In case you haven’t heard, antiquing is cool again! If you haven’t set aside a day to explore the many amazing antique malls and shops Charleston has to offer, you’re honestly missing out. We love the thought of a piece of furniture or décor having a story behind it, and living in a city full of rich history makes finding interesting pieces easy and fun. With that said, it’s easy to get overwhelmed if you haven’t been antiquing before. Take a gander at our five best tips for antiquing before you head out on your treasure hunt.
Make a plan. Antique shops abound in the Charleston tri-county area. In fact, there are so many that it can become a tad overwhelming. Even if you’re not one to plan, making a loose outline for the day is a good idea when there are so many options. For example, if you’re starting out at Roumillat’s Antiques and Auctions, you’ll want to make sure to hit the other West Ashley locations like Terrace Oaks Antique Mall before hightailing it over the bridge to Antiques Market and Page’s Thieves Market in Mt. Pleasant.
Bring a measuring tape. Maybe you’re not exactly in the market for furniture, but you never know when you might stumble across the perfect sideboard you didn’t even know you were looking for. The question is will it fit through your front door? Keep a pocket measuring tape in your bag or glove box, and you’ll always know.
Keep your smartphone handy. You’ll be thankful for the access to Google when trying to decide if that gorgeous art deco dresser is actually a reproduction. If authenticity is important to you, it’s nice to be able to do a quick search for information on specific pieces. Having your phone’s camera is also pretty useful for those “I think I love it, but I’m not sure” moments. Snap a quick pic so you can look back and decide later.
Shop thoughtfully. Just because you absolutely adore that 1950s mink fur stole doesn’t mean you should buy it on a whim. Is it something you’ll actually wear or use in your décor? If it’s going to just sit on a shelf in the closet, it’s better to leave that particular treasure for someone else.
Dust off your negotiation skills. Don’t forget that sticker prices aren’t always final. The tricky part is that if you’re in an antiques mall, the owner of a particular piece won’t necessarily be there to haggle. Most dealers can usually be reached them by phone if you have questions or want to offer a different price. Don’t be afraid to approach the storeowner! They’re usually very friendly and eager to help.