Shopping Vintage on Etsy (Tips & Tricks Too!)

On a whim I bought this concrete bust of David on Etsy (from this shop) without any idea where it was going to go in our new studio. He now holds a place on our front console that is getting a great linen skirt made for it.

As designers, we shop on Etsy A LOT.  Not only for newly made or custom items (as detailed in this post), but for antique and vintage items too.  Etsy has become a bit of a “normal budget” 1stDibs in that there is some high end antique dealers, but mostly its small shops with decent prices for interesting goods.  You just have to dig a bit more as it is a bit less curated, but in the best way possible! You can still find amazing deals on lots of things on Etsy, where as some other online vintage shops you cannot.

A good example of this was when we were looking for a pair of vintage x-benches for a great project below (you only get a sneak peek here as we are pitching it to magazine right now).  We found the perfect set from an expensive vendor but perused Etsy to see if anyone else had a pair we could refinish.  And we found the EXACT pair we loved for about 1/4 of the price.  We had them repainted and reupholstered and they came out perfect and added that patina we were looking for in the space.

In a quick search I found another one here! Try various search terms like “vintage x- bench” or “antique bench” “wood frame x-bench” and “vintage stools” (some people label them differently!)

When it comes to furniture you can find awesome deals as well as fancier items with quite the provenance.  It’s all about how and where you look.  If you know the maker or brand of the piece you are looking for or the style (i.e. French Empire, primitive or Mid-century) that will help get you more refined results.  Also try searching both “antique” and “vintage” and sometimes you’ll get different results by changing just that preface.

Some great antique and vintage furniture pieces I found on Etsy today:

A French armoire much like the one in our new office and this tessellated horn chair that is so unique and would make a great vanity chair or pulled up to a small desk or secretary.

This pair of rustic beds would be absolutely adorable in children’s room.

An amazing set of Milo Baughman dining chairs (with the price to match).  You can also try searching “Milo Baughman style chair” to see if you can turn up some good replicas, of which many were made.

This antique French settee has great bones (you need to look past old fabrics and dingy paint in order to source gems- this is only $479!) Be sure to message the seller of upholstered goods and ask about the “guts” of the piece to find out if it will need to be redone or tightened up and not just reupholstered.

These gilt bamboo stools are ADORABLE and so great to tuck under a console for extra seating.  Be careful to note if things are newly upholstered or not-  if you plan to re-upholster something anyways, you don’t want to be paying for someone else’s new upholstery job!

I kind of LOVE this unique pair of chairs for a mountain house flanking a fireplace or something. Hmmmmm….

This rustic pedestal table would make a great little breakfast spot- you could pair it with new slipcovered chairs and it would be good to go :) I also love the paint on this pair of chairs maybe paired with a slevver, more modern white breakfast table.

Some 70’s items in chrome whose style is still very current- a faux bamboo coffee table and Regency style side tables.

This antique dining table is pretttttttty awesome (those legs!)

Buying pairs of chairs is always smart (and usually  abetter deal than a single chair). These orange wingbacks and bamboo chairs are both great finds!

You can find great patio furniture that is SUPER durable (like the set I inherited from my gandparents that turned out to be a very valuable Brown Jordan set!)  If you search under that maker or Phyllis Morris you’ll find some funky beauties like this one !

More faux bamboo (lots can be found from Florida vendors for cheap) like this cute dresser that would be adorable in a bedroom painted white with new brass pulls!

We also find great accessories on Etsy too- especially mirrors and frames! I adore both these mirrors- the silver ribbon detail on the first is darling for a little girls room and the leaf texture on the second is STUNNING.

Because I love a good bust- both big and small!

You can find great vessels as well both for outdoors and indoors (there is a bevy of blue and white pottery on Etsy- search simple terms like “blue and white vintage china” or “Blue Willow”)

I also collect rustic gilt frames that I pick up at antique shops and from Etsy vendors.  Search under “vintage gilt frame” and don’t be afraid to buy something with ugly art in it if the frame is good!!! Also you can find complete lots of gold frames for a gallery wall like this one.

I love the curation of these groupings of mushrooms on stands and specimen domes. So great for bookshelves or mantles!

As with any online purchase, check the return policy of the shop before buying and always ask for them to send you more images in daylight if you feel unsure of the color or quality of something. It may require a little more work on your end, but that is part of “the hunt” and that is what is the most fun of all when dealing in antiques and vintage goods!

I hope this post was somewhat helpful! Happy hunting!


**This post was sponsored by Etsy. All selections and opinions are my own. Thank you for supporting those vendors that keep EOS going!




  1. This is really interesting. I was trying to explain Etsy to my husband just this weekend. He couldn’t figure out why somebody would buy online when they can go to stores and fairs to hunt. He is very good at finding the gem in a pile of junk, too.

  2. Love that you find zesty such a good source! My watercolor work is beeping featured right now, and I’d love to get your critique
    We started with only five pieces, but will be adding mor. My page name is BaayDesign and my name is Nancy Baay. Thanks for taking a look Erin.

  3. Thanks so much for the round up! Just bought the Tessellated Horn Chair for my vanity. :) Juli could not have been easier to work with!

    As a fellow designer, I really appreciate the time and effort it takes to do these kinds of posts. Thanks for all that you do, Erin!

  4. A boat load of great ideas. Alas, my apartment is full up. Quick, I need another house to decorate. I can understand why Barbra Streisand built so many houses, just so she could have the fun of filling them up with cool stuff.

    My husband is hoping you’ll stop posting stuff like this. Don’t listen to him.

  5. I was wondering if you had any suggestions for selling furniture like the ones posted or even just older furniture I have a house full of shabby chic and french vintage furniture that no consignment stores are interested in because everyone wants modern or contemporary furniture now.
    Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

  6. do you mind me asking where you got that cloche? I am looking for a large one for a candle!

  7. Would you recommend me a good place for paining and upholstery in the Boston area? Thanks so much!

  8. You’re killing me here….I just purchased a “bust” to top my antique ice box (that holds our tv, etc.)..the setee could be a twin to the one at the foot of our tester AND the twin beds…in our guest room!! ETSY rocks!! franki

  9. I’m cleaning out an estate and I’m curious – how are these large pieces shipped?

  10. A French armoire much like the one in our new office and this tessellated horn chair that is so unique and would make a great vanity chair or pulled up to a small desk or secretary. I like it

  11. Fantastic. Love, love those regency style side tables & the dresser ( for $295 it’s awesome). Also I like the gilt frames so much… I recently saw them against a charcoal black wall and immediately wanted to replicate that look. thanks for sharing these! :)

  12. Very curious as well about shipping furniture- do you only search for things with local pick up or do you have things shipped? Any recommendations on what is the smart way to organize that and at what point it’s not worth it? I find lots of furniture that I like but I hesitate when it comes to shipping- what if something goes wrong and you want to return the item? What do you do about damage?How much is too much? Etc

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