clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Style Star Mandana Dayani's Dos and Dont's of Shopping For Vintage Home Goods

Racked is no longer publishing. Thank you to everyone who read our work over the years. The archives will remain available here; for new stories, head over to, where our staff is covering consumer culture for The Goods by Vox. You can also see what we’re up to by signing up here.

We first fell in love with Mandana Dayani back in 2013, when the then-Rachel Zoe VP offered some sound advice on how to avoid becoming a diva in the workplace: "Check your ego at the door. It's so good to listen to people and to take that in and develop your filter."

Years later and equipped with a fresh new gig, we're pleased to see that Dayani is still not a diva, even though she's a serious decision-maker at a game-changing company. Earlier this year, the LA-based talent was named Chief Brand Officer at Everything But The House, a Cincinnati-based startup that is home to more than 100 estate and consignment sales per month, which all take place directly on its site. (Translation: it's a crazy-convenient service.)

Although we'll def be shopping EBTH from the comfort of our homes this holiday season, we still occasionally enjoy the process of perusing vintage home goods IRL. (Dayani does too, and she counts Amsterdam Modern, Midcentury LA, Wertz Brothers, The Mart Collective, Sunbeam Vintage, Shopclass, Big Daddy's Antiques, Salvare, and Motley as her go-to local stores.) Here, the brunette boss reveals her foolproof strategy for shopping retro decor.



● Inquire about the age. "Vintage" usually describes furniture that's more than 30-40 years old, whereas "antiques" are typically defined as pieces that date back at least 100 years. These definitions affect the value, so do your research.

Look at wear and tear as a good sign. While some shoppers may shy away from items described as "gently used,"  those imperfections are what add character and value to a piece. Embrace them!

Negotiate. Negotiate for a good price, but don't forget your manners! Strike up a friendly conversation with the vendor, ask them some questions about the piece, and then consider starting negotiations with: "So, what's the best you can do?" The more they like you, the more they'll be willing to come to an agreement.

Shop often. It can take days of shopping and multiple trips to the same store to find that perfect vintage piece. Visit your favorite shops and sellers regularly to ensure you're getting the freshest finds.

Inspect carefully. You may love the way a piece looks, but is it functional? This is a very different approach for me than I took with fashion (I totally thought 7 inch heels were practical). Pull dresser drawers out, plug in lamps, extend dining tables, and fully inspect anything before you buy it.


● Buy from a stranger. There are a lot of great vendors out there, but sadly there are also  those that will try to rip you off and sell you a piece of junk. Use reputable and trustworthy sellers like Everything But The House so you know you are getting authentic items as well as great prices.

Assume colors will match. Having swatches in hand while shopping will help you find vintage pieces that match what you already have. That way you'll know right away if that vintage rug clashes with your sofa.

Buy on impulse. It's easy to justify purchasing a piece every time you turn a corner, but try to only buy items you know you will treasure for a long time. They  could be a  part of your collection for years, and even passed down from generation to generation. Make sure you really love them.

● Let other people tell you what looks good. Don't follow fads and trends when hunting for vintage. Consult experts and do your research on prices and value, but trust your gut on whether it's the right piece for you.

Be afraid to make changes. One of the biggest advantages of buying vintage is that it's easy to repurpose. You'll be amazed at how much a paint job, reupholstering, or refinishing can transform furniture.