What Are the 2021 Antique & Vintage Trends for Sellers & Decorators?

[UPDATED: 1.14.21]
Hi there! One of the biggest issues antique sellers and decorators face is knowing what’s “in” or what’s “hot” at any given moment. After conducting a fair amount of online research into the issue, I’ve come up with my list of twenty 2021 antique and vintage trends.

In general, vintage and antiques are trending toward small, functional, and nostalgic. Small because millennials (born 1981-96) prefer smaller spaces and are often on the move. Functional because owning something that is solely decorative doesn’t work with “small” and “on the move.”

And finally nostalgic because at some point most of us enter a stage where we find comfort in memories from our childhood, whether it’s a toy, something mom used in the kitchen, or some other item that hits an emotional cord.

So something that touches on all three of these factors–small, functional, and nostalgic–promises to hold enormous interest for buyers, millennials in particular.

Please keep in mind as you read this list that I have purposely focused on items that I expect to sell well for the average vintage and antique dealer. For example, while watches in the $1000-5000 range may be great sellers, the average dealer isn’t handling items in this price range on a regular basis.

Let’s take a look at these 20 items I believe will sell well for us in 2021.

Related Post: 2022 Vintage & Antique Trends

MCM Mushroom Casserole: 2021 Vintage & Antique Trends

See the 15 items from 2020 in this video or skip to the list below:

 

1. Chinoiserie Ceramics & Furniture — on Trend for 2021

blue and white pottery covered jar: a 2020 antique & vintage trendChinoiserie, a fancy term for “Asian-style,” shows up year after year on multiple “hot trend” lists. I suspect this is due in part to the fact that it covers such a broad range of objects.

While you can find Asian-style furniture, wall art, and rugs, dealers with small shops or booths should look for ceramic pieces like this dainty ginger jar. 

Resource: Vintage & Antique Transferware Price Guide

2. Industrial Style Lighting — a Popular Item in 2021

Antiqued Brass Lamps--on the 2020 antique and vintage trend list[Please excuse the poor photo!] I don’t personally sell a large quantity of industrial antiques, but I did pick up this pair of industrial style lamps that I suspected would sell quickly on Facebook Marketplace.

They sold easily a year ago for $50 and the industrial trend promises to remain strong into 2021. Investing in lighting offers a relatively cheap way to add some industrial flare to home decor without breaking the bank.

Related: How to Sell on Facebook Marketplace

3. Farm Tables

Antique Child's Farm Table--an on trend vintage or antique item in 2020Farm tables are another perennial favorite. I sell a few every year myself. I loved this dainty child’s version, which sold for $45 a couple of years ago, but would likely sell for $65-75 in 2021.

Sellers, don’t be turned of by chipping, worn spots, dents, or scratches, because they don’t bother most buyers at all. In fact, they’re considered benefits since they add to the “character” and “charm” of the piece. 

Because the kitchen table often serves as the center of one’s home, going for a well-loved farmhouse-style piece–especially a family heirloom–contributes to the warmth of the room and subtly speaks of longevity in family relationships.

4. Vintage Christmas

vintage christmas display with thermoses, santa, and red truck--vintage Christmas is on trend in 2020The vintage/antique trend for decorating with true vintage and antiques at Christmas will continue into 2021. People just can’t get enough of plaid thermoses, Buddy L trucks, bottle brush trees, Santa-anything, Putz houses, and Shiny Brites.

With vintage Christmas decorations, nostalgia often comes into play because our memories of holidays and the emotions attached to them are often very strong.

We like to have mementos of those sweet times and if none were passed down to us, then we need to buy a few to make us smile throughout the season.

Two hints for sellers: For me, Putz houses sell best on Etsy and mercury glass garlands on eBay. Just sayin’.

Resources: Collecting Vintage Christmas, Vintage Christmas Price Guide

5. Quality Ironstone

antique white ironstone tureen: a 2020 vintage & antique trendHonestly, for as long as I’ve been tracking trends in decorating, antique ironstone has been a staple for decorators.

Its simplicity of form, gleaming surface, and ability to serve as a backdrop to so many other collectibles, make it almost indispensable. Sellers, look for flawless serving pieces in interesting patterns because that’s what buyers will be looking for.

