Timeless Furniture + Tips For Getting The Best Deal!

freaking-out-over-your-paint-colors

 

And Happy Fourth of July weekend! I hope you’re having a good holiday. This year, I’m hanging out here in Boston and babysitting my already sick, brand-new window air conditioner. Don’t ask. Okay, it’s fine, you can ask. It’s leaking horribly INSIDE the house. Someone was supposed to come by today to fix it, but at the 11th hour, that visit was postponed until Wednesday. Yuck.

Therefore, I am emptying a pan of water every two hours and hanging towels up to dry in the bathroom. It’s like having a baby again and changing his diaper ten times a day. haha, I guess this should be my worst problem?

 

Today, I’m going to indulge in one of my passions, timeless furniture pieces.

 

dining area looking into the den - timeless furniture in my Boston living room

Above and below is my Boston living room.

 

Dec 29, 2-15pm living room sunny day timeless furniture - Boston living room

 

I adore beautiful, timeless furniture, and have to say; there’s nothing I’ve ever bought that I’m totally sick of. Some pieces of furniture I’ve had for over 20 years! I’m not sure if I ever mentioned this, but about 25 years ago, I actually designed about two pieces of furniture, just for fun. This lovely and immensely talented lady incredibly inspired me.

I never did anything with my designs; I didn’t have the courage in those days. Nevertheless, I enjoyed creating furniture designs that didn’t exist, but I longed to see.

 

Therefore, please prepare some of the most beautiful, timeless furniture pieces.

 

Of course, your “timeless furniture” might be different, and that’s okay!

But, here’s the really good part, almost all of it is on sale this weekend. The not-so-good news is that most of it won’t be on sale come July 5th.

In any case, some of the pieces hang on for weeks, if not months. But, some pieces of furniture practically fly off the internet the hour their image is uploaded. Sometimes I’m amazed that something I’ve loved for a long time is still hanging around. But, almost always, everything I love gets sold.

I know some of you aren’t interested in posts containing items for sale.

That’s totally fine. If 10,000 people read this post and 20 people buy something with the affiliate links, that’s a super good day! So, please know that I never expect anyone to purchase anything. But, for those that wish to, I’m very appreciative. Plus, some great deals are going on.

 

However, some might not realize that there is always useful information in the captions underneath each image that you can file away.

 

Okay, let’s dive into the beautiful, timeless furniture pieces.

I’ve made two widgets. One is dining room furniture. And the other is everything else except for bedrooms. I was going to do a third widget for bedrooms. And, I was going to tell you the story about my cocktail table.

Alas, God has spared you my ramblings about the new table. Well, another day, you won’t be so lucky. haha

It’s a pretty good story, though.

 

Okay, there’s one thing I always say when posting about vintage furniture and art.

 

Always, and even after writing this (because they missed it), a couple of people will say that they got the SAME thing for 1/10th the price at an estate sale. Or, they got it at a consignment shop, their grandmother, or an online auction place. Maybe it was just lying on the sidewalk because someone dumped this treasure.

 

And yes, all of that is quite possible.

 

In fact, I have found some lovely things in all of those ways except for an auction. I don’t believe I’ve ever placed a bid on anything. However, my point is that the pieces I show are “obsessively” curated. Obsessively is in quotes because I’ve used that headline for my hot sales. But, it’s not an exaggeration. I don’t use that word frivolously.

 

So, even if you don’t get anything that 99.9% of you won’t, hopefully, you’ll still get some value from seeing these classic furniture pieces through my lens. (and you, if you’d like to chime in.)

 

Yesterday, if you saw my HOT SALES email, you’ll remember that I said my head was exploding.

 

Well, it really was. I mean, can you imagine me with tens of thousands of wonderful classic furniture pieces, as well as other home furnishings, and most of it is on sale?

So, let’s get started. I’m beginning with dining rooms, and here are two reasons why:

 

There are numerous dining tables available at many price points. But, most of these are a fraction of what they would cost if they were new. However, most will not be at this low price this coming Tuesday. In addition, not always, but sometimes the tables are here this week and gone the next. Some of them sell very quickly.

