Giving antique furniture and accessories as Christmas presents really does bring a whole new meaning to the term 're-gifting'!
But shabby chic and distressed furniture is all the rage right now, and you'd be surprised what you can pick up for under $150.
Finding antique gems
If you've decided to give the gift of antique, chances are you know the person and their tastes pretty well. After all, a 1950's dark oak gothic headboard probably isn't going to go with the Ikea range.
You might not get a set of antique chairs for under $150, but a mish-mash of old quirky chairs around the dining table makes for an eclectic look.
Some of the chairs you come across may be over 50 years old, so it's important to test the sturdiness of the chair and make sure it’s structurally sound.
Unless you're willing to pay for reupholstering, it's best to steer clear of antique upholstered chairs. The fabric can take a real battering over the years, and it's difficult (and pricey) to mend any damage.
Wooden chairs are a better choice. Painting or staining wooden chairs is cheap and easy, and gives you the opportunity to match decor. Or, leave them as they are – the wear only adds to the character.
Sounds like a bit of a strange gift, right? But for the friends who are renovating, antique doors can add real charm to a house. Obviously, doors come in a huge range of sizes so you risk the door not fitting properly, or requiring the services of a carpenter to fit it. This is where a gift becomes more of a burden.
If the idea of a door is a little overwhelming, antique door fittings can also make a unique gift. Door knobs, knockers or hinges can add character to any door, and they're reasonably easy to fit. After all, the front door is the first thing you see of someone's house!
Antique mirrors have a distinct warm glow and an interesting history. Early mirrors resembled picture frames with elaborate guilding, often in gold, and were used as focal pieces for a room.
Antique mirror glass is thick and heavy, so one way to identify whether a mirror is antique is to check the thickness of the glass. Hold the tip of a metal key up to the glass to see how closely the reflection of the key tip is to the actual key tip. The closer the tips are to each other, the more likely the mirror is antique.
Large mirrors create the illusion of space in smaller rooms by reflecting natural light for a brighter, open look. But by grouping smaller antique mirrors, hanging on a wall for example, can be a quirky take on hanging pictures or family photos.
Odds 'n ends
From lamp shades to vases, drinks trolleys to trinket boxes, clocks, cupboard handles and corner what-not's, you can buy an antique just-about-anything! Don't think you're restricted to buying big, bulky furniture – if you look around, you’re bound to find that perfect little something for a friend or family member. And you can be almost certain it’s a one of a kind gift.