Resources: A Guide to Vintage & Antique Ironstone, A Vintage & Antique Ironstone Price Guide, and  Clean & Care for Antique Ironstone

6. Cutting Boards

vintage bread boards: a 2020 vintage & antique trendI see no end in sight for our fascination with all things cutting boards. We’ve fallen in love with the warm patina of these household necessities and can’t stop decorating with them!

I find that large dough boards, like the one in the very front of this photo, sell the best. Depending upon their size, age, and patina, they go for about $18-40+

I sell quite a few smaller cutting boards, too, along with those in various shapes. Pigs are great sellers and other farm animal shapes do pretty well too.

If your mom or Grandma rolled out pie or cookie dough on an old, well-loved board then chances are you’re going to want to have one like theirs in your possession. 

Resource: Clean & Care for Cutting Boards

7. Garden Related

Table top green house--an antique & vintage 2020 trendWith the strong interest in using one’s outdoor space for entertaining has come an equally strong interest in decorating them attractively. What better, more appropriate source to turn to than vintage and antique gardening supplies?

Think terrariums, like this chippy example, tools both large and small, and interesting statuary. They all remain right on trend, along with succulents and macramรฉ plant hangers, LOL. 

Resource: Collecting Vintage Garden Supplies

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8. Mid-century Modern

Vintage MCM Finland Kaj Franck Mushroom CasseroleSellers, even if you’re not a personal fan of Mid-century Modern (MCM), buy it anyway because it’s been hot for a while and I expect it’s popularity to continue. 

If you live in a part of the country, as I do, where it doesn’t sell well, sell it on eBay because it sells like hotcakes. This casserole, designed by Kaj Franck of Finland, sold for $70 on eBay.

Related: In my latest eBook–What to Sell on eBay–I dive into selling MCM on eBay. In fact, this casserole is in the book! Find out more HERE.

9. Art

Vintage oil painting of fall trees in ornate frame: a 2020 vintage & antique trendBecause I LOVE vintage and antique art, it pleased me to learn that it’s right on trend for 2021. I have a huge stockpile stored in various corners of my house, so this may be the year I am able to sell the majority of it off. Fingers crossed.

This piece is currently in my “private collection,” and hangs in my office, right where I can enjoy it, each and every day.

I find that sellers often undervalue the middle range of art as they are unable to understand its real value. And sometimes an ugly frame will throw off one’s ability to truly experience the art.

As buyers, we  need to learn how to look beyond the ugly frame, right? Look for balance in the composition, colors that compliment each other, and subject matter that’s beautiful and/or interesting.

10. Space Collectibles

vintage brass apollo 11 astronaut commemorative watch fob The anniversary celebration of Apollo 11 in 2019 renewed the public’s interest in space flight. As a result, souvenirs and memorabilia, like this Apollo 11 watch fob (available in my Etsy shop) will continue to hold consumer’s attention into 2021, especially millenials. 

Other space collectibles to watch out for include photographs, patches, pins, drinking glasses, coins, and magazines.

11. Signed Costume Jewelry

vintage gold and pearl Trifari brooch pin I was SO glad to read over and over again that jewelry from known makers like Trifari, Hobe, and Coro will be on trend for 2021. Why am I so happy? Because my sweet husband and I bought a ginormous amount of costume jewelry as an investment and as a way to bless a dear friend.

I’ve found that the best place to sell jewelry so far has been Etsy. Dealers with well-placed cases in antique shops also do extraordinarily well with high quality jewelry.

I’ve added a locked cabinet to my booth space and regularly sell nicer quality pieces, but not as quickly as I sell them on Etsy. 

Resource: A Costume Jewelry Price Guide

12. Vintage Jewelry Presentation Boxes

collection of vintage jewelry presenation box Jewelry presentation boxes did not show up on anybody’s “hot trends” list. I’m including it because, well, I feel like it, LOL. This is after all, my list. So I can put anything I want on it, right?? 

Seriously, I put them on the list because the are selling like hotcakes for me right now and I expect that trend to continue right on through 2021.

Where to sell them? Etsy. What kind to sell? I find all vintage and antique examples to be sought after but some more than others. 

