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.