Tips for Buying Antique Furniture Online

5 Essential Tips for Buying Antique Furniture Online

Buying antique furniture online can be a daunting task, but with these essential tips, you can ensure a successful purchase. We’ve gathered expert advice from vintage experts and interior designers to help you navigate the world of online antique shopping.

Key Takeaways:

  • Request detailed photos and videos to trust your eyes when shopping for antique furniture online.
  • Look for signs of quality and craftsmanship such as intricate designs and special features.
  • Consider the period and condition of the furniture and its structural integrity before making a purchase.
  • Trust your instincts and personal style when choosing antique furniture.
  • Verify the authenticity of the seller and be mindful of hidden costs.

Trust Your Eyes: Request Detailed Photos and Videos

When shopping for antique furniture online, your eyes are your guide. Since you can’t physically inspect the piece, it’s crucial to request high-quality photos and even videos from the seller. Look for close-up shots of details, damage, or any imperfections that may not be visible in the original photos. Video footage is also recommended as it is harder to manipulate compared to photos. If a seller refuses to provide additional visual material, it’s best to walk away and find a more transparent seller.

By examining detailed photos and videos, you can better assess the condition and authenticity of the antique furniture you intend to purchase. It allows you to get a closer look at intricate carvings, unique features, and any potential wear or damage. Requesting visual material is an excellent way to gain confidence in your decision and make an informed choice.

“A picture is worth a thousand words.”

Visual evidence plays a significant role in online antique furniture shopping. Trust your eyes, and don’t hesitate to ask for additional photos or videos if necessary. The more information you have, the better equipped you’ll be to make a wise purchase decision.

Benefits of requesting detailed photos and videos:

  • Allows for closer inspection of intricate details and craftsmanship
  • Helps identify any hidden damage or imperfections
  • Provides a more accurate representation of the item’s condition
  • Increases confidence in the authenticity and value of the piece
  • Aids in comparing multiple listings and making informed comparisons

Look for Signs of Quality and Craftsmanship

When buying antique furniture online, it’s important to look for signs of quality and craftsmanship. These elements not only indicate the skill and expertise of the makers but also contribute to the value and authenticity of the piece.

Antique furniture of good quality often features intricate designs, carvings, and special features like brass or bronze mounts. These decorative details showcase the attention to detail and artistry of the craftsmen.

One way to assess the quality of antique furniture is to pay attention to the type and thickness of the wood veneer. High-quality pieces often have thick veneers that are expertly applied and show minimal signs of wear or deterioration.

Another indicator of craftsmanship is the presence of dovetail joints in drawers. Dovetail joints, characterized by interlocking wedge-shaped pieces, are not only visually appealing but also demonstrate the skill and precision of the furniture maker.

For more valuable or rare items, it’s essential to look for markers that can provide further insight into the piece’s history and provenance. These markers may include labels, stickers, or stamps that indicate the designer, manufacturer, or date of the furniture.

These markers not only add to the historical value of the piece but also help confirm its authenticity. For example, a furniture piece with an original manufacturer’s label can provide valuable information about its origin and craftsmanship.

Common Signs of Quality and Craftsmanship in Antique Furniture

Signs of Quality Signs of Craftsmanship
1. Intricate designs and carvings 1. Dovetail joints in drawers
2. Special features like brass or bronze mounts 2. Precise wood veneer application
3. Thick and well-maintained wood veneer 3. Attention to detail in decorative elements
4. Labels, stickers, or stamps indicating designer, manufacturer, or date 4. Overall structural integrity

Consider the Period and Condition

When purchasing antique furniture online, it’s essential to consider both the period in which the piece was made and its overall condition. Certain periods are known for producing higher-quality furniture, making them a smart choice for buyers seeking long-lasting and well-crafted pieces.

One example is mid-century modern furniture, which encompasses pieces made from the 1940s to the 1970s. These designs, often characterized by clean lines and minimalist aesthetics, continue to be highly sought after for their timeless appeal and durability.

For those interested in European antiques, the late 1800s to the early 1900s represent a sweet spot for beautifully crafted furniture. This era saw exceptional attention to detail, with ornate carvings, exquisite veneers, and elegant finishes becoming hallmarks of European craftsmanship.

While the period is important, it’s equally crucial to carefully assess the condition of the furniture you’re considering. Mint, original condition pieces tend to be more expensive, as their untouched state often preserves the value and historical significance of the piece. However, expertly restored or repaired items can be excellent alternatives, allowing buyers to acquire unique and beautiful pieces at a potentially more accessible price point.

