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Whether you’ve got some vintage furniture lying around or you’re an estate sale/thrift shopping enthusiast looking for good deals, you need to know which types of vintage furniture are the most valuable. There are many ways to tell whether or not a piece of furniture counts as vintage or antique. Ultimately, an appraiser or other furniture professional can help you determine the answer. However, to help you get an idea, vintage pieces are typically less than 100 years old, but at least over 20 years old. Some of the periods of American furniture included in this category are: Arts & Crafts (1910-1925), Art Deco (1920-1940) and Midcentury Modern (1950-).
There are some things you can learn so that you know which vintage furniture to hang on to or quickly nab when you see it at a sale. Here’s your guide to the types of vintage furniture that are the most valuable:
Arts & Crafts Furniture
The furniture that came out of this movement had a unique focus on craftsmanship. During this time period, you’ll see a preference towards handcrafted pieces and the use of oak. Some valuable names to look for include Gustav Stickley, who invented Mission style furniture. His company is still in business today. Another famous name is Frank Lloyd Wright, an architect and designer, who created the Prairie style.
During this time, popular living room furniture included rocking chairs, settles and wooden lounging chairs instead of sofas, loveseats and recliners.
Art Deco Furniture
The Art Deco movement included some great furniture featuring streamlined styles and lines that became popular after WWI. Look for names like Gilbert Rhode who worked for the Herman Miller Furniture Co. and Warren McArthur, who produced very valuable furniture items including desks. Room screens are another type of furniture popular during this time period that are now quite valuable. Another name to look for is Donald Deskey.
One of the most popular furniture makers during this time period was Modernage Furniture. Although it isn’t the highest valued furniture from the Art Deco period, it is nothing to laugh at either. In good condition, a pair of Modernage square club chairs can be valued between 600-900$, for example.
Mid-Century Modern Furniture
You can find a great variety of furniture from this time period featuring clean lines and little detail. You’ll find the infamous Tulip Chairs designed by Eero Saarinen and produced by Knoll Associates. They were likely inspired by the Eameses, a designer couple who worked with Herman Miller Furniture Company.
This time period was rich and full of busy designers and furniture companies. Some other names to know include Cable Concept, David Rowland, Adrian Pearsall, Milo Baughman and Mobler. The Danes are known for their contribution to this style and you can often find them in a category of their own: “Danish Modern Mid Century”.
As far a style goes, you’ll find lots of curves, swoops, the use of teak and bright, bold colored upholstery.
The styles, types and names we’ve mentioned here are of course only a small smattering of what vintage furniture is out there. The history of furniture is rich and varied, and includes many special gems.
Have questions about the value of your furniture? If you’re not sure how much your furniture is worth or you’re looking to restore it, count on the professionals at Rahn’s Furniture to help you. Give us a call at 562.921.4922 to discuss your needs. We look forward to serving you!