The Top 4 Places to Shop Vintage Online

published Jul 28, 2019
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Credit: J.M. Lyon

Many of the pieces in my Washington, DC, apartment are most certainly older than I am, and that’s the way I like it. I love shopping vintage–whether that means browsing a favorite flea market or scrolling through an online marketplace–to find a storied piece that fits perfectly in my home. My current obsessions are anything cane and rattan, but I also love anything Hollywood Regency and swoon over a well-maintained campaign dresser. While many modern retailers sell replicas of this type of furniture, there’s nothing like scoring the real thing for an amazing deal. As I always tell my friends, furniture was just made better way back when.

I’ve long lived for the thrill of the hunt–I prefer discount stores and thrift shops to traditional retailers because you just can’t beat the feeling of coming across a total gem for a fraction of its original price. But sometimes, shopping from the comfort of my own home is easiest. So what are my favorite places to shop for used furniture online? Below are my top five go-to sources.

  • Apartment Therapy Bazaar: Whether you’re looking for a statement piece like a gorgeous side chair or Moroccan rug or are in search of something practical like a nightstand or credenza, you’ll more than likely find it here. Pieces on Bazaar are high quality and often are designer-made, so even those with the most sophisticated taste will be satisfied. Bazaar features a higher concentration of mid century modern pieces and while pricing is generally a bit more steep than Craigslist and Facebook Marketplace (more on those below!), you’re paying for high-quality pieces that are often decades old and will continue to last into the future. Sellers are a mix of individuals and registered dealers–some are downsizing or moving apartments, while others restore and sell furniture for a living.
  • Facebook Marketplace: I’ve written a whole article on why I love shopping on Facebook Marketplace, so I’ll keep my tips here simple. The platform is an excellent resource whether you’re a buyer looking to score an amazing deal (whether on clothing, electronics, or a stunning mid century modern dresser) or a seller looking to part with an item quickly. Since inquiries are sent back and forth via Facebook Messenger, the service is speedy and reliable. Pieces listed on Facebook Marketplace are a mix of contemporary and vintage items–you could just as likely spot a couch from IKEA as you might find a mid century piece, but this can also vary based on city. In DC, where I live, most individuals posting on Facebook Marketplace are young professionals looking to quickly unload furniture in advance of a move.
  • Etsy: The popular website is for more than just crafty finds; it boasts an amazing section of furniture, too! I recently scored a burlwood side table on Etsy for a fraction of what a similar piece would have retailed for elsewhere, and being able to read the seller’s reviews made the buying process simple and stress-free. Browse around for a bar cart, trunk, night stand, or anything else that strikes your fancy! Most sellers are professionals and items are often on the steeper end but are one-of-a-kind (there’s no offloading of IKEA pieces here!).
  • Craigslist: Who can forget about this original resell site, which still remains a hit today? Craigslist still boasts an expansive amount of furniture listings, you’ll just have to sift through some not-so-great items in the process. That said, a bit of patience can pay off, and since sellers may not always know just how stylish the item they’re listing actually is, you can often snag beautiful pieces for a steal. Check out some of my personal favorite finds in my home tour. Items are generally on par with those listed on Facebook Marketplace, but some of the selection is on the dingier side, so you may need to scroll through a bit more to find the pieces calling your name!

When shopping for furniture online or arranging a pickup, I always keep a few things in mind:

  • For starters, since items are non-returnable, it helps to really have a firm sense of your style. I know what I like, but it took me awhile to truly understand my aesthetic, which definitely changed throughout the course of my twenties. Now that I know the types of pieces that I’d love to incorporate into my space, I’m able to make quick decisions when I just so happen to click on that perfect posting. Taste definitely matures over time, and styles that I would’ve completely disregarded years ago are now at the top of my list. Take your time and think about what makes you happy, which may be different than what you’re seeing all over Instagram.
  • As I said before, I love knowing I scored a major steal, so it helps to do some initial research on the going rate for items I’m interested in so that I know whether or not to make a move when shopping. After all, most pieces move quickly, so you won’t want to deliberate for too long! 
  • Also, being communicative is key, whether as a buyer or a seller. Being friendly and descriptive when emailing with potential buyers will increase the likelihood of a quick sale. When you’re polite and respond to sellers within a short time frame, it’s more likely they will choose you over other individuals who’ve reached out to express their interest in an item.

So what are my favorite Bazaar pieces of the moment? It’s hard to pick just a few, but I would totally snag the below items if I had the space:

Credit: Bazaar

Brass, glass, and lucite–could there be a more ideal combo? These side tables would look stylish in a living room but could also work as bedside tables as long as you’re ok forgoing a drawer. They’re just so chic!

Vintage MCM brass, lucite and glass side tables – $395 – Vintage Mid century modern brass, lucite and octagon glass side tables, c 1970. 4 clear, squared lucite legs between two octagonal, brass frames. Legs hold up an octagonal glass top. Open underneath. Legs give the allusion that the glass is hovering. So sleek! Side tables have a matching coffee table. Perfect for your living room. Excellent condition. Dealer 18 L= 26″ W= 22″ H= 22.75.” – SHIPS

Credit: Bazaar

I can never resist taking a second look at a good mid century dresser (even if I don’t need one at the moment!). These pieces are so well made, store a ton, and look great in a range of spaces. My roommate and I currently use one in the living room to store everything from extra table linens to toolkits.

1960s Mid Century Modern 6 Drawer Highboy Dresser – $650 or best offer – This mid century high boy dresser features solid wood construction, tall tapered legs, beautiful walnut finish and a bonus drawer at the bottom of the standard 5 drawer set up offering a modern flare and ample storage to any space. Matching pair of nightstands & long low dresser with mirror are available for sale and listed separately. – SHIPS

Credit: Bazaar

This is an amazing price for a full-size campaign dresser that looks to be in wonderful vintage condition. Like the mid century dresser featured above, it can also work in many rooms of the house and is a timeless piece. Campaign furniture has come majorly back into style in recent years but generally isn’t cheap, so a listing like this, while still several hundred dollars, is a true gem!

Dixie Campaigner 6-Drawer Dresser – $300 or best offer – Beautiful mid-century Dixie Campaigner dresser. Six large drawers and original hardware. This dresser is vintage and does have some blemishes which are appropriate for its age. Solid wood dove tail drawers with white laminate. With a little love this dresser will make an amazing focal point for a bedroom. – CHICAGO