Sourcing furniture and decor for the home has been one of the more fun processes of interior design. When we first moved into the Mindful Maison, we had walked in with just a bed set and a coffee table. We had a lot of work to do as far as furnishings and decor goes. Furnishing the home is always a work in process and I’m finding a few tricks for sourcing those well-aged pieces for the home online.
Back story: we didn’t see almost every piece of large furniture or decor in person before purchasing. Yes, everything in the home aside from a few small pieces purchased during travels was sourced online. A big reason for this is that the feeling we wanted in the home was hard to find in person here in Northern California. We would have loved to have gone to antique shows and flea markets, but with busy schedules, it made it nearly impossible. Most of the pieces we loved for our home were from old-world Europe and Asia and required looking online. So we started there to design the inside of our home.
As I started to keep tabs on shops and other resources for finding those incredible antiques I realized something. I could curate global goods and antiques that feel well-traveled but didn’t require getting on a plane. With the era of internet shopping, it’s incredibly easy to decorate your home from your computer.
The process of it all had its ups and downs so I’m going to share a guide here that beaks down a few things like how to determine the quality and where to look. This is the first part of a series on where to source and then I will share a post on pieces we love adding to our home for that well-traveled feeling.
A Guide to Sourcing Global Goods & Antiques Online
How to Determine Quality When Shopping Antiques & Global Goods Online
This may be the hardest part of shopping online. Is the piece worth the price? Will it fit my home? Is it well-made? With online shopping, it can be challenging too as you don’t get to hold the pieces before and you have to go off gut instinct. I’m not an expert art dealer or professional antique finder, but a bit of poking around has given me some parameters for how I make my decisions. Here are my steps of looking at pieces online:
Determine if the pricing is accurate.
Cross-referencing may be the single easiest thing to do first. Looking at Senufo stools from Africa? Well, a quick Google search will pull up hundreds of shops that are selling them. If the one you’re looking at is within a reasonable range, then the price is probably accurate. I cross-reference three main sites for purchasing: eBay, Chairish, and 1stDibs. Yes, I’m looking for a deal, so I’ll narrow down my top 3 choices that are within a good price point of all sellers.
Look at reviews.
The beauty of sites like Etsy is that reviews are left on shops. I look for keywords like “just as pictured” or “well-made” or “just like I saw in XYZ.” It’s an easy determiner whether or not a seller on an Etsy shop is selling good antiques or global goods.
Ask the hard questions that you would have in person.
We’ve been using three main shops on Etsy for our stools and rugs and I think each seller is probably sick of me by now! When I see an item I like, I want to know more about the item. I ask where they sourced it from and if there are any marks on the item that determine original designers or factories (important for legitimizing furniture), and more. These few questions help gain more insight into the item’s origin. Of course, they could not be truthful with me but I’m willing to take their word.
Get educated on the item, especially higher-end pieces.
I spent three months looking for Thonet No.14 Bistro chairs from one of the commissioned factories in Europe. It was a wild, crazy hunt — more of an obsession that helped me develop a process of furniture education. I spent weeks learning about the designer Michael Thonet, the factories he used to produce the chairs and what should be on the chair to determine if it was legit. These little details helped me recognize whether or not a seller’s item was real. I’d recommend learning about the pieces you’re after — especially ones that are a bigger investment.
Best Online Shops for Antiques & Global Goods
The Larger E-Commerce Shops
My number one choice for sourcing antiques has been Etsy. There are several thousand shop owners who have collected antiques from around the world and are selling online. There is such a wide range of shops on here and have loved that I can find most things on here.
Chairish is great for sourcing higher end antiques at the more reasonable price point. You can find virtually any big designer on here like Willy Guhl to Marcel Breuer.
Arguably the most expensive site for antiques as it only deals with luxury items. 1stdibs is an incredible source for finding those rare vintage pieces from all of over the world. Just be prepared to spend a lot.
*I do like eBay as well, I just tend to stick to these shops the most.
Boutique Online Stores
Loom & Kiln
I was introduced to this shop earlier this year and everything is so beautiful. The owner sources incredible rugs + pillows from places like Morocco and Turkey. I also love to check the “found” page which has antique pieces from her travels around the world.
A wonderful shop who sources items from artisans around the world. Each of their collections is based on a region of the world and highlights pieces from there. Everything from furniture to throws, this shop is great for global goods.
June Home Supply
Little details matter in the home and June Home Supply has really nailed it. In addition to beautifying the simple things, they have a wonderful “Le Marche” section as well. Everything in this shop reminds of pieces you would find in Europe and Japan.
By hand with love is their motto and you can tell by each piece in this shop. This one is mostly for global goods that are ethically sourced like stunning baskets and Kantha quilts.
For all Francophiles, Elsie Green is a gem for all things from France. Though there are two brick and mortar locations, a lot of these pieces vintage French pieces are sold on their online shop as well.
Shoppe Amber Interiors
Though this shop offers new pieces they also have a wonderful vintage section. If you peruse through, you can find some incredible antique pieces on here.
LOVE HOUSE NY
You’ve probably heard me talk about LOVE HOUSE before. My cousin and good friend run this design showroom, where they curate incredible vintage furniture as well as design their own. If you’re looking to track down something special, I’d peruse here.
Sourcing antiques and global goods for your home should be a fun and rewarding process. I try to take my time and always know that things like this can’t be rushed. We really follow a method of “fewer, better things” which means we’re more calculated with our decisions. Do you have a favorite small shop for antiques and global goods? Let me know in the comments below!