After telling my father in law that I was on the hunt for a vintage sputnik fixture, it wasn’t more than two weeks before he texted me with a photo saying “Sputnik complete. Buy of the day.”  He found it at the Goodwill Auction in Athens, Texas for…..drumroll….$40!

In the past, he’s bought me a pair of bamboo chairs for $10, a glass top for my bamboo patio set for $15- all from either the local auction or garage sales.  The moral of this story is that you never know what you’ll find at these types of places.  One man’s trash could be another woman’s treasure (ie: me!) and I’ve never felt apprehension about parking my car on the side of the road and venturing into an unknown thrift store, consignment shop, garage sale, estate sale, or the like.

Last night I thought it might be helpful if I sent my father in law a list of the vintage pieces that I’m always on the lookout for (since apparently he is my good luck charm)..a vintage dictionary of sorts.  As I start typing out a LONG list of 25+ things with descriptions on each, (and wanting to send the list to everyone I know so they could be on the lookout too) I realize that there might even be people out there stumbling upon these pieces at garage sales, without even knowing their worth.

{image via Again and Again}

So without further ado, here’s my list of “trendy” vintage items that are hot hot hot right now! If you see one of these for $10 at a garage sale, it would be wise to throw it in the back of your truck bed and never look back..seriously….I guarantee that there are a bunch of people out there who will be glad to take it off your hands!

{All image examples via Circa Who, Again and Again and Gypsy Soul Interiors- just a few of my favorite go-to vintage sources. Circa Who- please move to Dallas!}

1) Faux bamboo- I’ve never met a piece of bamboo furniture that I didn’t like.  I often call myself the “bamboo” lady.  I love bamboo pieces because they are easily paintable and look awesome in bright colors.  Dressers, nightstands, armoires, dining and patio sets- you name it. Faux bamboo is everywhere now! Especially in my house.  I would say out of everything on this list, faux bamboo detailing is probably the easiest to find.

 

 I have this same style of patio set (and painted it glossy blue gray)- best find ever. Thanks Christian!

Circa Who has a set in this style as we speak!

2) Lucite/acrylic- This clear material can go by either name but I find that it’s most commonly referred to as lucite.  Lucite can be found in both furniture and lighting.  Finding acrylic is like finding GOLD! Snatch. It. Up.   Whether the whole thing is acrylic or just the legs/base, I’ve discovered that people are okay with even the slightest bit of acrylic heaven!  Post something on Craigs List with lucite in the name and it is gone in a flash! The ghost chairs of course are some of the most widely known acrylic pieces but as much as I love them, I’m partial to unique vintage lucite pieces.

Oftentimes, you will see people selling just the lucite base of a coffee table or dining table on Ebay or what not.  It’s so easy and affordable to get a glass top cut for one so definitely don’t overlook those pieces that solely include the base!

3) Rattan- It has a similar look to bamboo and is made up of stems of a palm.  I’m actually looking for a rattan hall tree at the moment with very specific dimensions which has been hard to find.  I saw one in Canton a while back and my husband convinced me not to buy it- the one time I listened to him, it definitely backfired on me! Rattan also makes great patio chairs like these below.

4) Elephant Garden Seats- People love these little whimsical garden stools and planters. I’ve always been a little on the fence about these. I think they are fun but I know if I brought one home Ben would give me the “why” look times a thousand..

5) Black lacquer ming chairs or ming style of furniture- People die over the black lacquered ming chairs! A pair will often go for $800-900.  I wish I had somewhere to put these in our house….still trying to make room!

6) Dorothy Draper chest- I’d sell my first born for one of these.  You will come across the Dorothy Draper impostors and the true Dorothy Draper’s. The impostors can go for $750 and the real ones in the thousands. A pair of these can be hard to find! Not too long ago I saw a pair on Dallas’ 24-7 estate sales website and so I raced to get to the estate sale right when it opened and the lady there told me that they were gone…someone had camped out in front of the sale since 2:30 AM waiting for them!! Although I pine for a pair of these chests, my beauty sleep is a little more important.

7) Pagoda- anything “pagoda”- esque goes- light fixtures, mirrors etc. Gold, white or a bright color is always nice!

8) Fretwork- Snatch up anything with fretwork on it!  You usually see this interlaced detailing on cabinets, armoires, and dining tables.  I saw a big white rectangular fretwork dining table at a warehouse sale a while back for pennies and was so sad that it wouldn’t fit in the EJ Interiors office.  Maybe it was a sign I didn’t need another vintage piece!

9) Caning- I personally love anything with caning. My dining chairs have cane backs and I love them, but you do have to be careful that you don’t lean too far back into them (I have stretched a cane back or two). My favorite are cane back benches…

Bamboo AND Caning combo?  Cha ching!

10) Wicker or fiberglass fan chairs- I have a pair of these in my backyard (courtesy of Gypsy Soul).  They have such a great shape to them. My fiberglass ones survived the legendary Dallas hailstorm in June so I’d say they are pretty sturdy little things!

11) Blue and white porcelain- Timeless. Enough said.

