Interior Design

Experts reveal the 5 antique pieces you should invest in right now

As demands for pre-loved goods increase, experts share which antiques you should bring into your home

Antique trends 2021
(Image credit: Albion Nord)

Is the future of our decor rooted in the past? Search trends would suggest so, as interest in antique shops has recently risen by approximately 50 per cent, antique auctions have increased by 80 per cent, and antique markets have jumped by 129 per cent. 

While the demands are certainly growing, venturing into the wild world of antiques can often feel overwhelming. However, these interior experts have cut through the wild world of antiques to pick out five trending pieces right now. So, if you’re looking for an investment piece, we suggest starting with these five pieces. 

See: Traditional living room ideas – classic decor looks for walls, floors and furniture

Before looking at the top five antique investments, designer couple Since_1859suggests why antique goods are so popular. In a discussion regarding their partnership with Gumtree, the couple emphasized their positive impact on the environment, saying: 

‘Antique items create a more individual look that is much harder to replicate, using existing resources that massively reduce our carbon footprint,' they share. Antique sourcing benefits our homes and the environment? We can’t say we’re surprised they're having a moment.

Which five antique pieces should you invest in? 

Antique trends 2021

(Image credit: Albion Nord)

1. Marble & Travertine Tables

It’s time to rewrite any misconceptions about nostalgic marble and travertine tables, as this 1970s icon is now one of the most desirable features of a contemporary home. Interior influencers Athena Calderone and Colin King are no strangers to this timeless centerpiece, which @since_1859 suggests, is ‘styled back with neutrals to enhance a chic and classical mood.’

‘We bought a large Travertine table for our dining room and love the variety of colors it has on the surface – just add a specialized coating to the top to ensure it’s easy to wipe down and to keep it intact for longer,’ the couple says. 

You can wade through the vast antique world by narrowing your search terms on sites such a Gumtree. Begin by searching labels such as marble nesting tables, marble coffee tables, and travertine tables.

Antique trends 2021

(Image credit: Lime Lace)

2. Antique Fireplaces  

Nothing captures the enduring allure of a period home quite like its fireplace. These structures bring personality and warmth to a space that may otherwise feel cold and empty while injecting an elegant piece of decorative dominance to your property. Plus, there are several beautiful styles to choose from, including marble and cast iron, which are among the mantels that can be upcycled to suit your dream interior.   

Owner of the fireplace emporium Renaissance London, Owen Pacey, explains the rising demand for antique fireplaces, saying ‘I’d always recommend sticking to the period of the house when looking to purchase a fireplace. This ensures that the styles align and the fireplace will look like it’s always been there. The ground floor of Victorian properties always used to have a marble or slate fireplace, and later on in the Edwardian era, slate became much more popular.’

See: Fireplace ideas for living rooms – from style to placement

Antique trends 2021

(Image credit: The French Bedroom Co)

3. Scalloping

Esteemed interior designers, such as Matilda Goad and Phoebe Nicol, are embracing this historical trend through signature scalloped lampshades, headboards, and pelmets. However, there are many ways to make scalloping work in your contemporary home, as @since_1859 shares.

‘With a little bit of searching, scalloping can also be found on antique pieces too, from drinks trolleys to comfortable living room armchairs – it’s a great way to add a bit of flair to a reclaimed cast iron radiator as made by craftsman @alfrednewall for @beataheuman.'

4. Burlwood

Burlwood is a rare cut of wood taken from an abnormal growth of a tree, which creates an unusual pattern material with a striking textural surface. This wood is frequently used in the design of side tables and is often used in exquisitely crafted antique furniture. While burr wood fell somewhat out of style, it’s well and truly back as one of 2021’s biggest interior trends. 

‘Renowned interior designer Rose Uniacke has used burr wood side tables to help add interest to an otherwise calm minimal room, adding warmth and depth. I also loved seeing them in the home of @casa.curated; this totally inspired me to go on the hunt to find a pair myself,’ says @since_1859.

5. Antique Lighting 

Antique trends 2021, antique goods in bedroom

(Image credit: Matthew Williamson)

The power of antique lighting needs no introduction. Lights are, rightly, considered as a focal point to a successful design scheme, so why not trust the test of time and invest in a fixture that has illuminated homes for centuries, 

The best antique lights can have a huge impact on the overall decor of a room and can create opulent areas which will transport your home to a time gone by. Elegant pieces such as Edwardian holophane lights with ruffled glass edges will also add a great period touch to a hallway, making a statement ‘even when they are turned off.' 

 ‘We recently bought a vintage Murano light for our lounge that even looks great in the reflection of the artwork on the walls – adding elements of light can also emphasize shadows, creating desirable shapes to add to the room’s overall style,’ adds @since_1859.

What else should you remember whilst shopping for antiques?

Antique trends 2021, office with antique goods

(Image credit: Albion Nord)

Esteemed designer Matthew Williamson has offered his tips for navigating the ‘tricky terrain’ of the vintage and antique marketplace, which you need to remember, whether shopping for these five things or anything else. 

‘One of the most important parts of achieving a unique, special place to call home is filling its rooms with beautiful things. I believe that the world of antiques and vintage can unlock new potential for the home; an undiscovered personality that will reflect its owners’ unique lives, passions, humor, and style,’ Matthew says.

See: Country living room ideas – rustic rooms that are cosy and chic

‘As much as a home needs to be a relaxing sanctuary away from the hustle and bustle of the world, it also needs to be a physical manifestation of the person you are. It needs to be as unique as you are.'

'Antique and vintage furniture isn’t the preserve of fuddy-duddy stately homes and museums. I want to break down this misconception about antiques and vintage, highlighting strong pieces and great design that can work in modern and fresh schemes.’

We're taking notes on everything Matthew has to say. 

Megan Slack
Head of Celebrity Style News

Megan is the Head of Celebrity Style News at Homes & Gardens. She first joined Future Plc as a News Writer across their interiors titles, including Livingetc and Real Homes, before becoming H&G's News Editor in April 2022. She now leads the Celebrity/ News team. Before joining Future, Megan worked as a News Explainer at The Telegraph, following her MA in International Journalism at the University of Leeds. During her BA in English Literature and Creative Writing, she gained writing experience in the US while studying in New York. Megan also focused on travel writing during her time living in Paris, where she produced content for a French travel site. She currently lives in London with her antique typewriter and an expansive collection of houseplants.