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Is New or Vintage Furniture the Better Investment?

Carlo di Carli Lounge chair and ottoman

If you’re a connoisseur of modern furnishings, and you’re outfitting your home or office with the likes of Eames, Noguchi and Risom, then you might wonder whether it is a better investment to purchase vintage pieces or newly produced pieces. Your options, in many cases, will be between vintage pieces or new furnishings from the likes of Design Within Reach. In our opinion, vintage furniture will always be the better investment. Find out why we’ve come to that conclusion and determine whether new or vintage modern furniture is best for your home, your style and your budget.

Vintage Pieces are in Limited Supply

This can be a pro as well as a con. Since vintage pieces are inherently limited to their original production numbers, they are rare items. On one hand, this makes them harder to find, particularly if you’ve got great taste and want a very specific piece. On the other hand, that rarity makes existing pieces incredibly special. Since production of new items isn’t capped, those items may be less in-demand and less desirable overall.

Vintage Furniture Will Likely Increase in Value

Vintage furnishings from iconic designers can be thought of as investments. While their value may go up over time, it is unlikely that their value will dip much, if at all. That’s because over time, and with proper maintenance, these special mid-century pieces will become increasingly rare and valuable. If production increases for newer models of iconic pieces, however, these new versions will become less desirable, less rare and less valuable. If you’re thinking about the investment value of furniture, then vintage is nearly always best.

Vintage Materials Are Often Better

Even when furniture manufacturers follow the same designs today as the originals 50 or 60 years ago, the materials are difficult to reproduce. Often, new versions are made using subpar materials. While old and new chairs or sofas may look nearly identical when side by side, lesser materials may mean that these newer versions won’t be able to stand the test of time like their vintage counterparts.

vintage chair, mid-century black leather chair

Vintage Craftsmanship Rules Supreme

There is no question that when it comes to furniture craftsmanship, vintage pieces have a serious advantage. Older pieces, particularly Danish modern pieces from the mid-century, were born from a tradition of craftsmanship. Furniture was made to last a lifetime, and proper maintenance meant that furnishings could be passed down among generations. Today, consumption of furniture has changed, and pieces aren’t designed to last as long. Production is more likely to be automated, and each piece receives less individual care and attention.

Vintage Furniture Boasts Charm and Character

Sometimes, our favorite vintage furniture pieces aren’t perfect. There may be a scratch in the leg, a worn and shiny piece of a wooden arm where years of use are visible or even a ragged edge on an original label. These shouldn’t be thought of as defects, but as a testament to the piece’s history and character. Sometimes, individual pieces can even have an incredible provenance. We’ve collected pieces from the former chauffeurs of presidents, military men who purchased incredible Danish bars serving after World War II and even individuals who worked alongside world-famous architects.

In the battle between old and new, our stance is clear. Vintage furnishings offer charm and character, are often made better than their new counterparts and even offer a better return on investment. If you’re ready to snag your own vintage furniture, we’re here to help.

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