If you're looking for one-of-a-kind furnishings for your home, look no further than your nearest antique market! Nate says these exciting marketplaces are among his favorite places to find unique pieces of furniture, decorative objects, artwork and more. He talks with Sally Schwartz, founder of the Chicago Antique Market, and Barri Leiner, senior editor at Chicago Home + Garden
magazine, about how to hunt for treasures at an antique market.
- Keep an eye out for gifts. Barri says items with initials or dates make great personalized gifts. Scoop up vintage scarves, hand towels or linens as an alternative to wrapping paper. Tiny treasures such as a vintage brooch can be used to top off packages in lieu of a bow. "Those are the things that are sort of evergreen—always on your list," she says.
- Find new uses for old things. Barri says she's always thinking about creative ways to repurpose antiques. For instance, a small silver cup could become a toothbrush holder; a pretty teacup could be used as a votive holder.
- Know how much to pay. A simple rule of thumb is to pay what makes you feel comfortable, Nate, Barri and Sally say. Also, know that "antique" doesn't necessarily mean expensive—Sally says you can find great values at antique markets.
- Negotiate with good manners. Nate says the best way to get a fair price on items you love is to ask the dealer, "This is a really beautiful piece—what's your best price on this?" "That shows you want to negotiate but also gives the dealer a gracious way of saying 'That is my best price,'" he says. If the seller is willing to negotiate, then ask, "How much room do you have on this?" and proceed from there, Nate says.