4 Types of Vintage Furniture You Should Never Buy Used (And What to Get Instead)

Trust us, we love to find a gorgeous piece of vintage or antique furniture as much as the next person…but there are just some types of furniture you shouldn’t buy used. Here are the four types of used vintage furniture you should probably avoid, and what to buy instead:

  1. Mattresses

Maybe this one seems obvious to you, but don’t roll your eyes at us yet! We’ve seen some handmade antique beds which look absolutely exquisite, but they were made back before mattress sizes were standardized. If you purchase one of these beds, you may be tempted to avoid the hassle of finding a new mattress which will fit the unique frame by just using the one that comes with it. However, Business Insider reports your mattress is typically the dirtiest thing in your bedroom… With a used mattress, it's impossible to know how dirty it really is.

Here are some alternative options:

  • Order a custom mattress to fit the antique bed frame. Many companies offer custom mattress creations where you can select your preferred materials, firmness, shape, and dimensions. Unfortunately, this option can be very pricy—some custom mattresses cost upwards of $2,000.
  • Purchase a new bed inspired by vintage styles which will fit your standard sized mattress. For example, the design of our Iron Bed Frame was influenced by vintage industrial style furniture, and we used a curved shape and tufted upholstery for the headboard of our Upholstered Bed Frame for a warm, classic look.
  1. Upholstered furniture

Any type of upholstered furniture, such as a sofa or ottoman, is iffy when you buy it used. Most of these items include cushions or some other type of padded surface, and these soft surfaces can only maintain their “oomph” for so many years. Also, the fabric will lose its pristine look after years of wear, so you may notice patches of frayed upholstery in the seat cushions, arm rests, and back.

Here are some alternative options:

  • If you absolutely can’t live without an antique upholstered piece, do not try to restore or reupholster the worn fabric yourself! Research qualified professionals in your area to ensure the work is done properly the first time.
  • Find a new piece inspired by your favorite vintage style. For example, the flared arms and sloping back of our Chandler Sofa will bring you back to yesteryear, and our regal Hayes Sectional is inspired by the lavish Victorian era.
  1. Wooden furniture showing cracks or discoloration

If you’re examining antique wooden furniture, any cracking or discoloration should be huge red flags to you. Cracked wood can be a sign of structural issues, and the furniture may not even remain intact during the transport to your home…let alone after you put any amount of weight on it. Discolored wood could indicate the piece has been exposed to water damage or other harsh weathering in the past which could compromise the integrity of the furniture.

Here are some alternative options:

  • Again, if you absolutely can’t live without an antique wooden piece, we recommend finding a professional who can inspect it for safety before you use it in your home.
  • You could also find a new piece which is just as beautiful as the wooden antique you’ve been eyeing. For example, our Retro Sofa features the quirky geometric wooden legs you love from your favorite decade, and our Lucille Bench is inspired by antique French styles.
  1. Any furniture that smells

If a piece of furniture smells musty, comes from a smoking-friendly home, or has been around pets, you should probably steer clear of it. These smells typically aren’t just surface level—they have a tendency to permeate deep within cushions and padding, and can be nearly impossible to remove completely.

Here are some alternative options:

  • If you’ve already fallen head over heels for a furniture piece with an unwanted scent, find a local professional who has experience working with the specific type of furniture and materials you’re looking at.
  • You can often find a similar new piece which is reminiscent of days gone by, which you can be guaranteed is clean and free of offensive smells. For example, our Xavier Rug is inspired by antique Persian rugs, and our Lakewood Sectional has a distinct midcentury vibe.

Where to find more vintage and antique inspired furniture

If you’re looking for a sofa with a vintage or antique flavor, Sofa Creations is the Bay Area’s source for custom couches and sectionals. You can start by selecting one of our most popular styles and choose custom options for the dimensions and colors, or you can share your own unique vision with our team so we can make a completely new design just for you.

Sofa Creations also offers a wide selection of other furniture pieces, including recliners, rugs, beds, and decor. Start browsing our inventory online and chat with one of our local team members to find exactly what you’re looking for! You can also come see us in person at one of our two Bay Area show rooms.