Antique velvet boxes with mother-of-pearl or brass button openers on the front sell for $15-50+ depending upon size and condition. Leather examples would go for even more and cardboard ones I tend to group together and sell for $10-15 a bundle.

Resource: A Guide to Vintage & Antique Jewelry Presentation Boxes

plastic ivory and blue ring presentation boxThis example, made of early plastic with blue stained floral design, sold recently on Etsy for $27.

13. Vintage Barware

set of six vintage cocktail glasses on a gold tray--on trend for 2020Vintage barware has been hot for several years and people continue to enjoy setting up bar carts and bar areas in their homes. Look for shakers, cocktail glasses (like these 1960’s glasses with funky leaf designs), and glass swizzle sticks.

14. 1980’s Toys

vintage 1980's transform figure toyLike each generation before it, Gen Xers and millennials look for and buy toys they played with during their childhood.

Whether to enjoy as a collectible or to gift to their own children, they will scoop up vintage gaming systems like those by Atari and Nintendo, along with iconic toys like transformers, Mutant Ninja Turtles, and Star Wars figures. This transformer, known as Voltron Dairugger XV and dating to 1984, sold on eBay for $11.55 in 2017. 

15. Bakelite 

vintage Bakelite Red-beaded necklace/chokerBakelite is a perennial favorite that never seems to go off the “hot trends” list. This beautiful early plastic comes in delightfully cheerful colors and is wonderfully weighty in your hand. There’s nothing quite like the sound of a bunch of vintage Bakelite bangle bracelets happily clacking together.

Look for jewelry, knobs on furniture and housewares, napkin rings, and radios. My grandmother had several Scottie dog napkin ring holders and I’d love to own a set someday. That would make them a “small, functional, nostalgic” winner ๐Ÿ™‚

Resource: A Guide to Collecting Vintage Bakelite

16. Canning Jars

Collection of vintage canning jarsLong before they became popular with farmhouse style decorators, the humble canning jar had found a place in the heart of some very serious collectors. 

Whether weโ€™re talking about clear glass Atlas jars ($10) or rare upside down jars ($1000), the market for fruit jars is strong. I sell at least a dozen or so from my antique booth every year.

Aqua and other colored jars are sought after as well as those by companies whose production was limited, like โ€œBeaverโ€ and โ€œColumbus.โ€ 

Resources: A Guide to Vintage & Antique Canning Jars & A Vintage & Antique Canning Jar Price Guide

17. Perfume

Vintage Cinnabar PerfumeIt surprises many people that vintage perfume, as well as empty bottles of perfume, are quite sought after by collectors. 

Some, upset with a change in their perfumeโ€™s chemical makeup, are in constant search of the โ€œoldโ€ formulas they originally fell in love with. In other cases their favorite scent has been discontinued, or it may be that the bottle itself is beautiful and therefore collectible.

Some names to look for: Chanel No. 5, Cinnabar (Estee Lauder), Quelque Fleurs (Houbigant), and Muguet des Bois (Coty). Try selling them on eBay and Etsy.

Resources: My Vintage Perfume YouTube Video &  Vintage Perfumes Hold Their Allure

18. Cook Books

Collection of vintage cook booksThis category may seem to โ€œhomelyโ€ to make it to the top 20 but mine is a practical list: items that are popular and sell well. I sell large numbers of cook books for between $8 and $30, the more common through my antique booth and the rarer on eBay.

Iโ€™m always on the lookout for the holy grail of cook books: a 1st edition copy of Julia Childsโ€™ Mastering the Art of French Cooking, worth upwards of $5000(!)

Decorators look for books with attractive covers, like the red gingham Better Home & Gardens and those with plaid designs. In addition, I always pick up books related to cooking game because I live in an area where hunting is popular.

Donโ€™t overlook cooking pamphlets, like early Pillsbury contest winners, regional examples (Amish, New England, and Adirondacks for me), as well as unusual international examples written in English, like Danish or Polish pamphlets.

Resources: A Guide to Vintage & Antique Cook Books Part I, Part II, & A Vintage & Antique Cook Book Price Guide

19. Clothing

vintage fur hatVintage clothing is hot, hot, hot! While itโ€™s not the focus of my business, which is primarily farmhouse style and costume jewelry, I have successfully sold numerous pieces of clothing and related accessories, including Pendleton skirts and jackets, Nordic sweaters, Vera scarves, and buffalo plaid hunting coats and pants.

