When to Buy Vintage… and When to Buy New

October 25, 2013 — 2 Comments

when to buy vintage when to buy new

One of my greatest dilemmas when buying things for my house is whether to buy vintage or buy new. There are merits to both! There are pitfalls to both! A classic pro and con list is called for.

Pro: Buying Vintage 

If you found a (seemingly) one of a kind item at some dusty thrift shop on a gross side of town then make way for some major bragging rights. Oh, that old thing? It’s unique, awesome, and it was only three cents.¬†Also, vintage items have that perfectly rusted and perfectly distressed look to them that just cannot be recreated (although we’ve all tried at some point). Vintage items can also be significantly cheaper than new items that look old. In my experience the further away from any major city you go the cheaper the items are (not to be city snob but country folk don’t always know what they have). Another pro? Finding a cool vintage piece feels like winning the lottery. You searched and you found that perfect vintage school map for under $100 and the shopper’s high is incredible.

Con: Buy Vintage

Buying vintage is kind of a lot of work. I mean, it’s not like you can just go to the one perfect thrift shop in town that has all the cool stuff for affordable prices (unless that place exists, in which case, tell me where!). Buying vintage takes driving around to all the thrift shops in town and sifting through loads upon loads of unorganized, dusty junk to find that one brass figurine that your heart has always desired. Your hands will smell and you’ll be hungry and you’ll get drowsy from all the driving. Not to mention that vintage items can be really overpriced. I’m sorry, you want how much for the dinged up, not to mention non-functioning, letter ‘T’ from an old neon sign??? I mean it would look insane in my dining room but I’m not paying three figures for it! And now with the proliferation of blogs and Pinterest that once unique light up globe lamp that you found for $12 (ahem) doesn’t look so special when ever other photo on the internet showcases one. If you think about it, we are basically buying stuff that was mass produced 50 years ago, it isn’t really that unique, it just happened to have survived the last few decades.

Pro: Buying New

Pretty much any store that sells housewares has vintage-looking items. That distressed crate with French words, the side table with the brass capped legs… you know what I’m talking about. The obvious pro to buying new is convenience. Any home store will have a vintaged-ly patterned china set and hey! it will all match and you won’t spend hours/days/years thrifting to find a matching set. Also, can I just say cleanliness. Thrifting isn’t for the faint of heart, I have been in some straight-up nasty stores looking for vintage stuff, in comparison, you could perform surgery in Target it’s so clean. Buying new will also provide you with more knowledge of the piece you are buying. If you are buying a new mid-century style dresser you will know the quality based on where you purchase it, buying the same style dresser at a vintage shop and your guess on it’s origins, quality, and life span are only just that.

Con: Buying New

My number one problem with buying new stuff is unoriginality. Sure I love a lot of stuff at IKEA and Target but the likelihood that someone I know will also purchase the same piece is up there. Number two? Price. I wanted a side table that looked like a bar cart but I knew that if I purchased it new it would be over $100, so I buckled down and thrifted until I found what I wanted for $15. Also, buying new doesn’t necessary mean it will be good quality. Most furniture sold today is particle board or some sort of manufactured wood, but vintage stuff can often be well made. Just think about it, there is a 0% chance that Lack side table from IKEA is going to last even until next year let alone 30 years from now. Vintage furniture has stood the test of time.

So what do you think? Are you dedicated to the vintage hunt or are you happy with the convenience of buying new? I definitely lean more toward vintage but I’ve come to appreciate the benefits of buying new things. I’d love to hear your opinions in the comments!

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I'm a single female homeowner who loves all things interior decorating. Especially if it involves thrifting.

2 responses to When to Buy Vintage… and When to Buy New

  1. “Country folk don’t always know what they have…”?????? I have so much to say on that horrible remark, but I’m just going to leave it at–this country girl sure knows what she has, and what she needs and doesn’t need. And (though I want to make a reference to not needing your “city attitude”, I don’t believe in blaming any group for the actions of one, so I won’t insult “city folk” for your ignorance, only you), what I don’t need is to read such insulting ignorance.

    • Wow! That remark was not intended to illicit such a vehement response! I’m sorry you took my comment so personally, let me try and clarify what I meant. What I was trying to say is that in the city trendy vintage items are often overpriced because they are trendy, but in the country the same items aren’t as trendy so that item is not over priced. Perhaps my wording was poor, my apologies!

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