These resale sites are treasure troves for secondhand finds.

By Jessica Bennett
August 12, 2020
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Few things beat the thrill of finding the perfect flea market piece for your home. Since the coronavirus pandemic began, however, the ability to shop for vintage accessories in person has been limited. With so many stores and markets closed or with new restrictions, searching online for secondhand finds has never been a better option. It's safe, convenient, and introduces an even broader selection of vintage items.

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Chelsea Mohrman, a frequent vintage seller from Columbus, Ohio, has relied more heavily on selling items online through sites like Poshmark since her antique booth was shut down due to COVID-19. She notes that one of the main perks of buying vintage online is convenience. "Going to an antique store takes a lot of time out of your day, and since lots of small antique stores are only open until 6 p.m., I can't always get there in time," says Mohrman, who works as a nurse during the day. "Online, you can shop so much quicker and at any time you want."

Brie Williams

The major drawback of shopping vintage or secondhand online is that you can't see it in person before you buy, which means you can't inspect the piece for damage or feel the texture before committing. While most sellers are fairly transparent about the condition of a piece, Mohrman says, you can always ask specific questions about the functionality or other details before purchasing. And in some cases, you might have to accept a few imperfections. "If you're buying something that's 60 years old, for example, there's some expectation of wear and use," she says.

While shopping for vintage accessories online, keywords and search filters are invaluable tools. Apart from specifying the style or type of item, Dallas designer Courtney Warren suggests trying a variety of keywords while searching online. "If you are looking for an antique buffet, some people might call that a sideboard or China cabinet," she says. "Think of alternative descriptions and you may hit something that is an amazing find that has not been seen." And try different spellings of common styles and decor items, too. For example, you'll uncover more results by searching "midcentury modern," "MCM," and "mid-century modern."

The sheer volume of online options can also be overwhelming for inexperienced shoppers. The first (and perhaps most important) step is to know where to look to find the best vintage items. Especially if you're shopping on a budget, certain resale sites are better than others for finding affordable, high-quality home goods.

David Tsay

Best Places to Shop Vintage Home Decor and Furniture Online

When you're ready to start shopping secondhand online, check out these sites for great deals on vintage furniture and decor.

AptDeco

Spanning all types of furniture and decor, AptDeco lists tons of trendy pre-owned items from some of your favorite retailers, including Anthropologie, Pottery Barn, and West Elm. The seller's price is listed alongside the estimated retail price, so you can decide if you're getting a fair deal. Based in New York City, the company takes care of delivery and assembly for local purchases. If you're located elsewhere, you can still buy from the site, but you'll have to arrange shipping separately through the seller.

Craigslist

Craigslist can admittedly be a wild card, but you can find some serious gems for dirt-cheap prices if you know what to look for. To narrow down the huge number of listings, try searching for a specific item, such as a dresser or coffee table. You can also use keywords like vintage or midcentury to help filter the results. You might have to scroll past a lot of junk first, but one incredible find could make it all worth it. Just make sure you arrange to pick up your item in a safe, public place.

eBay

Similar to Craigslist in its abundance of selections, eBay typically requires a bit of finesse to find the perfect home treasure. It's best to search for a specific item, then use the site's filtering tools to narrow the results by color, material, style, price, and more. If you're interested in a highly sought-after piece, such as an authentic midcentury piece, be prepared to do some bidding.

Etsy

Although it's best known for its handmade items, you can find beautiful vintage decor and rugs on Etsy, too. There's no designated vintage section on the site, so you'll have to rely on search to find these pieces. Try using keywords like vintage, antique, or collectible. And if you find a specific vintage seller you like, you can favorite the shop and check back in when they release new (old) products.

Everything But the House

Modeled after the concept of an estate sale, Everything But the House offers a curated selection of authentic antique and vintage items across all categories, including furniture, art, lighting, decor, books, and more. Every item starts at $1 and bidding goes up from there.

Food52

You might know this online retailer for their modern kitchenware collections, but Food52 also sources authentic vintage items in a special section on the site. The selection mostly includes tabletop accessories such as antique silverware, French stoneware, copper pans, and wooden cutting boards. You can also occasionally find some larger furniture and decor items you can use outside the kitchen.

Poshmark

Widely known as a clothing resale site, Poshmark also has a Home Market where users sell decorative accents, tableware, wall decor, and other home goods. To narrow your search, you can filter by brands like Crate & Barrel or Opalhouse by Target. If you're interested specifically in antiques, check out the site's Vintage Home section.

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