Look for pieces with personality, not perfection, says our expert.
ironstone bowls
Credit: Jose Picayo

As interest in sourcing antique and vintage home pieces has increased, says Sean Scherer of Kabinett and Kammer, collectors are focusing on unique imperfections in well-worn goods that make each item—from china to furniture to rugs—entirely one-of-a-kind. "There's been a return to warm and cozy interiors—think English countryside—that only can come from the authenticity of vintage and antique pieces," says Scherer. "It's a reaction against the perfectly arranged, hospitality-influenced interior—from everything looking like a boutique hotel, to a warm and welcoming layered interior with textures and colors and coziness."

Shopping for vintage and antique pieces also offers an eco-friendly alternative to mindlessly hitting "add to cart" every time a chain store drops another designer collaboration, which is another draw for climate-minded decorators. "People, including the younger generations, have become conscious of the environmental impact of only buying new," says Scherer. "Buying vintage is a greener and more original way of decorating your home." While embracing the wear and tear that gives every antique or vintage piece its personality allows you to create an inviting, comfortable atmosphere in your home, Scherer recommends looking for items in three specific categories in 2022 (they are defining the year's collecting trends) to make a major impact.

Ironstone Serving Pieces

In the early 1800s, potters in Staffordshire, England, were searching for an alternative to porcelain that they could more easily mass produce and ultimately came up with ironstone, a "dense, hard, durable stoneware." It's also known as semiporcelain, opaque porcelain, English porcelain, or stone china. Scherer recommends looking for platters and serving pieces, like the bowls above, made of ironstone "that show wear, and crazing, and even chips," he says. "Once shunned, it's now all the rage in collecting—it's the warmth and imperfections of years of use that is now so attractive."

venetian-style shell chairs flank an antique swedish table
Credit: Pieter Estersohn

Wooden Furniture and Persian Rugs

Pass up flawless pieces for well-loved wooden furniture marked by time and usage, suggests Scherer. Look for "primitive furniture that shows wear and tear, imperfect as opposed to perfect," he says, "and items with character, like old milking stools or workbenches. It's out with the new and in with the old!" Similarly, choose weathered rugs over trendy Moroccan diamond-patterned versions. "Old, worn Persian carpets are very hot and will continue to be," Scherer says.

antique wicker chaise and venetian mirror
Credit: Pieter Estersohn

Old Mirrors

Vintage looking glasses are "always a mainstay," says Scherer, but now, "the more spotty and wavy, the better." As with furniture and china, Scherer recommends checking antique malls, antique stores, and flea markets for one-of-a-kind finds at every price point. "You can pick up an old ironstone platter at a tag sale for $20, or an early shaving mirror at a flea market for $12," he says. "Of course, better quality items go up in price, but it's the array of high and low that also makes the mix and warmth in interiors."


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