Resource: Vintage Fashion Guild

20. Automobilia/Petrolina

Barn with antique signs hangingMen in particular are crazy for collectibles related to cars. Iโ€™m certain the show, American Pickers only added to the craze. Iโ€™ve had good success selling parts of old cars bearing the car brand, for example, a long front bumper accent from a Chevrolet for $40 not too long ago.

Keep your eye out for metal signs, oil cans, license plates, and hood ornaments to mention just a few of the items that collectors look for.

Resource: Automobilia Resource

So that’s my take on the hot vintage and antique trends for 2021. What’s your feeling? Agree? Disagree? Did I fail to mention something I should have? 

Happy hunting in 2021 friends!

Thanks so much for stopping by–

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Bye for now,

Diana

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VINTAGE TRENDS: What you need to know about 2021's vintage and antique trends

 

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43 Comments

  1. I think this is a great and comprehensive list! Chinoiserie is the number one item I sell (when I can bear to part with it). MCM does not seem to sell where I live (in SW Ontario) so I may give it a try online. Large, often footed, silver trays seems to sell well for me in the $50-60 range.

    1. Thank you Karin! So great to get confirmation on Chinoiserie. Yes, MCM does best for me on eBay, not in my antique booth. Interesting to hear about the silver trays–unfortunately, silver plate does not sell well for me at all. Good luck to you in the New Year!

  2. Hi Diana. Great post! Very useful information for my brick and mortar and EBay side hustle.
    Would you mind elaborating on the art section? Specifically what sells best and in what price range? Prints, oils, etchings, watercolors? Under 20? 20-40? 50-100?
    Thanks so much! Whenever I see your columns on my email list I always read them before anything else!

    1. Thank you Elyse! I’m so glad you’re enjoying my blog–that really blesses me ๐Ÿ™‚

      I wish I could be more specific about the art category. I based my predictions on a combination of many factors. I read over and over again that people are turning to vintage and antique art and their beautiful frames to decorate with. This should translate into more sales for us, right?

      But we have to factor in who our clientele is based on where we live in the country and are we rural, city, or suburban? This is one we’re just going to have to experiment with and hope for the best. If I had to guess, I’m going to say for the average small shop or dealer shop that original oil paintings in the $50-100 range might be the best place to start out with.

  3. Thank you Diana for helping me refine my purchasing of vintage – I know you put a lot of thought and research into this post. I know your guidance will help me be successful in 2020!

    1. I’m so glad I can be of some help to you. I’m so blessed by your help with moderating in our FB group, so it makes me feel good to be able to return the favor ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. Loved your list; thank you for all your hard work and research that went into it! Slowly going into yard sale season withdrawal–here in Maine, it’ll be a LONG time before it comes. Doing housework instead of hitting GW today–is HARD!

    1. You’re so welcome, Kathy! I’m proud of you for exercising so much self-control, LOL. Housework vs. thrifting is a pretty hard sell…

  5. Thank you Diana for your post. I read about restoring chopping boards as I have several I just picked up. I do have a question about vintage fabric being scorched. I have several vintage dresses that appear to have rust on them. Any fix for that? Thank you.

    1. I’m so glad you enjoyed the post, Nancy ๐Ÿ™‚ Good luck with your cutting boards–do let me know how it goes. As far as rust on vintage clothing, I would give try dabbing it with peroxide and setting it out in the sun to see if that takes care of it. You could try that a few times. (Some people swear by putting the items on grass to while sitting in the sun.)

      If that doesn’t work, I’d soak it in a product like Oxiclean and see how that works. Again–let me know how it goes!

  6. Thanks, Diana, for your time in researching for this post. Just about everything on it appeals to me. The question is does it appeal because it’s trending or because I’ve always liked vintage? I choose the latter!

    Now one thing I don’t quite get is the popularity of vintage jewelry presentation boxes. Do people reuse them for jewelry or just like them as articles from the past. I wonder if I have any. Probably do—I haven’t looked through all my jewelry recently. I guess I should as I might have something super-valuable. Trouble is, if I did, I probably couldn’t bear to part with it!

