Where to pick up interesting vintage or antique homewares and furniture this spring

PUBLISHED: 18:17 23 April 2015 | UPDATED: 18:37 23 April 2015

Ally Pally

Ally Pally


Have the feeling that your and all your friends’ homes all look the same? It could be time to shop beyond the usual spots. Antiques fairs and auctions are great places to pick up unusual pieces and get inspiration from the past. Here are three of the best happening in or around north London this spring.

Tips for buying pieces

Buy what you really love, not what you think might increase in value (it might not)

If you are buying specifically to furnish right now, don’t hesitate too long over a piece you really like as someone might come and buy it before you make your mind up

Make a list

Cash is king

Don’t be afraid to ask questions

Check about delivery options if it’s a large item

Buy from someone who has a shop or will give you a receipt. Then you know you can find them again if something goes wrong

The Decorative Antiques and Textiles Fair

Although located in Battersea Park, the Decorative Antiques and Textiles Fair, which is in its 30th year, hosts several exhibitors from Marylebone Church Street’s antiques market. These include event founder Patricia Harvey, who sells a mixture of painted and fine antique furniture, in particular formal seating and shares a stall with her daughter Victoria who also runs her shop Deuxieme at Alfie’s Antique Market.

Buyers can pick up vellum suitcases and white and cream ceramics from Church Street’s Nick Jones, or interesting chandeliers from James Worrall.

C18th to C20th antiques – lots o lovely painted furniture, beautifully upholstered sofas often with unusual shape/scale/design, vellum suitcases &* white and cream ceramics a speciality

Highgate’s Thomas J. Symonds Rare Books will also be selling decorative prints and paintings alongside rare books and manuscripts.

Popular with interior designers, the fair anticipates interiors trends from the country house look popular in the 1980s to the growing interest in industrial salvage in the last decade.

Dec fair open dayDec fair open day

What to buy: The fair is known for embracing more off-beat antiques. Look out for shop fittings, industrial or factory furniture, architectural antiques and repurposed items. You can also find lighting, textiles, mirrors, upholstered furniture and outdoor ornaments.


The Cabinet Rooms

Specialising in affordable modern design, peripatetic auctioneer The Cabinet Rooms also take a modern approach to their sales methods.

A sort of specialist ebay with bells on, buyers can bid on lots either in person or online from anywhere in the world.

Philip Thomas director of The Cabinet Rooms, explains: “The sales are filmed and streamed online, meaning that people don’t have to sit through a two-hour auction if they don’t want to, they can just set an alert on their computer for when their chosen lot comes up.”

Jens Quistgaard Stokke Set, c.1968Jens Quistgaard Stokke Set, c.1968

And while customers can adopt a purely digital approach, unlike with ebay there is also the opportunity to view the objects in the flesh at their temporary showroom in Cecil Sharp House before bidding.

What to buy: The Cabinet Rooms has a strong track record of working with the best Modern Danish design. Hans Wegner is a well-known name that features regularly at their sales and is joined by rarer items fellow Danes Finn Juhl and Jens Quistgaard.


Alexandra Palace Antiques & Collectors’ Fair

A fixture on the north London vintage scene for many years now, Victorian exhibition hall Ally Pally provides an appropriately vintage venue for this fair.

Stocking items for interiors hunters as well as more casual purchases that might appeal to clothes shoppers, the fair hosts stall holders from across the country.

Ally PallyAlly Pally

“If you’re looking for quality items that will add elegance to your home, look no further than our event at Alexandra Palace”, said Emma Last, Communications Manager for the organisers International Antique & Collectors Fairs Ltd (IACF). “You’ll discover beautiful ceramics, stunning glassware, furniture fit for contemporary and modern rooms and much more.”

What to buy: This is the place to pick up smaller items and finishing touches from interesting decorative objects and collectables to Art Deco ceramics and twentieth century glassware. There is also a strong vintage clothing presence.


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