A good place to start is by educating yourself on different types of of antiques. Did you know that a true antique must be over 100 years old? A great place to start is the library. Familiarizing yourself with different styles will make you an educated shopper.
Learn how furniture from different eras was made. This will help you distinguish a real antique from a modern day knock off. Keep in mind that imperfections mean that a piece was hand made rather than cut from machinery.
Develop an eye for different types of wood for it will help determine a piece's value. Walnut, for instance, is considered high-end and will appraise the piece at a higher value.
Once you're educated, start shopping! Often times you can find great deals at garage sales and flea markets. However, if you're looking for something specific it might be a good idea to check with an antique dealer or well connected interior designer.
SARAH BARNARD is a member of the American Society of Interior Designers (ASID), is certified by the National Kitchen and Bath Association (NKBA), and is recognized by the International Institute for Bau-Biologie & Ecology as a Building Biology Practitioner (BBP) and by the United States Green Building Council as a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Accredited Professional (LEED AP). She serves on the Santa Monica Conservancy’s board of directors and specializes in green interior design and historic preservation.
Sarah Barnard Design undertakes residential interior design projects, commercial spaces and even single rooms. She can help you with space planning, color counseling, kitchen and bath remodeling, historic preservation, and all aspects of green design and healthy living: organic, non-toxic, sustainable and fair trade materials, energy and resource conservation, air and water purification, natural furnishings and fabrics and much more!