When evaluating the condition, pay attention to any repairs or restorations that have been done, as well as the overall quality of the workmanship. Restorations should be executed with care and precision, ensuring that they enhance the piece’s aesthetics and functionality without compromising its original essence.

Consider the cost of restoration or repair when assessing the overall value of the piece. While investing in a beautiful antique is exciting, it’s crucial to factor in any additional expenses that may arise as a result of necessary repairs or improvements.

Ultimately, by carefully considering both the period and condition of antique furniture, you can make informed purchasing decisions and find stunning pieces that will enhance your space with their timeless beauty.

Period Key Features
Mid-century modern (1940s – 1970s) Clean lines, minimalist design, durability
Late 1800s – early 1900s European antiques Ornate carvings, exquisite veneers, elegant finishes

Double-Check Structural Integrity

Thoroughly inspecting the structural integrity of antique furniture is essential before making a purchase. By ensuring that every component of the piece is in good condition, you can avoid any potential issues and make a confident buying decision.

Here are some key areas to focus on when examining the structural integrity:

1. Smooth-Opening Drawers

Check if the drawers open and close smoothly, without any sticking or resistance. If possible, request a video demonstration to observe the functionality in action. This is especially important for antique dressers, chests, and cabinets, as malfunctioning drawers can greatly impact usability.

2. Level and Intact Furniture Legs

Inspect the furniture legs to ensure they are level and properly attached. Uneven legs can cause the piece to wobble or tilt, compromising its stability and safety. Additionally, look for signs of damage or repairs, such as cracks or loose joints, as they could indicate structural problems.

3. Upholstered Items – Springs and Cushions

For upholstered antique furniture, pay close attention to the condition of the springs and cushions. Sit or press down on the furniture to assess its comfort and support. Replacing or repairing springs and cushions can be a costly endeavor, so it’s essential to consider the condition of these components before making a purchase.

Expert Tip: Don’t hesitate to inquire about the type of springs used in the upholstery. Eight-way hand-tied springs are known for their durability and longevity, making them a desirable feature in antique furniture.

Remember, when buying antique furniture online, functionality and safety should never be compromised. Thoroughly evaluating the structural integrity of the piece will help ensure that you’re investing in a high-quality and durable item.

Tips for Buying Vintage Furniture Online

Trust Your Instincts and Personal Style

When it comes to buying vintage furniture online, your personal taste and instincts should be your guiding principles. Trust your gut and choose pieces that resonate with you and complement your unique style. Vintage and antique furniture have the power to bring character and depth to any room, making it truly one-of-a-kind.

Embrace the imperfections that come with age and history, as they can add charm and authenticity to your space. Remember that each piece of vintage furniture is unique, and there’s a certain magic in discovering and owning something that is the only one of its kind.

Stay true to your preferences and trust your instinct throughout the buying process. Don’t be influenced solely by trends or what others may say is “in.” Instead, focus on what speaks to you and enhances your personal style.

Buying antique furniture is like curating your own personal art collection. Let your individuality shine through and choose pieces that tell your story.

Incorporating vintage and antique furniture into your home adds a layer of authenticity and history that cannot be replicated. The character and craftsmanship of these pieces create a sense of timelessness, making them stand out in any modern setting.

So, trust your instincts, embrace your personal style, and let the beauty of vintage furniture transform your space into a reflection of your unique taste and personality.

Check the Authenticity of the Seller

Before making a purchase, it’s essential to verify the authenticity and credibility of the seller. Reading reviews and checking for affiliations with reputable organizations such as NAADA or ADA can provide valuable insights into their track record and reputation. Researching the seller’s knowledge and expertise in antique furniture is also crucial in assessing their credibility.

Trustworthy sellers will go the extra mile to provide condition reports, which detail any flaws or imperfections, allowing you to make an informed decision. They should also display extensive knowledge about the piece, including its history and provenance. Additionally, reliable sellers often offer additional videos or photos that offer a closer look at the furniture’s details and condition.

Online Antique Furniture Shopping Tips

Remember, the more information the seller provides, the better equipped you are to make a confident purchase decision. If a seller appears hesitant or unwilling to share essential details, it’s a red flag that should prompt further scrutiny or the consideration of alternative sellers.

Verify Seller Authenticity Checklist:

  1. Read reviews and testimonials from previous customers.
  2. Check for affiliations with reputable antique and vintage organizations such as NAADA or ADA.
  3. Research the seller’s knowledge and expertise in antique furniture.

