Slow Decorating: How to Shop Vintage Homewares

Home / The Sunday Papers / Issue Four: March / Slow Decorating: How to Shop Vintage Homewares

 How to shop vintage

 Discover the art of slow decorating with vintage homewares to curate your own unique and meaningful interior space. Learn expert tips and tricks for sourcing one-of-a-kind pieces from antiques markets with the Always Sunday team.

The idea stands that the home is never a finished product. Those carefully curated home spaces you see on Pinterest are rarely the product of a quick spree at a big luxury homewares brand. To get that perfectly-curated-yet-seemingly-uncurated interior look, it actually takes significant time and work to achieve. Unless you hire design experts, you’ll likely be scouring antiques markets on the weekends, hunting down home decor on second hand sites, and shopping local artisan craft stalls to get the Pinterest-perfect look in your home. The joy of shopping this way derives not just from the find itself but the point at which we begin to assign a story and meaning to every item in our homes.

We speak to Lexi, founder of Always Sunday and avid vintage collector, and Nat, the expert behind our in-house interior design studio Always Sunday Design Studio, to find out how to decorate slowly with vintage homewares so that you actually make it last.

Vintage Homewares


Shopping Vintage Quote


What is Slow Decorating?

You’ve no doubt heard of Slow Living. It's the concept that sees you curating a more meaningful life by slowing down and making conscious, purposeful decisions in everything you do: from what you eat to what crafts you learn. That trend emerged in full in 2020 when, while most of us thought Slow Living just meant watching the clock tick by until we could go outside; David Beckham was tending chickens on a Cotswolds farm and the Cottagecore trend swept her pretty doily self into our homes complete with wicker basket of banana bread.

Lately though, the Slow Decorating trend has been catching up to us. With entire House & Garden articles dedicated to this style of conscious home styling and youtubers and influencers championing the anti-consumerist mentality it promotes. The Slow Decorating Trend is fast becoming the one to watch, an antidote to the self assembly shop bought aesthetic we've seen of late.

How do I incorporate Slow Decorating into my home decor?

The leading lady of slow decorating seems to be shopping vintage homewares. At Always Sunday we’re obviously huge fans of this; our luxury accommodations in Bath are absolutely packed with handpicked vintage decor and our original tiny store on Walcot Street began by selling antique glassware, vintage textiles and retro homewares that Lexi and Bella either handpicked from antiques dealing friends or sourced themselves in the vintage markets of Paris on their buying trips. We still sell a limited collection of vintage pieces in store and are soon launching online too.

Discover Lexi’s top tips for shopping vintage homewares, finding your second hand niche and Nats' recommendations for the best antiques markets in the UK.

Don’t make hasty decisions

You’ve probably seen that perfect haberdashery cabinet with the antique iron handles or the vintage Bauhaus chair of your dreams, but it’s almost impossible to find an exact match unless you’re willing to spend a serious amount of money on an original or simply wait for years. Be open-minded about what you’re looking for; something will eventually come along that has almost the exact look and feel and then it’s up to you if that’s close enough. Is it 70% right? 80%? Work out how close it actually needs to be for you to feel happy taking it home with you. It's not about buying just because you can, it's the reality check that perfection takes time.

For Nat, our in-house interior designer, avoiding mass-produced items or items of poor quality is her bottom line:

Shopping Vintage Ideas

Swap it out

'Equally, don’t feel afraid to change it out if you later find ‘the one’. Seriously, it happens. I’ve brought items home, loved it but then found the exact thing a few months later and sold the original option on. I find this is actually really common with vintage lovers and second hand enthusiasts.’

Vintage Homewares

Get a head start

‘Kempton Race Course and Shepton Flea Market are some of the best places i’ve found to source antiques and vintage but you have to get up early. It’s so worth it though! Plus the dealers tend to be absolute characters so it’s fun to hear their stories and find it where they got the items.’

Interior Designers in Bath

Come prepared

‘I actually have a go-bag ready for scouring vintage and antiques markets. It’s like a baby changing bag but for shopping vintage! I’ll pack my strongest trolley with lots of shopping bags, old towels to pack the car boot with, snacks and treats to keep my energy up (market food is so expensive and the lines are so long!) and a lot more cash than I think i’ll need. Most traders have card machines of course but i’ve found you can make better deals when you’re flashing your cash! Also don’t forget to wear really good shoes for the day.’

Vintage Shopping Tips

Be really thorough about it

‘When we source for the store, for one of the boltholes or a client, I can’t have any actual damage because that’s not what they’re looking for. I don’t mind myself because I like a certain worn vintage look but I think it’s important to know the difference between worn vintage and damaged. Old woodworm holes are par for the course but woodworm dust is an absolute no particularly when I have wooden floorboards in my Georgian home. And chips and nicks in tableware just encourages breakages so stay away if you can!’

Don’t get too excited!

‘If you touch anything before you’ve worked out your price and caught the traders attention, it will show them and other hunters that there is value in it and can make it harder to close the deal. Take a step back and browse first, i’ve found deals are best done if there’s multiple items on the stand so you can get more for your money.’

Vintage Shopping

Have a niche

‘While the Always Sunday supper clubs were at my house, it was impossible to dress a table with matching tableware for that many guests and multiple courses so I started to collect vintage plates. It allowed me to mix and match, being far more affordable that way and it complimented the eclectic energy of the dinners.

Vintage Tableware

Now when I shop for vintage home decor, I have a mental list of special items in mind and I tend to look for certain pieces like the “On Air” signs I can’t seem to find any more of, giant leopard figurines, and 1960’s Italian bar carts. I will always adore vintage glassware too. I just think it makes such a great gift to show up with a pair of vintage champagne coupes and a nice bottle of fizz!

Vintage Barware


Vintage Collection

This month our vintage homewares collection inspired by Granny in the Allotment drops March 14th 2024.

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