The best things in life are not necessarily shiny and new – think of the gorgeous patina on an antique chest, the rustic character of a beloved chair and the complex flavour of an aged bottle of wine. So why do we feel the need to spend so much of our hard-earned money on new “stuff”?
It may be easy to fill a home quickly with brand new items, but we may be missing out on some pretty spectacular benefits by doing so. Here are five reasons to consider adding vintage pieces, antiques and good old hand-me-downs to your home, and to appreciate (and maybe repurpose) the old stuff you already have.
1. Old things are unique and have personality
Yes, those glossy furniture store catalogues are gorgeous. Styled to make you feel as if you will have the home of your dreams if only you had those items too, they entice us andyour neighbours and friends to purchase. The result? Many of our homes end up looking boringly similar because we have ordered furniture and accessories from the same places. But when you hunt down something in an antique store or at a second-hand market, chances are you won’t see the same thing in your friend’s home. It also forces you to get more creative, coming up with interesting ways of putting things together you never would have considered.
2. They have their own narrative
Whether what you have is a valuable antique or a fun vintage find, you will have a richer, more enjoyable relationship with an object when you know its’ story. It could be the personal story of how you found the piece (wandering down a back-alley on a whim during a summer holiday), a family tale about the person who gave it to you (your great-aunt who used to use the chest for storing firewood), or a larger historical story about the era when it was made (a vase with a piece of paper telling you the maker and when and how it was made).
3. They’re better for the earth
Re-purposing furniture, purchasing antiques and vintage pieces, trading hand-me-downs among friends and family, and passing along family heirlooms doesn’t get much greener. You are not creating any new waste – and in the case of salvaged and roadside finds, you can even be responsible for keeping something out of the landfill.
4. They don’t make them like they used to
Seriously, they just don’t. Craftsmanship is a dying concept in a world dominated by mass production lines and cheap imitations. Compare nearly any older piece of furniture with something purchased from a chain store and you will instantly be able to tell the difference. Older pieces were built to last so often used durable materials like wood and metal, while the new stuff often includes weaker blended materials like particleboard, plastic parts and sub-par workmanship. A lot a “new stuff” is also actually designed to fail after a short period of time (how else can they get you to buy more?).
5. They’re lighter on your wallet
Sometimes, it may cost more initially to purchase a well-made vintage or antique piece than something from a chain store. But a piece of poorly made furniture is more likely to break and need to be replaced after a few years, costing more in the long term (because you have to buy it again and again).You can buy a single high-quality piece of old furniture and keep it forever, even passing it along to your kids or relatives. And that’s not to mention the true steals out there to be found in second-hand markets and stalls, and the fun you can have re-purposing your own pieces.