12) French Louis chairs- These have caning which I love, but the most sought after ones have an upholstered back with either a round or square shape.  The square ones can be especially hard to find!

13) X benches- A pair of these is definitely worth picking up! Most of the time they are all upholstered, but sometimes only the top is upholstered and the base is metal or wood.

14) Shell back chairs- ever since I saw one of these chairs in Leslie Pritchard’s home (of Again and Again), I have daydreams about these!  When I saw six of them on Circa Who’s website, I was like a kid in a candy shop.

15) Brass- It seems most of my clients either lean one way or the other- silver or gold.  I tend to gravitate towards gold.  Anything with brass is a must in my book!

 
16) Mirrored- I always say that every space needs a touch of mirror. I have a hard time finding vintage mirrored pieces (I find more new mirrored pieces) so it’s extremely exciting to stumble upon something like this every now and then-

 

17) Bar carts- Finding my $40 brass bar cart was the highlight of my year!  People LOVE the brass bamboo ones, but lucite bar carts and chrome bar carts are also other bar cart must haves.

 

18) Greek key- I know it’s something we see everywhere, but greek key still seems to be going strong!  I especially heart a pair of greek key wooden nightstands like so-

19) Elephant desks or elephant consoles- People go nutty for these consoles and desks with elephants on the legs!  I must say…I’ve always wanted one! My favorite is when they lacquer them a bright orange.

 

20)  Tassel or rope detailing- on furniture/mirrors is very popular right now!  We’ve blogged about this before but this motif seems to be here to stay!

21) Animals- are the perfect home accessory!  Elephants, greyhounds, foo dogs, owls, lions, horses, zebras- you name it! These adorable creatures are definitely man’s best home decor friend-

22) Garden stools- it can be hard to find a good vintage garden stool (especially a pair of them!) You often see them in ceramic or metallic form.

23) Campaign furniture- How to identify these?  From the brass hardware.  The burl wood is more desirable than the oak but both make pretty statement pieces and can always be lacquered up in a heartbeat!

24) Fiberglass outdoor dining set- These are so adorable and are a great space saver (with their small chairs and round table) for small backyards/patios.

25) Quatrefoil- This motif (aka the four leaf clover) can turn an otherwise basic furniture piece into a true gem!  Gypsy Soul had this super cute wooden chair with quatrefoil accents.

26) Faux bois- Love a good faux bois detail! It always looks great on a dining chair or arm chair.  Look at these with cane- perfection!

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12 Comments to 'Trendy Vintage Furniture 101: What To Be on The Lookout For'

suzanne vachon 01 Nov 12 at 4:19 pm

I have to admit that I am totally passionate about vintage everything, thanks for the 101 advices, they are very precious and help me make better decisions about my next purchases..

decogirlmontreal.com

Lori 01 Nov 12 at 9:03 pm

Great list! I loved seeing some of my recent (and not so recent) purchases included. I scored a gorgeous cane back chair from the Salvation Army for about $20, and a garden stool just like the pair in the second garden stool pic for $10- same pattern even, I think.
Again, thanks for the comprehensive list!
~Lori

Megan 02 Nov 12 at 10:52 pm

This list is fantastic! My fave has to be the bamboo stuff. Especially those dressers. I’d never considered it for my home, but I’m a pop-of-color kind of girl.

Kristine 03 Nov 12 at 10:34 am

Awesome guide, thanks so much for putting it together. Me? I would consider camping out for a set of those dark fan chairs. GORGY!

Sarah 04 Nov 12 at 4:44 am

#6 cracked me up. Claire says she hopes you wouldn’t sell her for dorothy draper chests. Great post!!

Marsha Pool 07 Nov 12 at 4:40 pm

Love the list. I found a 1940_50 Beautility cocktail bar. Lady wants $275.00. It is worth it. If interested I can send pictures to you.

Tamara 07 Nov 12 at 9:38 pm

Love this post! Have you been to Scout Design Studio in the Design District? They have all this stuff at really great prices! I think they are a newer store but it’s awesome stuff. I just got a pair of x-base benches, greek key mirrors and elephant plant stands.

Tamme 07 Nov 12 at 11:11 pm

I have those exact pair of Black Ming Chairs for sale in my booth right now for $800 (for the pair). They are located at the Montgomery Street Antique Mall in Fort Worth (booth# 5850 on aisle 6). They still have the original fabric and are beautiful!

Stephanie@cre8tive 08 Nov 12 at 8:21 pm

Great list! Love them all. Your fixture was such a great find. Lucky you to have a father-n-law to do that for you. I just saw some campaign and Dorothy Draper style furniture at an estate sale coming up this weekend. Don’t have a place for them darn it!

Patio Furniture Dallas 29 Nov 12 at 2:43 am

wow great patio furniture . Thanks for sharing..

Tyler212 09 Jan 13 at 3:02 am

Great compilation..!!Where do you manage to come up with this stuff.I am a crazy vintage furniture collector.I have been collecting stuff for the past 12 years.They provide a certain ambiance to you home.Vintages are still popular today as it was in the past.

t 06 Feb 13 at 1:46 pm

I am going to get faux bamboo dressers, even if it clashes with my office chairs.

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