7 Pitfalls when Buying Vintage Furniture

Updated: Feb 10

Furniture hunting is such fun and if DIY vintage is your style, it opens up a different avenue of hunting spots.


There are a few critical points to keep in mind when making the purchase so that you understand what you are getting into, and are able to assess the amount of work that is required. Remember that vintage furniture is already decades old and can be prone to creaking, weakened joints, sticking, jamming, marks, dents, major damage and more. This can often add to the character of the piece. Too much of the above and you may be better off looking for something else or roping in an experienced restorer.



Structural integrity


  1. Loose joints - the most common issue in chairs. A way to quickly check for loose joints is to apply pressure to the seat frame area and gently move left and right. If the legs are loose, you will see movement at the joint.

  2. Loose sections or panels of wood, such as a door panel, drawer front or top section,

  3. Doors open and closely relatively easily,

  4. Drawers open and close relatively smoothly and don't dip too far backwards,

  5. Chips, holes and deep scratches. Softer woods like backing boards, plywood and pine tend to damage more quickly over time. They are also prone to the worst kind of damage, such as holes. Check the back, inside of drawers, door fronts and side panels for obvious damage.