Online antiques shopping has grown in Australia. In addition to pre-existing online second-hand boutiques, as well as marketplaces like eBay, Etsy and Gumtree, Instagram has made a big move in the online marketplace. An account driven by an appreciative eye for design and style then leading to curated collections of pre-loved pieces now available for sale has given us another avenue to buy second-hand furniture. Add a keen following of fellow interiors aficionados and online antiques shopping has us now bidding on and purchasing pieces for our homes through our social media channels. Here are some of the best online spots to find a past treasure to suit your home.
It was only back in 2017, that Pip Newell posted the first Instagram image on her fledgling second-hand furniture side hustle. Having a knack for being able to source pre-loved pieces, starting an online antiques venture was a natural next step for Newell. She has now found 1000 (and counting) furniture items new homes, working with over 20 selling partners across Australia to find bouclé upholstered sofas, travertine and marble coffee tables and rattan bentwood chairs.
What we have our eye on: Cesca chairs by Marcel Breuer
One of the must-visit shop fronts on the main Smith Street stretch of Fitzroy, Modern Times specialises in all things mid-century furniture and its website presents all these treasures in as clean, artful and informative a manner as if you were in the boutique. Among the selection of art and curios, this online antiques marketplace also offers beautifully crafted timber sideboards, shapely sofas and sculptural lamps.
What we have our eye on: 1970s Model 595 Sesann Armchair by Gianfranco Frattini for Cassina
Covetable furniture pieces and accessories hailing from Europe, particularly from the Italian 20th-century era, are the name of the game at this Fitzroy furniture mainstay. The online antiques offering from Castorina & Co. consists of original and restored pieces with bold statement-making features, whether it’s the pony leather upholstery of ‘Monk’ chairs designed by Afra and Tobia Scarpa or the much-coveted and lauded curves of the innovative Camaleonda sofa by Mario Bellini for B&B Italia. If you’re after mid-to-late 20th-century Italian design icons, Castorina & Co. is the hot ticket to this confident style.
What we have our eye on: Togo 3-seater sofa by Michel Ducaroy for Ligne Roset
Sutherland Shire-based connoisseur of pre-loved style, Yvonne Starr, has built a keen following via her Instagram online antiques spot, Ukitu. With every piece having to pass her exacting eye, Starr’s selection of pieces are available for sale directly through Instagram in limited drops. Vintage glassware, rattan accessories and furniture items fitting in a relaxed yet refined contemporary style are the name of the game here. But be quick - limited drops mean covetable pieces get snapped up at warp speed.
What we had our eye on: Watercolour Jug with Glasses
This Collingwood-based retailer and appreciator of 20th-century design has a particular focus on Danish design treasures, although you’ll also find pieces from Italy as well. Currently, there’s an incredible Willy Rizzo coffee table that could suit the high-glamour Hollywood Regency look American designer Kelly Wearstler is renowned for. Expect mid-to-late 20th-century timber chairs with sheepskin, teak veneer bedsides and elegant metal lamps at this online antiques dealer.
What we have our eye on: Cylindrical Base and Terrazzo Stone Coffee Table
For more traditional styles – think Louis XV, 18th-century Spanish, Art Deco, Murano glass – it’s hard to go past the majestic wares at The Vault Sydney. Although the warehouse home of these found treasures is in Sydney’s Rosebery, the catalogue of pieces featured through the online antiques space courtesy of partners Phoebe Nicol and Jeremy Bowker is decadent, glamorous and ornate. Gilt mirrors and armchairs, timber armoires and delicate iron and glass chandeliers are aplenty at this particular vault.
What we have our eye on: Antique Louis XIII Style Armchair
With two outlets, one in Surry Hills and the other in Bangalow, Vampt has long specialised in mid-century design from around the world. The showrooms are veritable treasure troves but in its online antiques marketplace, you’ll find the big names of the period: Charles and Ray Eames, Arne Jacobsen, Verner Panton and Hans Wegner to name a few. Local design heroes Parker furniture and Grant Featherston also feature if you want to treat your home to a historical Australian artifact of ground-breaking style.
What we have our eye on: Featherston B230 chair
Another direct-to-purchase Instagram account with a fervent following is Melbourne-based Good Space. The brainchild of “best friends, housemates and solo mamas” Holly and Steph, this online antiques forum is the place to go for a feature chair. There are also timber tallboys and bed frames on offer, too, but the selection of comfy seats is second to none. From an Ercol lounge to velvet upholstered armchairs, sitting pretty comes easy with Good Space.
What we had our eye on: Ercol 355 Studio Lounge
Online shopping has delved into the antiques, second-hand and pre-loved furniture world with Instagram accounts now serving as virtual shopfronts. No matter what style or design era you love, you’re sure to find a vintage piece to love in this selection of online treasure troves. Looking for more pre-loved style? Take a look at our guide to second-hand stores in Sydney.