Two, if you’re considering sprucing your place up for the holidays, you need to take action – NOW, not September. In fact, it would’ve been better if you had started last January. I’m not joking. Anyone who’s been renovating or furnishing their home will most likely understand that things are moving more slowly than usual.

 

Another thing I’m hoping to make clear when talking about these vintage, classic furnishings:

 

I am not suggesting that your entire home needs to be filled with vintage furniture.

However, like many things, they don’t make furniture the way they used to. Or, if they do, say like Baker Furniture, please prepare to spend at least 20 large for a fine dining table.

 

Also, I love mixing old timeless furniture pieces with new pieces.

 

For instance, you could bop over to Serena and Lily and get one of their fabulous sofas for 25% off this weekend. Then, you could also do a vintage Georgian-style dining room and dining chairs. You can also mix Chinese Chippendale or Louis XVI chairs with your classic Georgian-style table.

So, I’ll shut up now. The examples are in the widget. Of course, I’ve only skimmed the surface. I have some 300 pieces in my folder on Chairish.

 

Ooohhhh, the sky is now turning dark, over two hours before sunset, with thunderstorms on the way! I love that in the summer!

(Alas, they kind of petered out, but it did rain a bit.)

Many of this furniture is from beautiful high-end sources such as Baker Furniture Co., Hickory Chair, Century, Henredon, Ralph Lauren, and other fine furniture companies. One trick I use in the search box on Chairish, 1st Dibs, or Etsy is to do a search for a particular company. For example: “Baker Furniture.” Then, sometimes I can narrow down the choices on the left sidebar.

Sometimes I’ll search for the style I wish to see, such as “Louis XVI” or “Gustavian.”

 

Some of the furniture are bonafide antiques from the 18th or 19th century, and we don’t know who made it.

And, some of the timeless furniture pieces are from smaller manufacturers, many of whom are no longer in business but made a fine product when they were.

Please enjoy the Dining Room Widget below. You can click on any image for more information about the piece.

 

 

Hi Everyone,

I apologize. There are some technical difficulties possibly with seeing the furniture if you’re looking on a mobile device. However, you can see everything on a desktop computer or a tablet.

We are trying to get at the root of the issue. This morning it wasn’t working and then my developer spent 4.5 hours and got the widgets to show up on mobile. Now, it seems to be broken again.

I’m sorry for the inconvenience!

***

Okay, back to the post about timeless furniture.

 

Did you know that some of these chairs, if new, could be as much as $4,500, or more, for one chair? Yes, I know. That’s nuts, but that’s why getting these items at a fraction of their total retail value is so wonderful. One thing I recommend, especially with chairs, is reading the details about them on their page. Sometimes they’re in excellent condition, and other times, they might need some TLC.

In addition, please don’t overlook a great chair just because you don’t like the fabric or finish on the chair. Those things can be changed.

 

Another point to note about vintage dining chairs that are of a classically timeless style is that you’ll find the chairs to be somewhat smaller than you’re used to seeing from most contemporary versions.

 

As many of you know, I often talk about bloated, bulky furniture and how I wish to rid the world of it. It’s certainly not the most crucial cause, but someone’s gotta do it! ;]

When taking on clients, I often did at least one piece, but usually two, in a painted finish. For example, I might’ve done a wood-stained table and buffet. Then, the chairs and china cabinet would be painted. Or, sometimes, it was the buffet that was painted.

 

Laurel Bern Interiors Portfolio Bronxville Dining room

In this dining room, above that we did several years ago, only the chairs were painted, but two small chests on the opposite end of the room, not pictured, were also painted. Plus, I had the inside of the custom china cabinet painted.

Adding in some painted finishes isn’t necessary, of course. However, it does help keep things a bit lighter and fresher.

Another favorite trick is to do slipcovers for the dining chairs if the style allows for that.

 

Next up is the living room widget.

