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More than just a furniture purchase, choosing antique chairs for your kitchen is an investment, a good way to acquire heirloom pieces that can be passed down in your family for generations to come.
First, it's important to clarify the difference between antique furniture and vintage pieces. Pieces that are considered by experts to be antique are typically at least 100 years old, a classification that is based on U.S. Tariff Act of 1930. Styles included in this age group include pieces from the Victorian, Edwardian and Colonial eras, and, as we move through the calendar, early Arts and Crafts pieces.
In contrast, pieces that are considered to be vintage will be newer, from the Art Deco period (for now) through midcentury modern. To be truly vintage, the piece must have a high level of design and construction and have long-term appeal.
And therein lie the benefits of choosing antiques and vintage furniture: These pieces have stood the test of time, are sturdy and make beautiful—as well as useful—investment pieces.
Antique kitchen chairs are most often constructed of solid wood and are unpainted, although you may find some antique chairs made of wrought iron.
The search for the perfect antique chairs can be a lengthy process, although a fun one if you enjoy perusing antique stores. Take a day or a weekend to start your search. You can also search the websites of antique stores in your area, or contact stores to ask if they have kitchen chairs in stock. You can shop online sites that ship, such as eBay, Lofty or the Internet Antique Shop.
Estate sales and auctions are other good ways to find antiques. Check the classifieds of your local newspaper for upcoming sales. You can also check newspaper sites and Craigslist. Or you can do an internet search of estate sale companies in your area and sign up for email notifications. Some companies place signs in neighborhoods where estate sales are going to take place. Estate sales typically start on Fridays, so be sure to check local listings on Thursdays.
Be sure to take measurements before doing your shopping, to determine how many chairs will fit your table. If you're buying a table along with your chairs, be sure to take measurements of your room to ensure you don't end up with pieces that are too big for the space, or too small to provide the visual balance you want.