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How to Find Great Vintage Home Décor Items

Decorating your apartment with chic, vintage pieces is a fun way to spice up your space. Vintage items are also great conversation starters, each one with a story of how you located it. Just follow our guide and you'll be well on your way to finding your next new (or at least new-to-you) vintage piece.

5 tips to finding great vintage home décor items

  1. Know what you want. You'll never find the perfect knick-knack for your shelf if you don't remember you need it. Keep a running list of home décor items you are on the lookout for on your smartphone.
  2. Vary your sources, both online and offline. At a big thrift store or antique mall, you'll have a larger selection. But you'll have better luck negotiating when purchasing from an individual at a flea market or yard sale. You can also find great vintage pieces online, which is where we purchased this kooky 1960's flying machine wall art (from Etsy). Check out the end of this article for more vintage store suggestions.How to Find Great Vintage Home Décor Items
  3. Be patient. Rome wasn't built in a day, and a fully decorated, complete home won't be either. Finding the right item can take a fair amount of patience and time. You might strike out completely at a store one day only to find a plethora of items the next time.
  4. Look often. Inventory at thrift and vintage stores changes daily, so the more often you're there, the more likely you are to find treasures. The same advice goes for online stores. Be sure to chat up the staff at in-person stores, too. They're the "gatekeepers" to all the items and may be able to help you find what you're looking for, or keep an eye out for a specific item for you.
  5. Keep an open mind. We know we said to make a list, but it's just as important to keep an open mind! You never know what décor piece you might stumble upon that you didn't even know you needed. Keep an eye out for items that need a little work to become perfect, like a fresh coat of paint or new set of knobs.

Vintage décor shopping in your area

San Francisco Bay Area vintage décor shopping:

  • Alameda Pointe Antiques Faire, held the first Sunday of every month. Plan to spend the day here so you have time to get lost wandering the aisles.
  • The mini "Deco Ghetto" area in San Francisco's Mid-Market neighborhood. You'll find several vintage shops all in one area. Our favorite is Decodence, which has something for nearly every budget.
  • Vintage Cove in Pacifica, which features an ever-changing inventory at reasonable prices. Check out their Yelp page to see what other customers have found.

Seattle area vintage décor shopping:

  • The Fremont neighborhood in Seattle, with its gems like the Fremont Vintage Mall and the Fremont Sunday flea market. There's no end to vintage shops here.
  • Modern to Vintage in Renton. Just as the name suggests, modern pieces are juxtaposed with more classic, heirloom pieces. Its hours are sporadic, so we recommend making an appointment.
  • Gilman Gallery​​ in Issaquah. Yes, it's a little off the beaten path, but it's worth a look. Be sure to check out their vintage signs, rustic antiques and magical mirrors.

Portland area vintage décor shopping:

  • Portland's Indoor/Outdoor Flea Market, held every Sunday at the Eagle's Lodge in North Portland. You'll find that most vendors would love to tell you the stories behind their wares, so don't be afraid to strike up a conversation.
  • City Home in Portland, an eclectic mix of vintage and vintage-inspired home goods. From industrial furniture to brilliant bric-a-brac, this store has a little bit of everything.
  • Dozens of shops in the Hawthorne district of Portland. Make sure you check out the cleverly curated collections at Hawthorne Vintage and Lounge Lizard.

Online vintage décor shopping:

  • Etsy's great vintage selection. You can even filter by color. Try searching for popular items using a common misspelling, and you might uncover a hidden gem.
  • Olde Good Things, which sources architectural items from late nineteenth and pre-depression buildings.
  • Brick + Mortar in Georgia. Luckily, you don't have to fly there – you can check purchase their newest finds online.

Does vintage décor shopping sound like a lot of work? Don't worry – the hunt for the perfect flea market home décor item is half the fun. Now get out there and get searching.