 

Here you will see several cabinet pieces for living rooms, libraries, maybe a bedroom, and entry. These include armoires, bookcases, chests, and dressers. There are also side and coffee tables. Some pieces can also go in a dining room.

As I’ve done in my own home, there’s a mix of wood-stained and painted pieces. And, there is a heavy accent towards both Chinoiserie and Gustavian designs. I did a post a while back that shows how well these two seemingly disparate styles pair together.

 

 

Some things are quite expensive.

 

The authentic Gustavian, or at least “of the period,” (late 18th, early 19th century) are rather costly.

However, I’ve also tried to put in some moderate-priced pieces with out-and-out bargains.

Finally, and this is off the record. But, you can consistently offer a price about 10% below what it says. And you can do that even if the item is on sale. It doesn’t hurt to try.

I hope this has been helpful!

 

Le Déjeuner sur l'herbe avec une bouillotte - furniture termsThis was a graphic I made for this post about classic furniture terms you might not know.

Please enjoy the rest of your holiday!

xo,

PS: Definitely, please check out the newly updated HOT SALES! This is a wonderful time to purchase lots of new things as well.

 

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33 Responses

  1. Hi Laurel! I love your blog and keep noticing the pretty color of your floors in your apartment. Are they red oak? Do you believe they are stained Golden Oak if so? I’m getting ready to get my red oaks refinished soon and am hoping to get them looking like yours. Thank you so much for all you share always, I am a huge and appreciative fan! 🙂

    1. Hi Elisabeth,

      Sorry, I didn’t respond, sooner. I’m not sure, but I think they’re red oak and it looks like a golden oak stain. They look a lot dark and richer at night.

  2. As always, so enjoyed / appreciated. In the photo of the DR that you did several years ago you showed a round table (I think it is round, though not really clear in the photo). Do you have an round tables, or round that open to oval that you recommend in terms of style and quality? Prefer a simple pedestal base. thank you

  3. Beautiful choices and a great guide to train the eye. Love the antique Tabriz and the Antique Georgian table very pretty.

  4. Hi Laurel,

    Thank you for posting all of this information and the images. I would love to know exactly what style your dining chairs and table are…will you please tell us? I love the caned oval backs on the chairs and the ridges on the table.

  5. Hi Laurel. As much as I adore everything you write, (especially your sense of humor), I have received a duplicate post of this topic. Yesterday and today. 🤔. Anyone else? Oh well, doubly delightful!

    1. Hi Dee, Subscribers got sent a note mentioning that I sent the post out a second time because 60%+ of the people yesterday, were looking on their mobile devices. But, because of an unfortunate website malfunction, they couldn’t see any of the dozens of furniture pieces embedded in the widgets. (I could bog you down with a lot of technical stuff, but will spare you!) However, since I don’t know who was looking on what device, I sent it to everyone– again.

      Hope that makes sense. Sorry for the inconvenience.

  6. Window unit may not be tilted enough to the outside, or drain hole at the bottom of the unit that is outside may be blocked. Good luck!

  7. Beautiful pieces. I adore the Scalamandre pillow, but paying that much seems excessive to me, at this time of my life.

    I know it’s not your style, but I live in Stickley country, only a few miles from the manufacturing facility, and, when I had a windfall that allowed me to buy good furniture, was able to furnish our dining room at a huge Stickley sale, at prices 1/3 to 1/4 of retail. The china cabinet and DR table certainly seem classic to me, and they are classic Stickley. And although I love the smaller dining room chairs you feature, I bought upholstered chairs that keep our dinner guests entirely comfortable throughout the three to four hours our dinners last. We have had wonderful, stimulating conversations around that table. It’s a large dining room and we have a mix of furniture from different periods, so the Stickley element, while prominent, is not overwhelming.

    I can’t be the only one who appreciates Arts and Crafts furniture!

    1. Hi Jackie,

      It looks like it’s not working on mobile again, although it was five hours ago. We are trying to get to the root of why this is happening. You can see everything on a desktop computer or tablet, however. I apologize for the inconvenience.

