Your flat doesn’t have to be furnished only with new furniture: vintage furniture is currently very trendy to decorate your home. You don’t have to spend a lot of money, old objects that are still useful are often sold for a few francs. But what is the difference between vintage and shabby chic, where can you find the real treasures and where is the best place to put them?
Vintage or Shabby Chic?
The word “vintage” translates as “old”, “classic”, “out of fashion”. Vintage furniture is furniture that dates back to the 1920s. Its construction, materials and design remind us of the trends of that decade. However, vintage furniture is not an antique, as it must be at least 100 years old to be considered as such.
Shabby means “dilapidated”, “damaged”, “shabby”. The furniture should look old but not necessarily be old. Traces of wear and tear such as scratches and peeling paint give the furniture an authentic character. It is often in natural tones and has a baroque style.
Vintage furniture is usually made in the traditional way, by carpenters. The advantage of furniture that is not industrially manufactured is manifold. This means that it is often of high quality and made from authentic natural materials. They are also unique vintage furniture and therefore of a certain rarity. But where is the best place to find vintage furniture?
Finding vintage furniture in Switzerland
There are several places where you can find vintage furniture. As we have already mentioned, vintage furniture is not new, but belongs to private individuals. It is therefore only available as second-hand furniture. You can find it, among other places:
Vintage furniture online
You can find (almost) everything on the Internet. If you are looking for vintage furniture, you are likely to find it online, as there are countless sites where vintage furniture is offered. The most common sites are Ricardo.ch and Tutti.ch. For more upmarket furniture, you can go to platforms such as Pamono.ch. You can also find what you are looking for on Facebook direct sales pages. These now exist for almost every major city. Usually you have to apply for membership before you can see the products on offer.
Brocantes, also known as Brockis, can be found in all major Swiss cities. They are ideal for buying vintage furniture. The biggest Swiss organisation behind the Brockis is the Salvation Army. On their website you can check where your nearest brockis is. The advantage of these flea markets is the diversity you can find: old lamps, vases, chests of drawers, wardrobes and old chairs. What’s more, when you buy from a Salvation Army Brocki, you are supporting a good cause, as the organisation donates part of its profits to people in need.
You can find real treasures at flea markets. However, you will rarely find large pieces of furniture there, as transport is often too expensive. You will find much more small furniture, mirrors, chairs, lamps and decorative objects such as vases and paintings.
The street and billboards
A tip that may seem a little unusual, but can’t be ignored: the streets in your neighbourhood are likely to be full of unique pieces. Go for a walk and you will see that a lot of furniture is given away for free in Switzerland. If you get there before the rain, you will find items that are usually in good condition and can be refurbished with a simple brush stroke.
Pay attention to the notice boards when you go to your local supermarket, university or to pick up your children from school. There are plenty of advertisements from individuals looking to sell second-hand stuff, so you’re likely to come across an ad for vintage furniture.
Furnishing your home with vintage furniture
Once you have found a beautiful piece of vintage furniture, it is time to integrate it with your existing furniture. The advantage of vintage furniture is that it is often in natural tones and therefore easily blends in with the rest of the furniture. Because just because you have acquired a few objects from the past does not mean that you have to turn your flat into a museum. Especially since the combination of old and new often promises an exciting mix of styles far removed from the furniture catalogues. Play around with your ideas when designing your interior and try to combine objects and furniture that do not necessarily go together at first glance. But of course you should also be careful, because the mix of styles should not go all over the place. Define a “common thread” when designing your interior, and think about it throughout your furnishing. If you’re more of a planner and don’t want to move your furniture around ten times in a row, then read on to find out how to organise the furnishings in your home.