By following these steps, you can ensure that the seller you choose is trustworthy and reliable, making your online antique furniture shopping experience safer and more enjoyable.

Be Mindful of Hidden Costs and Receipts

When it comes to purchasing antique furniture online, there are a few hidden costs to keep in mind. These additional expenses can have a significant impact on your overall investment and the value of the piece. Here are some tips to consider:

Shipping Costs

Shipping antique furniture can be expensive, especially if the item is large or delicate. Before making a purchase, inquire about the shipping costs and whether the seller provides insurance for the shipment. Factor in these costs when budgeting for your antique furniture purchase.

Restoration and Repairs

Antique furniture often requires restoration or repairs to ensure its longevity and maintain its value. Consider the condition of the piece and the potential costs associated with bringing it back to its original glory. It’s essential to be aware of any necessary repairs and factor these into your decision-making process.


If you’re considering purchasing antique furniture with upholstery, be mindful of the potential cost of re-upholstery. Fabrics may be worn, stained, or have tears that need to be addressed. Remember to account for the cost of re-upholstering the piece when determining its overall value.

By considering these hidden costs, you can make a more informed decision about your antique furniture purchase and avoid any surprises down the line. Another important aspect to keep in mind is requesting a receipt for your purchase.

Why Requesting a Receipt is Important

Requesting a receipt for your antique furniture purchase is essential for several reasons:

1. Proof of Purchase: A receipt serves as proof that you have bought the item and can help address any disputes or issues that may arise with the seller.

2. Authenticity: The receipt provides documentation of the transaction, including details about the piece, such as its origin, date of purchase, and any accompanying certificates of authenticity.

3. Warranty Information: Some sellers may offer warranties or guarantees, and having a receipt ensures that you have the necessary information to avail yourself of such benefits if needed.

4. Insurance Purposes: If you decide to insure your antique furniture, a receipt will be required for the insurance claim process.

Always make sure to request a receipt from the seller and keep it in a safe place. It’s an essential document that protects both your investment and your rights as a buyer.


Buying antique furniture online can be an exciting and fulfilling experience when armed with the right tips. By following these essential guidelines, such as requesting detailed photos and videos, trusting your instincts, and verifying the authenticity of the seller, you can make informed decisions and discover that perfect statement piece for your home.

Remember to carefully consider the period and condition of the furniture, as well as double-check its structural integrity. Pay attention to intricate craftsmanship and quality markers like dovetail joints and labels. Additionally, be mindful of hidden costs such as shipping, restoration, and re-upholstery that may impact the overall value of your purchase.

With these tips in mind, you’re now ready to embark on your antique furniture shopping journey online. Happy hunting, and may you find the timeless treasures that will enhance your living space and bring joy for years to come!


What are some essential tips for buying antique furniture online?

Follow these five essential tips to ensure a successful purchase:

How can I trust the quality of antique furniture when shopping online?

Look for signs of quality and craftsmanship, such as intricate designs, carvings, special features, and markers like labels or stamps indicating the designer or manufacturer.

What should I consider when evaluating the period and condition of antique furniture?

Pay attention to the period that produced high-quality furniture, such as mid-century modern pieces or European antiques from the late 1800s to early 1900s. Consider the condition of the furniture, whether it is in mint, original condition or has been carefully restored or repaired.

How can I ensure the structural integrity of antique furniture when buying online?

Thoroughly check the structural integrity of the piece, ensuring that drawers open and close smoothly, furniture legs are level and intact, and for upholstered items, check the condition of springs and cushions.

What role does personal style and instinct play in buying antique furniture online?

Trust your personal taste and instincts when choosing pieces that speak to you and align with your unique style. Imperfections can be part of the charm, so stay true to your preferences and trust your instincts in the buying process.

How can I verify the authenticity and credibility of the seller when buying antique furniture online?

Read reviews, check for affiliations with reputable organizations, such as NAADA or ADA, and inquire about the seller’s knowledge and expertise in antique furniture. Trustworthy sellers will provide condition reports, extensive knowledge about the piece, and additional videos or photos to assist you in making an informed decision.

What hidden costs should I be aware of when buying antique furniture online?

Be mindful of potential hidden costs, such as shipping, restoration, and re-upholstery. Request a receipt for your purchase to protect yourself in case of any issues or disputes with the seller or the item you bought.

Related Posts