  8. Love the widgets; they are wonderful as usual. As someone else noted, they are great for training the eye and your comments are so helpful and educational. Now I am curious about your cocktail table and can’t wait to hear the story.

  9. OMG! I have one of those Kittinger pembroke tables that I bought cheap cheap at an auction some 30 years ago. I just gave it to my son/DIL who were going to paint it gray! I have just tactfully? asked for it back!

  10. Laurel, yes I’m referring to the distance between the table apron and the chair seat. Thanks for your answer. 5″ seems minimum to me. May look for a little more than that as it needs to be comfortable for several hours sitting when used as a game table. Now I have a place to start!

  11. Your A/C unit is tilted wrong. The moisture is meant to drip out the back of the unit. So it has to be in the window with a slight tilt towards the back so the drain can do its job. Best of luck.

  12. I have widgets and they are lovely, as always!

    This post is good timing for me as I am shopping for a breakfast / game table and chairs. Since I do not want a matched set, is there an optimum distance between the chair seat and bottom of table edge?

    1. Hi Carolyn,

      I believe you’re referring to an apron that skirts around some tables? Or, maybe you’re talking about the table height itself? If there’s an apron, I believe the minimum one is looking for is an apron that’s at least 5″ higher than the height of the chair seat. Dining room chairs are usually between 18″-20″ high. It’s possible for them to be a bit higher or lower, however.

      As for table height. Most dining tables are from 29″- 31″ high. The majority of dining tables are 30″ high. I once sat at a writing table that was 27″ high and this was for work. I was fine there, but just barely.

  13. Hi Laurel,
    I got widgets on my IPad. The pieces are just beautiful!
    I may not be able to afford them but they are training my eye when I come across items on Marketplace. I so appreciate the lessons.
    I hope your air conditioning gets fixed soon. I can handle a cold house but not a hot one.

    1. Hi Mary,

      That’s wonderful news about being able to see the widgets on your I-pad. They are also showing on my MacBook.

      I am able to show the desktop version of the website on tablets, but because Google changed the rules about 7 years ago, and the mobile version of my current theme sucks, I had to install an alternate theme for mobile to make it “mobile-friendly.”

      I just added a note after the first widget in the middle of the post. Apologies to the 60% (the average number of mobile users) of you who are looking at the website on your phones.

  14. Meant to add I have all the widgets too. And correction I wrote Stanton and meant Stratton Furniture ☺️

  15. My widgets all work. Maybe your A/C demons have decided to gentrify (demonify?) your apartment. 🙂

  16. Hi Laurel
    I bought a beautiful dining table from Fusion Design two years ago. Gorgeous, solid wood, handcrafted, American made. I absolutely love it.

  17. Laurel, good luck with your ac unit – seems that these units have the uncanny ability to fail just when you most need to rely on them. So could not have enjoyed a post more – I love beautiful furniture. Once upon a time when we were house poor with a small budget, I lusted after antiques and would visit as many shops in and around Boston I could find. But not having the funds to acquire good antiques, I sought hand made repros. And went for non matching in order for it to look like we had inherited pieces from family. So we have case goods, tables and chairs from Wright Table Co, Stanton Furniture, Eldred Wheeler, D.R. Dimes and Milling Road by Baker. All beautifully made yet not antique. However, all except Baker, were made by
    small furniture craftsman manufacturers, who sadly closed up shop sometime ago. So maybe when they wheel me into the nursing home our beautiful pieces may approach antique status.

    1. Hi Jennifer,

      I think the problem is on mobile. I don’t know the cause. I have the widgets with the dozens of pieces of furniture on my MacBook, but not on my I-phone. I don’t have any of the widgets when looking at my site on my phone and that’s never happened before.

      My apologies. I don’t know if the problem is at the source of the widget, or with my website. I’m so sorry!

Comments are closed.

Welcome To Laurel Home!

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Hi, I’m Laurel, and Laurel Home is the website and blog for Laurel Bern Interiors.
I’ve been creating new-traditional interiors since 1988. The blog is where I share all.

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