Curious beginners and seasoned estate-shopping pros are both searching for valuable antiques to add to their home collections. The antique furniture market has already been booming in 2023, with homeowners sifting through catalogs, online auction bids, and even TikTok to get their vintage fix. We spoke to Anthony Barzilay Freund, 1stDibs‘ editorial director and director of fine art, Tori Jones, an expert art merchandiser and buyer, and Audrey Gelman, the CEO and founder of The Six Bells, to learn about the antiques trending in 2023.
“Nobody is expecting you to furnish an entire room in antiques, but two or three cool pieces will give the space a lift,” Freund says. “They’ll add gravitas to your more contemporary and neutral furnishings, which in turn will make the antiques feel more of this moment.” To get the best deals and score unique finds, Gelamn recommends traveling to towns that are outside urban centers and peruse their antique malls, which will have lower prices and more variety. Below, we’ve listed tips on how to train your eye for antiques that won’t lose value and bestselling gems you’ll never regret snagging.
The obsession with Art Deco design just won’t quit. “The fact that it possesses both an old-world glamour and a modernity that makes it still feel fresh in today’s best interiors,” Freund explains. As the most searched and purchased antique available on 1stDibs, th Art Deco era continues to win shoppers over.
“We’ve seen an explosion in demand for traditional American-made quilts, both new and old,” says Gelman, whose shop focuses on this category. Fashion designers like Bode and Stag are repurposing vintage quilts into apparel and decorators are throwing them on beds and sofas to add a layered country aesthetic.
Jones agrees as she has noticed a renewed interest and appreciation of folk art and Americana. “We love that people are appreciating handmade antique patchwork quilts, hooked rugs, Adirondack-style twig tables, and Shaker furniture.”
Gelman notices spongeware, the textured ceramic spattered or sponged-on color, becoming increasingly popular and increasing in value. “Larger companies like Tory Burch are making their own contemporary lines of Spongeware, but collectors are more drawn to vintage pieces,” she explains.
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According to Jones, customers are often guided by names and provenance when it comes to high-quality investments—but investment decisions should actually be based on the form of a piece. “Take a close look at a hand-painted finish or how an antique chest of drawers is constructed. Your purchasing decisions should be based on enduring craftsmanship and ingenuity,” she explains.
Freund suggests committing to a style or product if it’s been on your wishlist: “If you really want an Italian Chinoiserie cabinet or set of Gustavian dining chairs or a Chinese Art Deco rug, splurge on the best-made examples that are in fine condition and perhaps bear the mark of their makers.”
80s and 90s Furniture
“Furniture from 1980s and ’90s is trending, which is surprising to me only because I can’t believe enough time has passed to make those decades qualify as vintage. Even IKEA furniture from that period is having a moment,” says Freund. That’s right, your vintage IKEA could actually be worth something.
Unique and Quirky Finds
Jones was drawn to the antique business because personality and individualism are at the heart of it. “As dealers, we find that our customers look to bring personality to a space and really enliven their homes with vintage lighting, accent chairs, quirky side tables, and antique textiles. These pieces really offer a means of self-expression,” says Jones.
Off-beat and charming antiques have the ability to heighten the depth of a room. “Since the pandemic, we’ve noticed people are looking for pieces that give their rooms personality and about which there are interesting stories to tell. Don’t be afraid to think outside your comfort zone or stretch your taste parameters,” says Freund.
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Senior Market and Partnerships Editor
Medgina Saint-Elien covers everything your home needs. She writes about exciting new product launches, hands-on reviews, and the “lightbulb” moments in every maker’s story. In overseeing key HB editorial franchises, including the Live Better Awards, Saint-Elien champions the work of BIPOC entrepreneurs in the design and beauty industries. In addition to House Beautiful, her work has been published in Byrdie, Snapchat, and more. Outside of work, the writer and poet can be found documenting her travels on social media and saving memes for future use.