How to Shop Vintage in the SF Bay Area

From Margaret Everton on April 30, 2010 in San Francisco

Vintage stores may be bursting with tacky knickknacks and aged furniture, but to the trained eye these goods are actually design treasures. Finding potential in pieces that seem unsalvageable is tricky, we know. Thankfully, designer Chloe Warner has some tips to help.

#1 – Sleep on it

san francisco vintage furniture

Vintage store shopping can be extremely overwhelming. In order to avoid making purchases on a whim that won’t fit your space, take a camera with you to photograph the items that catch your eye. At the end of the day, you can make an educated decision as to which pieces are worth a second trip.

#2 – Paint over the yuck

Rusty ugly-oldness got you down? It’s amazing how much an item can be changed with something as simple as a coat of paint. Don’t discount a great find just because it looks dirty or outdated.

#3 – Know where to shop!

If finding that perfect store is where your problem lies, Warner has some suggestions in that arena as well. Here are some fabulous stores smack-dab in the San Francisco Bay area:

Past Perfect

san francisco vintage past perfect

Inspiration comes easy in this Marina vintage shop with a Parisian flea-market feel. Warner uses this as her go-to store for larger items, like gold screens or wood-framed mirrors. And of course, everything from the brass trunks to their black-and-white silhouette prints have character enough to spare. 2246 Lombard St., San Francisco

Janakos & Company

If modern is more your style, then this family-owned shop has got you covered. They have countless one-of-a-kind pieces, from the white-leather-and-chrome chairs in Charlie’s Angels to a 1970’s Lucite globe chandelier. Talk about conversation pieces. 1001 California Dr., Burlingame

Leftovers Outpost

san francisco vintage leftovers

Sometimes all a room needs is a few interesting accessories, and for those times, Leftovers Outpost offers uniqueness at reasonable prices. Warner suggests spending ample time browsing in order to find the best of the best, but it’s all well worth it. 1259 Polk St., San Francisco

Retro @ Home

Who said the 60’s were dead? This store, headed by interior designer Val Perez-Ibardolasa, has some great finds from milk-glass art to Danish modern sofas. Warner likens it to the set of Mad Men, so clearly it’s worth a peek. 3811 San Pablo Ave., Emeryville

Photo Credit: DC Traveler & Yelp

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