Antiques: A Thing of the Past or Still Relevant?

 In Furniture, Interior Design

It’s always exciting to see what is trending in the design world. From bold colors to brushed gold finishes, we are seeing both long-ago trends come back and new ones unexpectedly pop up. One trend, that some people are crossing their fingers for a comeback, is the popularity of antiques. Antique furniture, which is loosely defined as 100 years or older, has seen steadily declining interest in the last couple decades. They are not nearly as popular as they were twenty years ago. Will this trend reverse itself, and will antiques make a comeback?

Effects of Downsizing

Downsizing itself seems to be a rising trend, especially among older clientele. The main demographics of antiques consist of the Silent Generation and Baby Boomers. However, the majority in these age groups are also moving into smaller homes rather than increasing their square footage, resulting in the selling of antiques to accommodate their downsizing. This has a snowball effect on the antique market. With the increased supply of antiques and less of a demand, prices of antiques are plummeting, and they are still not selling.

Photos by Barry Halkin

The Contemporary Trend

As the popularity of antiques continue to decline, many antique dealers and galleries have switched their focus towards curated collections that combine antiques with contemporary trends. The decrease in sales and value of inventory make it hard to survive if they solely rely on general antique sales. This means scaling down on antique inventory and being more selective amongst the ever-growing supply.

The rise of contemporary trends also applies to the design of homes. Living spaces are now arranged to be more open-concept, meaning there is less desire from new homeowners to have antique furniture pieces, including cabinets, armoires, and dining tables that may seem too cumbersome for modern spaces.

Photo by Jay Greene

Photo by Jay Greene

Are Antiques “Coming Back”?

Many people view trends and fashion as “recirculating”, and based on that theory, antiques may one day make a comeback. Demand would drive up prices and their value. However, it’s hard to say when that will be. Additionally, there are so many different styles and time periods of antiques. Art Deco furniture, which will become “antique” in the next 10 years, has always been popular, and because the Art Deco style was in vogue for a short period, they’ve always held their value compared to some other styles. We may never see a revival of Victorian style, but Art Nouveau, Federal or Empire could more easily make a comeback.

While antiques are not as in demand as they once were, they are worth considering adding to your home, whether for home decorating or staging. Because supply is high, and prices are still low, it may be a good time to seek out a few antique pieces which will fit in with your home’s aesthetic.

Photos by Dan Forer

Photos by WPL Interior Design

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