Copyright 2009 – Kimberly Clay
There are a number of approaches to take when choosing antiques and collectibles for home décor, and also a number of reasons for doing so. Some choose antiques as investments, attending auctions and salerooms where some good bargains can be found, whereas for others they are simply a way of furnishing and decorating their home, or just a part of it.
Those who collect seriously, either as an investment or simply for the joy of owning lovely things, tend to purchase either privately or from galleries and auctions, although there are more opportunities for people simply wishing to decorate their homes either with old things, or to a theme. Among these are eBay and other online auction sites, flea markets, estate sales and garage sales, and also specialist online and offline stores.
Themed rooms have always been popular, and antiques and collectibles are ideal for this type of décor. It doesn’t take much imagination to visualize the impact of entering a room decorated in blues and gold, the doorway protected by a statue of the jackal headed god Anubis, and Egyptian-style scrolled tables displaying your collection of Ancient Egyptian artifacts and memorabilia. These, of course, would be reproductions, but it can make a tremendous impact on guests when they see it for the first time.
The problem with such ancient themes is that the genuine antiques, or antiquities as ancient Egyptian artifacts are correctly referred to, are generally unobtainable, or if they are available then the prices are prohibitively high. It’s much simpler to get nearer to home, both geographically and historically, and early 20th century art deco or late 19th century American themes are very popular and can have no less of an impact.
Here, you can find the genuine articles at relatively low prices. You don’t have to look far to find authentic Shaker furniture, genuine Tiffany lamps or small arms and swords used during the Civil War. Weapons, uniforms, buttons and so on are all easily found from antique and memorabilia stores, and you shouldn’t find it difficult to decorate a room with an early American theme, or focused on the Civil War.
It is relatively easy to get your hands on genuine American antiques and collectibles. Most towns and cities have stores offering articles on such themes, and there are many online specialist stores, not to mention eBay, where you can get just about any kind of collectible you need to help you design a room to the theme of your choice.
If these ideas don’t appeal to you, how about ancient Greece or Rome? Imagine your dinner parties being held in a Roman villa and your guests dressed in togas? Your entire home needn’t be decorated in that way, of course, just one room and perhaps an entrance hall. It doesn’t take a lot. One or two pedestals with faux Roman busts (or even the real thing?), settees and sofas to lounge on, and some wall and floor decorations. Dinner served on large platters and eaten with the fingers in the genuine Roman style.
Many people are not keen on themes because they feel tied down to a too specific type of décor or period in history. You might prefer to specialize, not in a civilization but in a type of article. Some love figurines, while others prefer furniture or antique jewelry. You can specialize in a style, a material, such as wood or tubular furniture, or even in a specific designer or cabinet maker.
Irrespective of your reason for choosing antiques and collectibles for home décor, there is a wider range available now than ever before. Antiques that once were the domain only of the rich, are now available to everybody. As people are becoming aware of the value of old things, they are becoming more readily available, and an upsurge in antique stores and auctions has helped to bring prices down.
The more established antiques industry, however, will always be highly priced, and while you might not be able to afford a genuine Sheraton writing desk with its beautifully tapered legs looking almost too slender and slight to hold any weight at all, you can certainly afford to get your hands on a traditional Shaker table and chair, or even one of the many life-like reproductions.
Some reproductions are priced not far off that of the genuine article, particularly in relation to furniture, but that apart, there is a plethora of genuine antiques and collectibles to be had at very reasonable prices if you know where to look and are determined to find them.
Purchasing antiques and collectibles for home décor presents specific problems not associated with normal antique collecting. They have to be durable because they are not being hidden away or stored, and also likely functional. If you target a theme or genre, whether in terms of a period in history, designer, material or functionality and intended use, you will have a direction that will not only make collecting more easy, but also enable you to more easily focus on becoming an expert in your chosen field.
As you explore your home decor ideas and options, visit the many antiques and collectibles shops and dealers in Central Kentucky. For a listing of those closest to you, who specialize in your preferred genre of antiques and collectibles, or to view several of the region’s merchant websites, visit our Shop Antiques and Collectibles page.