Searching for the best online furniture stores is often an exhausting endeavor. Especially for those who want furniture with, well, character, rather than stuff that’s mass produced, plastered all over Pinterest, or could be in every single one of the dozen random catalogues that clog your mailbox even though you swear you never signed up for them. After all, many of us spend years cultivating our personal style via our clothes. Shouldn’t we do the same with our homes?
It used to be that these collectible items were tucked away in antique or art galleries, best sourced by dealers and interior designers. And yes, we’re not going to lie, much of it still is—especially if you’re hunting for something quite rare or expensive. (Look, there’s only so many Faberge eggs in the world, and unless you want to bid on the singular eBay listing that’s 100,000 dollars, you should probably consult a professional.) However, in the past few years, a number of sites have popped up to provide pieces with historical, and artistic, value with the click of a button.
Even better: they offer a range of pricing. Sure, go ahead and splurge on that Togo sofa or Ultrafragola mirror. (It feels like the rest of Instagram has, after all.) But maybe you’re willing to spruce up a vintage Art Nouveau chest that’s lovely, but also needs some love. That’s if you want to buy something at all: some sites have renting, or rent-to-own options.
Below, our guide to the best online furniture stores for collectible, vintage, or one-of-a-kind items—making interior individualism within reach.
“1stDibs basically pushed the antiques business into the 21st century,” wrote The New York Times in 2016. That pretty much sums it up: the e-commerce site, which allows dealers to list their findings online for anyone in the world to buy, is the preeminent place to shop for antiques, objets d’art, and one-of-a-kind furniture. Search by period—ranging from “18th century and earlier” to “1990s.” Or sort by style, which includes everything from “Art Deco” to “Bauhaus” to “Hollywood Regency” to “Mid-century Modern.”
It’s also a fascinating educational tool, thanks to their “iconic designs” curation. Finally learn the origin of Anne Jacobsen’s Egg Chair (you’ll know it when you see it), Paul Henningsen’s Artichoke Lamp, or Studio 65’s Bocca Sofa. (That’s the couch that’s shaped like a pair of lips.)
Chairish has over 480,000 preowned pieces available to peruse on its website—85 percent of which qualify as vintage. Like 1stDibs, they allow you to narrow down your search by picking one of 52 styles. Recently, they asked Moda Operandi founder Lauren Santo Domingo to curate some of her favorite pieces—which included a mid-century ice bucket by Baccarat and plenty of Murano glass.
While covering global furniture retail and manufacturing on Wall Street, Whitney Frances Falk discovered something unsettling. “In my work understanding the economics of a lot of these companies, I discovered that the majority of furniture being produced today was intentionally built to last only a few years on average,” she previously told Vogue. “This was all astounding to me. I remembered heirloom treasures—furniture from my memory was at its core a vastly sustainable practice of use and reuse, of care and researched restoration, and what I was witnessing with some of these behemoth companies was a wasteful—and ultimately desecrating—practice for both people and planet.”