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Style your vintage home

There are so many reasons to buy vintage and period furniture - from the gorgeous and unique looks to the fact it's better for the environment. Here are seven reasons to ditch the mass-produced and shop vintage.

My house is filled with vintage, antique and second-hand furniture and accessories – and I love nothing more than to re-purpose a tired looking piece into something fresh and functional. My idea of heaven on earth is a good old rummage at an antiques fair or second-hand market.

My favourite midweek haunts are the Sunbury Antiques Market at Kempton Park Racecourse and the Sandown Antiques Market at Sandown Park in Esher – click here for dates.

But the big news is that Sandown now has a Sunday fair, and the next one is coming up quick on Sunday 15 September. Unlike the midweek fairs which tend to attract a fair number of antique dealers, traders and and interior designers, the Sunday market is firmly aimed at private buyers.

There’s a brilliant vibe at the Sandown Market, whether you go along simply for a browse and rootle or you’re elbows are sharpened and you’re armed with a list. Stall holders come from the Continent as well as the UK, so this means a grand offering of French farmhouse furniture, Dutch and Flemish style antiques and a brilliant range of other wares: quirky and cool, fine and rustic, antique, retro and vintage.

TV antiques expert Henry Nicholls will also be there to give free valuations and appraisals, and there will be live jazz music from Nick Allen.

And just in case you’re still not convinced – here are seven reasons to shop period and vintage…

1. Vintage and period furniture looks great

If you want your home interiors to really stand out, with a bespoke and individual look, this is the way to go. And whether it’s mid-century furniture, retro vintage, Victorian, Art Nouveau, industrial vintage or Gothic – chances are it’s going to look great. Don’t be afraid to mix styles to create wow.


2. Vintage furniture has a story

Old furniture has been around – and depending on its age it may have been around for generations, so history runs deep. There’s something quite special about furniture that has a past. It may have survived the war, or been loved by many before you. You’re dressing your home in living history.


3. It’s ethical

Period and vintage furniture is already here on our planet – so why buy new? Flat pack modern furniture is often mass produced in factories around the world, which means its carbon footprint is high. As well as the manufacturing process, there’s also the air miles, local freighting, plus the packaging.

4. Vintage furniture is sturdy, strong and great quality

You know the saying: they don’t make things like they used to. And that applies particularly to furniture. Antique furniture is usually really well made – and mostly by hand. Craftsmen create a quality finish with particular attention to detail like the use of solid wood, dovetail joints and intricate hand-carving.


5. Vintage furniture is unique

Mass produced furniture is exactly that – furniture produced on a massive scale. And while there’s room for a bit of Ikea and Habitat in most homes, for a truly unique interiors look it’s got to be vintage. Retro and period furniture will often have quirky features like hidden drawers and compartments, embellished panels and unusual legs.


6. It’s an investment

Buy well, and look after your period furniture, and there’s no reason it won’t retain its value or even increase in price. As vintage furniture is mostly hand-crafted there are fewer piece around, so that also creates more demand. Look for solid wood and interesting and unusual details like the turn of the legs, handles and etchings.


7. You’ll save money

Compared to the price of a lot of brand new modern furniture, vintage furniture can often be found at bargain prices. Especially if you know where to look. Stick to vintage fairs and markets, like the Sunbury Antiques Market and the Sunbury Antiques and Vintage Fairs. And don’t be afraid to haggle on the price.

The next Sandown Antiques Market is on Sun 15 Sept. Sunbury Antiques is at Kempton Park Racecourse on the second and last Tuesday of every month


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