6 Ways to Score Big While Shopping Vintage Online

Searching for vintage furniture online takes some serious time and dedication. As someone who has spent more hours than I care to count in hot pursuit of the perfect wicker daybed or lucite cocktail table, I can tell you that with a bit of preparation and planning, you can make your vintage treasure hunting much more efficient.

Vintage, Rustic Bar Area

Vintage, Rustic Bar Area

Photo by: Michael Moeller

Michael Moeller

One of the things that became a game-changer for me was finally organizing and saving all of my go-to search terms.

Most of us tend to search for the same types of items over and over again. So, to streamline your searching, you should create a master document that you can always refer back to with all of your favorite search terms.

This list took me a long time to compile, but lucky for you, I want to share all my best searches and save you guys loads of time. Mix-and-match these search terms below to find all the best finds in your city (or across the country!).

Vintage Cutting Board Display

Vintage Cutting Board Display

Photo by: Jennifer Puno

Jennifer Puno

Start With General Searches

These are the sorts of searches I do if I'm not necessarily looking for something super specific, but just want to browse and see what's out there. I'll search for things like:

vintage + type of furniture or vintage + material

  • vintage rocker
  • vintage bench
  • vintage cocktail table
  • vintage coffee table
  • vintage wall hanging
  • vintage leather
  • vintage acrylic
  • vintage lounger
  • vintage bed
  • vintage sleeper
  • vintage patio
  • vintage kids
  • vintage rug
  • vintage mirror
  • vintage light fixture
  • vintage chandelier
  • vintage lamp
White Eames Chair & Cowhide Rug in Urban

White Eames Chair & Cowhide Rug in Urban

Photo by: Marie Burgos

Marie Burgos

Add In Iconic Designers

If you're looking for an item from a specific designer, that's easy peasy; type in the name of the designer and search away. If you know exactly what item you're looking for, you can search for a specific piece like "Eames rocker"; however, I tend to typically put in only the name of the designer as it will expand your results and include things that might have been mislabeled by the seller. Here's a quick list of designers I often search for in the midcentury modern realm:

  • Charles and Ray Eames
  • Herman Miller
  • Drexel Heritage
  • Paul Evans
  • Thayer Coggin
  • Arne Jacobsen
  • Ludwig Mies van der Rohe
  • Milo Baughman
  • Paul McCobb
  • George Nelson
  • Alvar Aalto
  • Adrian Pearsall
  • Hans Knoll
  • Heywood Wakefield
  • Harry Bertoia
Vintage Bathroom Art

Vintage Bathroom Art

Discover Unusual Items, Too

Sometimes I'm looking for decor or furniture, but I'm not picky about the designer or brand name. This is my go-to list for unusual or interesting items that often help me pull together the finishing touches of a space.

  • vintage locker
  • vintage school desk
  • vintage macrame
  • vintage weaving
  • vintage bar
  • vintage patio
  • vintage plant hanger
  • vintage kilim
  • vintage painting
  • vintage ashtray
  • vintage animal
  • vintage candleholders
  • vintage mirror
  • vintage needlepoint
  • vintage embroidery
Gold Vintage Bar Cart

Gold Vintage Bar Cart

Photo by: Courtesy of Maison 21

Courtesy of Maison 21

Narrow Searches Down by Time

I'm addicted to anything and everything from the 70s. So I often fine-tune my searches by adding a time period to the search term. You can either try adding this to the phrase "vintage" ("vintage 70s macrame," for example) for more specific searches, or replacing the word "vintage" for a larger list of results ("70s macrame"). Sometimes I just search the decade and see what comes up (try all the variations of the decade you're searching for).

