tips for buying antique furniture

Thursday, July 14, 2011

I recently had the pleasure of discovering West Egg Interiors. West Egg Interiors is a small company located in the United Kingdom and run by a lovely lady named Louisa Blackmore. West Egg has an online shop selling restored vintage furniture and accessories.

Their tagline is:
"selling an inspiring collection of unique furniture and decorative home accessories that are simple, charming and good quality. Every piece sold by West Egg has been carefully sourced and diligently restored. "

Louisa recently wrote an article on her blog on her top 10 tips for buying antique furniture and has been very kind to let me share it with you.

Top 10 Tips For Buying antique Furniture

  • Be Prepared! If you're visiting antique fairs or auctions and have a piece of furniture in mind, say a chest of drawers, make sure you measure the area it is supposed to fit before you go. Useful things to take with you are a tape measure, camera, notebook and pen. For early morning antiques fairs you should definitely take a waterproof jacket/coat (if you don't it will rain, every time). Also a good tip is a hot flask for tea or coffee - it is very cold at 5am even in the summer months. 
  •  Unless a piece of furniture has been hidden away under a shroud of blankets in a country mansion for donkeys years, you should expect to see certain signs of everyday wear and tear that the hustle and bustle of life inflicts on furniture over time. Always look to see if the wear and tear on a piece of furniture is convincing and consistent - you would see normal wear on arms, legs and handles. Also, any screws, nails, handles and corners should have small patches of discolouration around them. 
  • The patina and colour of a piece of furniture is acquired by a hundred years of exposure to light, daily use and regular polishing/waxing. You would expect to see marks and scratches over a long period of time, if not it may mean the surface has been stripped back and re-polished thereby losing the wonderful patina of 100+ years of use. 
  • Never pick a chair up by its arms, always hold it underneath. Chairs are most liable to loose joints or broken legs so always check the joints carefully. You don't want to be left holding the leg and the rest of the chair crumbles around you
  • Always check the proportions of a piece of furniture and ensure that each of the drawers were made in the same way and of the same wood. 
  • Painted furniture was popular from the mid 18th century to the early 20th century and often pieces were repainted to reflect the fashion of the day. Fake antique painted furniture is often convincingly replicated because it incorporates a realistic distressed effect. Always closely examine the paintwork - there should be obvious layers of paint with dirt in between each layer. Dark wax is used to copy this effect and you may be able to smell it if recently applied. 
  • Unhappy marriages in furniture can usually be spotted straightaway by looking at any variations in construction, proportion and colour-matching. 
  • From unhappy marriage to divorce! Many pieces of early antique furniture were cut down to fit a smaller room size. These pieces are more difficult to spot but always look for unusual fading or other inconsistent marks. 
  • With tables always check the table top and base are made from the same wood or veneering and check there aren't any unusual marks underneath. 
  • Finally, watch out for the 19th century revivals of certain styles - you can spot a reproduction piece if it has exaggerated details, is made of exotic timber or the decoration is a mixture of styles. 
If you are an old hand at buying antique furniture, I hope this will give you a few new tips. If you are a beginner, I would suggest printing this list and taking it with you as a reference.

Thanks again to Louisa and be sure to check out her blog and online shop HERE 

photos via West Egg Interiors

Have a wonderful Thursday. I am heading off to an auction and hope to find some great goodies for the shop.



  1. Following you from the Over 40 GFC hop! Hope you'll follow us back :)

  2. Found your tips very right on. I work in antique mall, the one thing most people don't realize is this is not a made to order business.
    Your new follower,

  3. Hi, glad you found me. Following you back. Very cool site you have here.

  4. Great tips~ Would love for you to come share at my weekend decorating party sometime! :)

  5. ...wish I was heading to an auction...except I'm kind of out of room at the moment :) Thanks for visiting my blog.
    Have a great weekend!

  6. Those are some great tips to follow. I love antique looking...I say looking because I don't buy (often), I just visit the pieces and enjoy them at the stores until they find their forever homes.

    Thank you for stopping by to visit Our Country Home, we are so glad you have you.
    Blessings Kelsie

  7. Those are great tips, what works for me, take a knowledge friend along!

  8. This is really fantastic —there is so much to know in the world of antiquing, so many aspects to consider!
    Having a certain knowledge of styles/art periods doesn't hurt, either...

  9. Thank you for the great tips found you from the Red Hen Home blog I also was wondering how you price your items on Etsy I have so much of the same treasures sitting in my basement

  10. Great tips, I started carrying a tape measurer with me at all times! and I love that chest at the end of the bed! Thanks for linking up with VIF, xo Debra

  11. Wow! This post was great. My auntie loves antique too, I will refer this site to her. Thank yu for sharing.


  12. Massive of people's percentage are antique lovers, but the problem is, how they will identify the significance of a certain furniture is, and what it is made of. Such that, you have given them the vision on how to do it. Thanks for the tips! :)

  13. Massive of people's percentage are antique lovers, but the problem is, how they will identify the significance of a certain furniture is, and what it is made of. Such that, you have given them the vision on how to do it. Thanks for the tips! :)

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