With so many stunning pieces of vintage furniture and decor just waiting to be uncovered in antique stores, thrift shops, and through curated online marketplaces, there’s hardly a reason to ever buy anything new.
Not only is shopping for furniture second-hand a far more sustainable option than purchasing new, but it also makes for an easy way to instantly add character and an air of history to your home.
While aimlessly browsing on Facebook Marketplace and Gumtree can be fun, you can find some truly special pieces a lot faster if you know what you’re looking for, which is why we’ve created this go-to guide on the terms and keywords you need to search for when shopping for vintage furniture online.
Pop these into your search bar and enjoy shopping the wonderous pieces presented before you.
You’re likely already a fan of the speckled magic that is terrazzo. Chips of marble, granite, quartz, glass or shell are poured over with cement or an epoxy binder before the material is sanded down and polished. It’s most commonly seen in tiling, however, is becoming a more common material for decor items like vases, plinths and pottery.
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Most commonly seen in sandy colours like tan, white and beige, travertine is a type of limestone deposited by mineral springs, and particular hot springs. The material typically had a textured, matte finish and being that it’s stong, makes for an amazing dining room table, console or coffee table.
Many assume onyx pieces to come in dark shades like black and charcoal, however brown, red and white variations can be found too and make for a gorgeous interest piece.
Onyx is naturally formed from calcite in caves all around the world and has a similar density and feel of marble and granite. When searching for onyx furniture, try looking for side tables, coffee tables and plinths.
The Murano mushroom lamps, which you’ve no doubt seen strategically placed on the bedsides of your favourite bloggers and influencers, are from Italian designer Gambaro e Poggi for Vetri, and were made in finite quantities in the 1970s. As such, an original lamp would typically set back a buyer between $400 to $700 in resell value today. If you see one, nab it fast.
No doubt you are seeing bouclé everywhere right now. Bouclé is both yarn and an upholstery fabric made from it, and is characterised by its textured, almost fluffy appearance, from little loops in the yarn. Ideal for sofas, ottomans and armchairs for the cosy feel it brings, a bouclé piece is an easy way to warm up any space.
Parker refers to the name of the designer and manufacturer of Parker Furniture pieces. Embracing Mid-Century and Modernist silhouettes, Parker Furniture pieces were produced from wood for over 40 years in Sydney in the same era. Now, the iconic designs are found scattered throughout homes all over Australia. You can get really lucky sourcing an original on second-hand marketplaces if you know what you’re looking for. Just be sure to check the quality, and be prepared to enlist a restoration expert if the piece you purchase shows major signs of damage.
Burl furniture relates to the wood used to construct the piece. A ‘burl’ refers to an unsightly knot or growth on the side of, or atop the roots of, a tree undergoing some form of stress or injury. Inside, the wood of a burl is magnificent in its patterns, which is why it’s so heavily sought-after by furniture makers.
A Ladderax is a modular shelving and storage unit said to be created by Robert Heal in 1964. A staple of Mid-Century design, Ladderax units are named so for their ladder-like vertical supports, boxed storage containers, and open shelves. Oftentimes, multiple units can be styled together.