbow grease works a treat and helps with a nice shiny finish.

When cleaning your vintage glassware avoid the dishwasher at all costs! These were barely around when your glassware was produced and are far too harsh for your delicate Babycham glasses! (Look how cloudy your everyday glasses end up after a while when the dishwasher cleans them!)  Warm soapy water will bring a sparkle to any glass, vase or ornament.

Hand washing vintage textiles will not only avoid shrinkage but will keep your colours and patterns both bright and vivid.  This is exactly how you want these mini ‘pieces of art’ to remain!

This may seem a bit more arduous than your usual housekeeping chores, but just think of the pleasure these items bring to you and your home….it’s just like you’re rewarding them for their ongoing, almost eternal beauty!

Happy Hunting Everyone!