Published: 10:00, 17 August 2017
If you’re heading to a second-hand sale this weekend, maintain your focus in order to come back with some true treasures, as opposed to trivial tat.
Try not to get distracted by pieces that will have no purpose in your home – you’ll just end up selling them on or letting them languish in the attic. Instead, arrive armed and ready with a list of desirable items on your radar, while remaining open to variations on a theme.
For example, kitchen chairs may be a top pick, but could a bench work just as well? Take a gander at these star buys before finalising your most-wanted list.
Ask an expert: The secrets of successful second-hand furniture hunting
Go back to school
School-style chairs add an instant utilitarian touch to interiors and can normally be found at amazing prices. Designs vary, but all should prove durable providing they’re in good condition.
These industrial-inspired numbers have been personalised with names to avoid mealtime squabbles. The beautiful tiled floor avoids wood-overload, but a rug could perform a similar function if you have exposed boards.
Find a French fancy
As well as practical purchases, second-hand sales are a paradise of pretty pieces to decorate your home with. Look for French finds such as antique shutters to use as a room divider or to dress up a simple scheme, as here, where they’re used as a headboard.
If modern-country style is right up your street, seek out vintage linens, handmade glass jars and antique artwork.
More ways to get a contemporary country look
Start a collection
Car boot sales and markets often offer up a motley crew of crockery. Whether you’ve already started a collection or are thinking of picking up a few new (old) items, vintage plates, jugs, cups and dishes make sweet additions.
This all-white assemblage is particularly alluring. Home in on handmade pieces to give your selection tactile appeal.
Catch onto cargo
Soup up your storage by sourcing a stash of vintage crates and boxes. These handy helpers can be used stacked, or individually, to hold books or craft items, and they can even act as occasional tables.
This Champagne crate makes a cool plant stand. Suitcases and antique trunks are also worth bagging to use as coffee tables or cupboard-top containers.
Illuminate the past
Vintage lights are having a moment and are a wonderful way to add an original touch to interiors. Whether you’re enamoured with old factory fittings, ship lights or elegant designs from the midcentury period, there is a wealth of different varieties available.
These porcelain-topped pendants make an chic dining room addition. For safety and ease, buy lights that have already been adapted for modern use. Rewiring is also an option if you have a registered electrician on hand.
Struggling to find the perfect vintage piece? Take a look at modern lighting products in vintage-style
Finesse the floor
Keep your eyes peeled for Moroccan Berbers, vintage kilims, extravagant oriental designs or a bright tapestry-looking treat such as this one. Older rugs are likely to offer value for money in terms of quality, especially if you head to an auction or do a bit of hunting online.
Non-standard sizing can be an issue, but there are workarounds: if you fall in love with a rug that’s too small for the intended space, consider how it would look layered over a flat-woven jute style to bolster its borders.
Discover and display
Glass-doored cabinets are useful, versatile and have a charm all of their own. This piece is more about display than every day access, transforming the all-white kitchen with the natural warmth of wood.
Similar styles would work equally well in a bedroom or study – providing you’re not the sort of person to deal with mess by cramming everything inside a cupboard. Curated contents only, please.
Do things differently
Expand your home décor horizons by seeking out forgotten pieces for imaginative upcycling.
This vanity has been adapted from a drawer set, topped with a basin and given a copper pipe tap. For this sort of project, you’ll need to consider where the pipes can be hidden.
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