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Our Favorite Vintage Shops - Chicago and Suburbs

At KMI, we love to add layers to a space with vintage items in all our projects. From reupholstery to decor, this is our favorite way to add instant patina to your space while aligning with our reduce and reuse core value. If you don't happen to have an inherited collection of amazingness or an old barn chock full of treasures just lying around, hunting through vintage shops is a great way to collect interesting items over time. We listed a few of our favorite things to source recently in House Beautiful and are always on the hunt for funky and storied items to incorporate into client projects.

Can you find all the vintage in this cozy study? A vintage mantel was the inspiration for the fireplace and we sourced lighting, artwork, decor, and furnishings to complete the room..

Chicago Shops

Vintage shops come in a wide variety, from completely disorganized, to curated and styled. We love them all, as they each offer a different way of viewing items. We recommend starting with the more curated collections if you're new to vintage sourcing. These will help you see new ways of utilizing items for decor as well as the potential in upholstered pieces, as the vendors in each space tend to style things rather than just piling them on tables. We like to search for interesting shapes and textures when looking for shelf and table decor. When looking for furnishings we pay close attention to structural stability and framing. A few scratches or bits of wear aren't a deal breaker, because they add additional texture to a space and provide contrast. And let's face it, even your new items aren't going to stay in perfect condition. Homes are for living.

Artwork and pottery add personality. Here we used a combination of the client's own collection with vintage pieces to personalize the space, adding depth and interest.

Our favorite local curated shops include House 15, Warehouse 55, and Vintage Grindhouse. Follow their Instagram feeds for the latest deals, as items often move quickly, and be sure to check out both Warehouse 55 locations, as the city spot has a very different vibe than the Aurora warehouse. All of these offer online orders and shipping for some items.

If you are looking for a bit more pedigree to your vintage, then don't forget to stop by these favorites.

  • Urban Remains - the shop is gorgeous and always changing. Don't skip the Majolica tile.

  • Scout Design - filled with modern classics, along with gorgeous art and lighting.

  • South Loop Loft - constantly changing with a focus on 20th century items.

  • Architectural Artifacts - unfortunately the store has left Chicago for Texas, but you can still look online or take a trip to Round Top.

  • Old Plank Antiques - a selection of gorgeous farm tables along with many French pieces.

  • Brownstone Antiques and Anderson Antiques - these are classic city vintage shops with a range of items.

Flea Markets, Salvage, and Estate Sales

For those who are all about the hunt, Kane County Flea in the summer months can't be beat. For year-round hunting, Thrift and Dollar in Aurora is always worth a visit. For both make sure you've got your measurements for any furnishings and prepare to spend some time sorting through items.

For unique items, as well as reclaimed lumber and renovation materials, salvage stores are a goldmine. Local gems include Reuse Depot, the Rebuilding Exchange, and Salvage One.

Kitchens are a great place to add some vintage pieces for interest. Here a vintage mold mixes with jugs and cutting boards in a blend of utility and art. And no, they are not constantly covered in grime as these shelves are located away from the cooktop.

Online Resources

If you prefer your hunt with a dash of SEO, there are many great online resources. If you need a little help narrowing things, make a list of keywords. Many of these will let you save searches and send notifications if they find new items that fit your terms. Pay attention to shipping as well, as some sites require the buyer to arrange shipping which can add greatly to cost.

  • Facebook Marketplace has become a go-to source, with great keyword and location sorting

  • Etsy has a huge range of items, although you must do your research to ensure they are authentic. A great resource for rugs and fabric, as well as furnishings using reclaimed wood.

  • Chairish and 1st Dibs have a range of offerings and are easily sorted by keyword and location

  • Everything but the house sells, as the name purports, absolutely everything but the house.

  • - definitely a hunt through site, but if you have patience and know what you are looking for there are treasures to be found.

That's our list. When shopping vintage our biggest tip is to bring your imagination and take the opportunity to look at things differently. It's a great way to see how different styles mix together and to pick up a few things you might not have thought of when browsing traditional retail. Plus you're keeping things out of the landfill and avoiding trends and the "fast fashion" impact of decor.


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