  • 70s, 1970s or seventies (this, of course, works for any decade)
  • MCM
  • mid century
  • vintage
  • antique
  • European antique
Small Bath With Vintage Appeal

Small Bath With Vintage Appeal

Photo by: Lindsey Lang Design, Ltd.; Rob Streeter

Lindsey Lang Design, Ltd.; Rob Streeter

Pull In Your Design Style

Another good general term search includes particular styles. This one is a little tricky as sometimes sellers don't know exactly how to categorize their items; however, if you really love a particular decor or design style, these search terms can often result in some great finds.

  • Hollywood glam
  • boho
  • rustic
  • traditional
  • funky
  • groovy
  • industrial
  • Danish modern
  • Americana
  • shabby chic
Dining Room With Pink Table and Floral Curtains

Dining Room With Pink Table and Floral Curtains


Secrets From a Stylist

Find Your Favorite Materials

For some more general searching, you can try looking up specific materials. You'll sometimes find that certain materials were more popular during specific time periods (like macrame in the 70s), so this is an effective way of tracking down additional items that were not tagged for a specific decade or designer. I usually pair these materials with the word vintage or antique:

vintage + material or antique + material

  • lucite
  • acrylic
  • macrame
  • woven
  • sheepskin
  • leather
  • bakelite
  • plexiglass
  • teak
  • fiberglass
Gray Geometric Rug Shows Through Lucite Coffee Table

Gray Geometric Rug Shows Through Lucite Coffee Table

Photo by: Kapito Muller Interiors

Kapito Muller Interiors

HGTV Stars Share Their Top Shopping Tips

See All Photos

Pretty Glassware

Photo By: Courtesy of the manufacturer

Patterned Frames

Photo By: Courtesy of the manufacturer

Upholstered Headboards

Photo By: Courtesy of the manufacturer

Glass Lamps

Photo By: Courtesy of the manufacturer

Wood Dining Chairs

Photo By: Courtesy of the manufacturer

Graphic Artwork

Photo By: Courtesy of the manufacturer

Kitchen Cabinet Knobs

Photo By: Courtesy of the manufacturer

Seasonal Accessories

Photo By: Courtesy of the manufacturer

Colorful Throw Pillows

Photo By: Courtesy of the manufacturer

Cheerful Kitchen Towels

Photo By: Philip Friedman/Studio D

Flashy Cutlery

Photo By: Courtesy of the manufacturer

Vibrant Runners

Photo By: Courtesy of the manufacturer

Next Up

Be a Savvy Flea-Market Shopper With These 8 Tips

Rule the flea market, granny cart in tow, with these essentials tips.

Love Fixer Upper? See 5 Ways to Bring Joanna's Style Home

HGTV.com shares 5 charming home design ideas from Fixer Upper's Joanna Gaines.

6 Designer Tricks to Make Your Small Apartment Feel Big

Short on square footage? Try these designer-approved ways to stretch your space.

Our 10 Favorite Designers to Watch on Instagram Stories

We've got even more inspiration at our fingertips.

Weekend Plans? Map Out the Perfect Vintage Shopping Field Trip

Here are some tips you can follow to plan your own vintage shopping field trips, no matter where you live.

The Best Places to Buy Wallpaper Online

Looking to pattern up your walls? Try this designer's go-to sources.

6 Easy Design Tips for Renters You Can Actually Afford

It's really possible to customize your rental space without a trust fund or lottery win. Here's how.

Death to Mason Jars! Lili and Meg Call It Quits on This Long-Lasting Trend

In the latest episode of your favorite new web series, Design Goals, Meg and Lili stir up a little controversy and share a DIY fail.

6 Ways to Glam Up Your Instagram and Make Everyone Jealous

It's time to ignite your inner creativity, and you don't need an expensive camera to do it.

Designer Confession: I Love Shopping at Big-Box Stores

Don't mind me, I'll just be over here browsing the dollar bins.

Meet the Team

Get to know the talented writers and editors of HGTV's show and design blog. 

Go Behind the Blog

From the Archives

Take a look back at our past posts, from entertaining and design trends to up-and-coming HGTV shows.  

Read All Our Past Posts