Antique Furniture Stores



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Antique Furniture Stores: "Timeless Functionality"


Antique furniture stores are a great place to find that little something extra that your home decor is in need of... but how do you know what your getting into?

Furniture stores that specialize in the old and unusual typically teeter between what is antique and what is vintage, often mucking the two so that the buyer is under the impression that what they are purchasing is unique and valueable. To gain a better understanding of this concept, let's first clarify the difference:

An antique can be defined in many ways. Some say the item must be at least twenty years of age, while others, such as the authors of certain customs laws, contend that the item must be a minimum of one hundred years in age. In either case, the item in question must be from an earlier time period, be successfully dated to that time period, and must have some form of significance or importance relative to someone or something from that time period. "Vintage," on the other hand, usually refers to the style of a particular era in the past, but can also include recently manufactured items that bear a stylistic quality related to those of a previous era. In short, an "antique" is unquestionably old, while something "vintage" unquestionably appears to be old.

Apples and oranges, right? Not at all. Antique furniture stores that employ this technique take advantage of the fact that while an antique sofa sitting on their showroom floor is only slightly overpriced for the value, the vintage-looking armchair only ten feet away is EXTREMELY overpriced, and was just manufactured last year in Taiwan. To the unsuspecting eye, however,

it is a detail that is commonly overlooked.

So how do you know which antique furniture stores to shop at? It's easy. Here's what to look for:

1. Cleanliness. A good, well-established antique furniture store will appear neat and tidey, free from clutter in, around, and especially upon the merchandise they are trying to sell. Antiques are presumeably valueable to begin with, therefore a store that takes the time and effort to present them safely and elegantly is also a store that appreciates the unique signficance that comes from antiquity.

2. Ettiquette. If the sales person approaches you like he's auditioning for a used car commercial, STEER CLEAR. The business of antiques rarely has room for pushy salesmanship. Your salesperson should be polite, patient, and taking their cues from you, catering to your needs as you see fit. An antique furniture store is a place of unique wonder and beauty, never to be cheapened by silly sales gimmicks and seller ploys.

3. Knowledgeable. Your clerk should be able to answer a variety of common questions relevant to any item in the store. If they cannot, they should at least be able to locate someone there at present who can. It is very important that you ask questions, and nine times out of ten an honest and reputable antique furniture store will be happy to answer those questions with pride. A good rule of thumb: If you start to realize that you know more about their items than they do, that's a good indication that you haven't come to the right place to be making any important purchases.