Design, Furniture, Home, Saving Money, vintage
comments 13

How to: Source Vintage

As you all know, i’m a huge fan of unique, vintage, salvaged and rare finds. Both at home and in my design projects. I’ve found a fair few little beauties over the past few years and have become pretty good at knowing “how to” and “where to”.

I recently helped my very good blogging friend and boho style-meister, Kimberly Duran aka, Swoonworthy with her recent furniture hunt. Kimberly was looking for a mid-century sideboard as part of her big dining room remodel, but with very specific dimensions and wood-tone in mind. After introducing her to Vintage & Retro & Tings on Facebook, she scored this most beautiful, solid Afromosian, Richard Hornby design. For less than £250, delivered.


Swoonworthy indeed!

I’d also written an article for High In Style magazine, all about “How to: Source Vintage” for their January edition. With all of this in mind, I thought it was about time I shared with you, my fave people, my top tips for sourcing all things deliciously vintage. Hopefully saving you some money but most importantly making your spaces as unique as possible.

Let’s go.

House Clearances & Junk Shops

These are always great places to find amazing pieces. You just have to keep popping in, get chatting to the owners and give them an idea of the kind of stuff you’re interested in. I’ve got a few contacts now who keep me in mind when sourcing certain items.

I drove past this stunning Greaves and Thomas mid-century chair outside a house clearance premises and quickly signalled right to park up. I didn’t buy it for pennies by any means, but you’d be hard pressed to find something of this quality for twice what I paid for it. It was bought by a lovely Making Spaces reader and is now living “darn sarth” with its new owners. I love that I helped find this gorgeous chair a most wonderful new home to live in.

Lots of house clearance companies and vintage dealers also run Facebook groups or eBay selling accounts (like Vintage & Retro & Tings on Facebook), so follow them online to keep in the loop with stock updates.


Gumtree & Freecycle

I’m always on Gumtree browsing through the furniture section. It’s great as you can search items that are within a set mile radius. I found these 1930’s oak drawers in a local listing. All they needed was a quick wax and the knobs changing and they look gorgeous as a nightstand in this bedroom redesign. Cost – £10. My client was as thrilled as I was.


Vintage Fairs

Vintage fairs are the easiest and quickest way of finding good quality furniture and iconic design. You will pay a little more here, but you’re saving time and money on the sourcing, collection or a courier.

I found my burgundy Anglepoise at this year’s Vintage Home Show in Leeds. And I’m really glad I picked this one as I got to meet the seller and have a chat about all things vintage and design. Plus I had a great day out which i’m reminded of every time I switch my lovely lamp on.


Charity Shops

Get out there. Find somewhere that has a few charity shops on the same street, giving you better chance of sourcing something special. The Gallery wall above is made entirely from charity shop finds, sourced in one sunny afternoon. Cost – £10. The mid century dressing unit was £70 from Poverty Aid. A “used furniture” charity shop. Find out where your local charity furniture shop is and take a trip.



The best thing about eBay is being able to source something specific without leaving your chair. You can save your search, meaning you get email alerts when something you’re looking for is listed. It gives you better chance of getting in quick with a Buy It Now. Alternatively, like me, just keep looking.

I was searching for some knockout mid-century drawers for our bedroom and came across this stunning piece of furniture. Cost – £120. I paid an extra £60 to get them couriered to Leeds. Worth every penny in my opinion. Similar pieces of new furniture were selling for upwards of £500.

If you don’t really know what you’re looking for, but fancy finding something special, try using some of these search terms and see what vintage eye candy pops up:

 “Vintage, Retro, Mid-Century, Regency, Steampunk, Industrial, Reclaimed, Salvaged, Art Deco, Danish, G-plan, Ercol”


Side of the road

All wood has been sanded back, oiled and waxed. The desk is a good solid item. 100 x 50 x 74cm height.

Believe or not, this desk was fly-tipped. I couldn’t stop the car fast enough when we drove past. An original teak veneer 70’s school desk. After a couple of hours of tlc, bringing it back to life, it sold super quickly to a vintage lover down in Cornwall.


I really hoped this post has inspired you to source vintage and most importantly given you a clue on how to get on out there and do it. Would love to know which is your favourite piece from my finds above? And if you have any other top tips on how to source, thrift, hunt and salvage, please let me know.



  1. Great post – I really struggle with knowing what is a “good deal” (although free would be a clue!) and picturing what I need when I am out and about. Clearly I need to make lists and keep them with me. Love the Swoonworthy sideboard and the gold chair. 🙂

  2. You are a THRIFTING NINJA!! So impressed on all your finds! I tend to stick to eBay but clearly I need to get out there more. I have always wanted to visit a house clearance but never know where they are or how to find them – any tips? xxx

    • Haha. I like the sound of being a Ninja. I’ve just learnt about all these places overtime, meeting people and being passed on details. I’ve just googled “house clearance manchester” and “junk yard manchester” and found a fair few places, so you could always start there and follow them online if they have a FB page?xx

  3. Yes yes yes! Agree with all this. I’m not on the look out as much for things now as in the past but also for me the danger is that I’d be buying stuff all the time and have no room for it so its safer not to go- unless I’m after something specific xx

    • I know. I have to really be careful about how often I go thrifting as I always come back with something I don’t have anywhere for. Can’t wait to have our extension built (with a workshop built in!! EEEE!)

  4. Great tips! I’m a big fan of eBay – we bought a lot of the furniture for our first home from there, and also from a charity furniture shop. So many dealers are on eBay now, so you can find some good quality items. I love a good rummage around shops and fairs too.

  5. Great post. I’ve been sourcing from charity shops and on ebay for the cottage and I have to say it’s saved us ££££’s. Not in your league yet though lol. x

  6. It’s so exciting finding some old treasure, even more so when it’s a complete bargain. Love all of your great finds – you’re a natural and skilled vintage hunter, Karen! x

  7. Fab post Karen! Such good tips. I must go and make friends with the slightly (okay, totally) dodgy blokes that run a second hand furniture yard right around the corner from me. You’d love it!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.