As far back as I can remember, my mum has collected vintage pieces and at least once a week we would go rummaging through charity and junk shops after school. Weekends often involved a trip out to antique shops or auctions and I can’t remember a time when there wasn’t some kind of project going on at home, either redecorating rooms or up-cycling furniture.
The trend of collecting vintage pieces for both your home and wardrobe really took off again in the last few years and doesn’t seem to be going anywhere, Pinterest is awash with pictures of up-cycled pieces and vintage style decor.
Certainly for me it has never lost its appeal, despite being occasionally swayed by the modern influence of IKEA now and again …. so if you fancy switching up your interiors to a more eclectic style, what sort of pieces should you be looking for to bring that vintage vibe into your home?
To get some inspiration and find out more about the type of items which are best to choose, I headed to a local Flea Market to speak to Kelly Summers, the owner of vintage interiors shop, Golly Gosh.
There are 3 floors and 15 independent sellers within the Flea Market and the first thing which struck me was how spacious and well laid out everything was, which meant it was a very nice experience walking around – they have a vintage jukebox playing and offer fresh coffee too, so you can take your time and chill whilst browsing.
There are quite a few vintage and junk shops around, both in towns/markets and online, but I’ve noticed that some of them have really ramped their prices up to capitalise upon the trend for vintage. Equally, there are others that are pretty chaotic with dusty pieces piled on top of each other where the quality may not be so good ……. so I think it’s important to find the right balance between quality and price, as well as keeping in mind whether you are prepared to up-cycle or repair something.
Sitting down to chat with Kelly, I was keen to find out what sort of pieces she looks for, where she finds them and what it’s like to make a living from vintage!
Hi Kelly, When and why did your love of vintage furniture begin?
I can’t remember a specific time when my love for vintage began, I think it’s something that’s grown and developed over time. I just love that every vintage piece has a story and is completely unique. I love giving an old object a new lease of life and most importantly I love that buying and selling vintage furniture is good for the environment.
What sort of places do you go to source your pieces, are they hard to come by?
It’s about getting out there! Early starts and long drives to vintage markets and days at different auctions. I have also built up good contacts who I know I can source stock from.
Yes, sometimes it can be really hard to find stock, especially at the right price! Its really important to me to keep my prices realistic and affordable so to do this I have to buy right. I do have weeks where I can’t find a single thing followed by a week where I’m spoiled for choice – it really can be that random!
Do you have specific items in mind when you look for things for your shop, a vintage ‘wish list’?
Only if I’m sourcing an item for someone, otherwise I search with an open mind. I love anything a bit different or unusual and I think if I was only looking for a couple of specific things I’d miss out on so many great items!
Key Pieces & Styles To Look Out For:
Industrial: Kelly has a set of metal chairs with leather padded seats which I thought were really stunning and were surprisingly comfortable. Something like those would last for years and would look lovely around an old wooden table or contrasted with a modern metal and glass piece.
Wicker & Bamboo: Peacock and wicker occasional chairs make such a statement and look beautiful styled up with faux fur throws, kilim cushions and ethnic blankets.
70’s style wicker screens are great for filling a corner or dividing an open plan space and look lovely whether painted to match your colour scheme or left in their natural colour:
Wood: Unless you’re going to buy modern furniture that is of a very high standard and solid wood, which can be extremely expensive, you can’t beat the quality of a true vintage wood piece.
Whether it be a small coffee table, a writing desk used as a stylish dressing table or a chunky wardrobe that is going to last for years, vintage wood pieces offer so many possibilities. So whether you like its original finish or want to paint it, add decoupage, change handles etc there are so many options to easily and cheaply add your own style:
I also asked Kelly why she feels vintage interiors have remained so popular and what items are best to ‘up-cycle’ …..
Why do you think there has been such a resurgence of love for all things vintage in the last few years?
I think the love for vintage has always been there but its become more widespread through the use of TV and the Internet. These days people are more creative and daring when it comes to styling their homes and I think sites such as Pinterest and Instagram have really inspired this.
I also think that people are becoming more aware of how buying vintage benefits the environment along with the fact that it can be cheaper than buying new and the quality is generally better.
Are there particular items that are most in demand?
Coming into Autumn/Winter – rustic kitchen tables, Persian rugs, lamps and mirrors tend to be more popular, but from working in the shop I know how random it can be.
The style of someone’s home is so personal and even though people follow trends, they still adapt them to their own taste.
Do you need good DIY skills to up-cycle furniture?
Not at all! Some items just need sanding and a bit of wax or a lick of paint. Some repair work can be tricky but I only buy items that I know I can fix!
If someone wants to have a go at up-cycling, what sort of projects would you recommend they start with?
Up-cycling doesn’t need to be a messy, long winded project – it can be as simple as using an old bucket as a flower planter or using a trunk as a coffee table. All you need is a bit of imagination! If you’re looking for something a bit more challenging, painting a small piece of furniture is always a good project to start with.
There are lots of great products around if you fancy having a go at painting some furniture. Chalk paint is very popular because you don’t really need to prep or prime the item, so it’s nice and quick to use. Annie Sloan is a very popular brand but there are more budget options available from companies such as Rust-Oleum.
A brand who do fantastic things with vintage sideboards and cupboards are Muck n Brass who offer an array of unusual and brightly coloured finishes:
You could achieve something similar yourself by investing in a roll of striking wallpaper or layering up images to achieve a decoupage effect.
There are tons of videos on YouTube showing how to use chalk paint and demonstrating decoupage techniques, so it’s well worth watching some to get ideas as I think to achieve a truly individual style, you need to up-cycle and customise pieces to suit your own needs and taste.
Paint, embellish or change the usage of items – for instance a customer of Kelly’s recently bought an old petrol can and turned it into a lamp – so even smaller, budget vintage pieces can be used to create something practical and unique:
I really enjoyed meeting Kelly and taking the time to learn about her vintage business ….. and yes, rather predictably I did fall in love with something in her shop! I ended up buying a really unusual Fortune Tellers table which looks amazing with modern copper and glass accessories – but is going to look fabulous pimped up witchy-style for Halloween!
Web: Golly Gosh