I have had quite the adventure so far, looking for the perfect pieces for my new home. Making a clean sweep of nearly everything I own suddenly – within 15 days- I felt lighter, brighter and more amazing than I realized would be possible as I really liked the things I had… but… they had absorbed energy over the last 7 years that was not the energy I wanted. Despite cleaning and energetic clearing (we’ll get to that) I was sort of surprised at how easily I decided to let some things go. It was a massive “goodbye” to the past.
Now, to finding new things that are gorgeous, unique, super-structurally-solid and energetically amazing!!!
The thing is: I am not drawn to lots of new furniture. I love new lighting, new appliances, new fabrics, new upholstery and handmade stuffed pillows that are new new new… but I like the bones, the integrity and the potent history of excellent vintage furniture.
In the shopping for vintage, I found myself calling upon many energy principles- and lots of lessons- to zero in on what I wanted…and in the process found things that defied even my greatest expectations so far!!!
1- Start with a great sense of what you want, and I mean this specifically. Unlike most furniture stores with predictable sku’s and sorting and categorization, the best vintage is random and to hunt it effectively and not for 100 hours- starting with a good sense of what you want will serve you immensely.
Get a sense of what that sofa, nightstands or anything else looks like for you. Pinterest is a great place to look through modern remakes of vintage designs to get a sense of the shapes, materials, colors and time periods of furniture that you’re drawn toward.
2- Also, be aware that when you search you’ll find riffs on your desire that may be more well-suited to your needs, and this is where the vast spectrum of vintage gets fun. I wanted a mint condition marble-topped tulip table as one thing on my list. I craved the stone, the smooth edges and the elegant design. When the tulip table options that I could see in person that I was finding were “meh” at best, I knew I still wanted round and marble. What I found was the Italian cream marble table above, and it’s beyond gorgeous!!!
3- Choose dealers, estate sales and vintage shops that source furniture from places where you can rest fairly well assured that you won’t be inheriting bugs (termites, bedbugs, etc– this is a real concern!) or contaminates. While this can be more of a crapshoot, there’s a way to avoid some of this. Before bringing questionable wood (if you question it!) into your space, treat it with orange oil. Then, seal it with a wood sealant that will keep pretty much anything and everything out.
4- Find an upholstery guru! In addition, I almost always recommend getting new upholstery and stuffing put into sofas and chairs and pillows. Along with a major cleaning! Even my vintage sofa I have had for 10 years (which was newly upholstered at the start) is due for a re-stuff and totally nw fabric and a big cleaning. It’s like a new life, and great furniture is well worth the investment. You’ll want to select fabrics that suit your lifestyle needs— be it pets, kids, people sensitive to synthetics, textures you crave— all of it is important. I have vintage furniture sent direct to an upholsterer before it lands in my house, or in client’s homes. This will save you on delivery fees and will save you in so many ways as you’ll know your piece is PERFECT from the start!
5- Go see pieces in person as much as possible. Unless you can be sure you can either afford to donate or deal with reselling something that isn’t great, you’ll be thrilled you took the time to feel the piece. I do this for lots of furnishing… it’s very hard to get a full sense of a piece without being there live. I had fallen in love with a mirrored brass bar cart from the 70’s and a killer white onyx coffee table…and when I saw it live, the cart wobbled and felt strange, and the onyx table was broken. You can only see what you see in photos, so try to shop live if you have the chance to do it!
6- Exercise caution with craigslist or other merchants where you are going to someone’s home or to an offbeat place, if cash is insisted upon without receipt… you want to bring friends, do your research and pass on even the coolest deals that feel even remotely sketchy.
7- You also want to feel the furniture vibes. Objects contain energy. They are energy. They store energy. While you can clear the energy of pieces to make them your own (ahead!) you don’t want to bring in heavy negativity or darkness. One tip is to sense the energy you get from the dealer. I’ve gotten odd/off vibes talking to even the nicest of sellers. It’s not about judgement— it’s a feeling sensation and it’s about what harmonizes with you. Trust your gut!
8- Don’t settle. There are millions of pieces of furniture so be clear with yourself that you do not need to settle. Instead, make your intention to find what you need even sharper and stay open to the possibilities. I have bought, say, a new coffee table I loved when vintage wasn’t coming through, and that’s also a possibility.
What you want to avoid is a bunch of stuff you don’t really like just for the sake of having something. Yesterday, I went to see a desk I had seen online that looked amazing. But… in person, it felt weird. Not like me. Not fresh-minded. It was tempting to say that I’d take it anyway because I need a desk and it was great looking but… I said no.
Within 10 minutes, I came upon what could not have been more of a shining, powerful, magically gorgeous dream desk. It might have been $5000 for this lacquered metal pristine powerhouse desk bit this one that had just rolled into the shop was about 1/20th of that price.
Don’t settle. What you love is waiting for you!
9- Unless you are a true DIY guru or ready to get into that skillset, and have a proper workspace, or you are planning on hiring a pro— do not buy thngs you can “fix up” or paint or repair yourself. In my experience with hundreds of these scenarios, not only does this not happen, it becomes a major guilt-and-clutter situation. While I know you are capable of every DIY, ask yourself if this is somehing that can be done properly in a reasonable amount of time for a realistic amount of money. I once thought I could re-cane chairs.
Well, I technically could ….with about $400 in materials, workspace, and about 6 hours a chair which would bring my refinishing up to about $4000 for the set (!)… hoping that I got it right.
Those chairs stayed for over a year ripped in my home and I felt awful every time I looked at them. Even the pro-refinishing I researched would run to about $400 a chair, and they just were not even that great… so…be grounded in your refinishing prowess or skip major fixer-uppers!
10- Clear your furniture!!!! Once my new pieces arrive I will walk you through the process I now use to energetically clear furniture more step-by-step, but the simplest and most effective ways I have found:
- a super-strong intention
- burn some sage or cedar wood (powerful) smudge wands and let the smoke do it’s symbolic job.
- wash everything in sea salt and water
- stash a black tourmaline crystal on top for a good long while, clearing it with sage or out in the moonlight…!
P.S. If you are in LA or San Diego and looking for INSANE vintage finds, I had the greatest experience at Loveseat here in DTLA. They are not compensating me in any way to share this amazing find!!! I can’t wait to show you my space as it gets set up!!!! xoxoxo!!!!
Welcome to Creating Genius!
I spent the last year creating this e-guide to balancing and unblocking life by pulling together the best of a decade of space-changing and life-shifting feng shui! It’s 50 days and 50 ways to use feng shui to shift your space and your routines to move from “stuck” to creatively inspired and alive.
Gather up your magic & make gorgeous dreams come true!