Nate Berkus
If you think auctions are only for the super rich, think again. According to Leslie Hindman, the owner of Leslie Hindman Auctioneers in Chicago, most auctions are inviting, easily accessible events where anyone can find great deals on furniture, jewelry, decorative arts and more. Nate talks with Leslie—who also happens to be Nate's first boss—about the top reasons to shop at auctions in your area:

The auction business is a wholesale business.
Leslie says most people who buy at auctions are dealers who will then resell the items for double or triple the face value. "People who buy at auctions are really smart because they're cutting out the middle man," she says.

Auction houses can help you identify and appraise items you already own.
"Everyone should always know what they own and they should really look into it," Leslie says.

Couture and vintage clothing and accessories can be affordable.
"The chic couture stuff is not terribly expensive and the young girls love wearing it," Leslie says.

Buying antiques gives you more bang for your buck.
New furniture doesn't retain its value the way antiques do, Nate and Leslie both say. Antiques tend to appreciate in value, whereas buying a new design object is like buying a new car—it loses value after you drive it off the lot.

Antiques are affordable compared to following top design trends.
Because mid-century décor is what everyone wants these days, Leslie says you can find less popular English or French furniture from the 18th and 19th centuries that are reasonably priced. Besides, Nate says these old items can and should be seamlessly incorporated into any decorating scheme—from retro to classic to modern.

You can shop at auctions online.
These days, Leslie says everything you need for shopping at an auction is just a mouse click away. Browse exhibition catalogs and even bid online in real time at many auction houses worldwide, she says.
When making design decisions, always exercise common sense and safe judgment. The opinions expressed by the hosts, guests and callers to Oprah Radio are strictly their own.


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