    I like your blurb about vintage and antique artwork. I am always finding pieces that I like even though it might not be “great art”. Of course I have so many pieces of art that I have no wall space on which to hang that I always try to curb my passion for “just one more piece.” I’m sure you know what I mean by your mention of your own stash!

    Thanks again for this post–they are always full of good information and fun to read.

    1. So glad you’re right on trend Naomi ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚ I think the jewelry presentation boxes are popular because they bring jewelry gifts up to the “next level” i.e., they’re great for gift-giving. Also, dealers like to use them for display. That’s my best guess anyway.

      You are completely right, I DO understand about “just one more piece” of vintage artwork. It’s just SO darn hard to pass up. (Glad you’re on my side!) Happy hunting friend ๐Ÿ™‚

  7. Loved reading about your up-to-date research! Some things surprised me, like vintage jewelry boxes. I already collect a number of things on your list, but mostly to keep lol Thanks for sharing at Vintage Charm.

  8. Thanks so much Diana for this post! It’s fun to read about all the vintage items that are selling well in your business. Your expertise is always helpful!

    1. Hi Dana! Sorry for the late response — I just stumbled across your comment ๐Ÿ™‚ You’re very welcome; I really enjoyed researching and writing this post a lot. I’m so glad you enjoyed it–

  9. Thank you for your great information about vintage items. I have a question about vintage dinnerware. I have a few sets of dinnerware from circa WWII one of which was purchased in Europe and sent to the US. Are things like that selling?

    1. Your welcome Linda ๐Ÿ™‚ Vintage dinnerware is generally not selling well at the moment but it depends on the quality, the manufacturer, and the pattern. Feel free to join my Facebook group (Your Vintage Headquarters) and post some photos. Members will happily give you feedback on your set and help you determine its value, if possible.

  10. Hi, Diana,

    I am having trouble getting any interest in my costume jewelry, which I have priced based on the low end of ebay. I have an open display box of $5-$40 items and two velvet-lined trays in a locked display case with items priced $20-$150. It’s an eclectic collection, from unsigned Art Deco pieces to signed 1970s Mexican items. How do you display your pieces in your booth? Any other suggestions?

    1. Hi Stacy, I have most of the jewelry I have for sale in a lighted and locked china cabinet in my booth. But jewelry sells much better and faster for me on Etsy, have you given that a try? I highly recommend selling in multiple venues if you’re hoping to increase your income ๐Ÿ™‚

      1. Thanks, Diana. Iโ€™m going to try that, maybe after taking your Etsy workshop. Iโ€™ve also been wondering about Mercari and Poshmark for online sales.

  11. Hi Diane
    Youโ€™re such a blessing ! Thank you for your list. I donโ€™t have a booth anymore but when I did, it seemed like what was โ€œhotโ€ one season, nine months later, it wasnโ€™t! So itโ€™s really nice for someone to put a list together to work from. Good luck to us all in all of our selling venues! God bless!

    1. You’re so very welcome Cheryl! Thanks for taking the time to write such an encouraging note ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚

  12. Hello my sweet mentor! I finally got to read this! The only thing I can think of that can be added is anything Gold or sterling Silver! Even 10k stuff is being bought up quickly!
    Love your list!
    Love that you keep it practical too!

    1. Hi Darla! I’m glad you got the chance to check out the post ๐Ÿ™‚ Thanks for chiming in with a great tip!!

  13. Thank you for the latest input! My booth does well with old framed pictures (I clean them up, re-do the hanging hardware, and stain or paint the frames if they are too far gone.), footstools, stained glass and kids items such as old toys and vintage puzzles.

    1. You’re welcome Diane! I’m an art lover too but unfortunately it doesn’t sell as quickly from my booth as I would like. I’ve had some great success though selling it on Facebook Marketplace, which was a surprise ๐Ÿ™‚ Love your other suggestions, too–thanks for the input!

  14. I absolutely love the art piece above that hangs in your office! I have a good many old brooches we used in decorating tables for my motherโ€™s 90th birthday celebration that I wish I could sell to someone.

  15. Hi ! I am loving your blog, what a great wealth of information especially for a beginner like me!๐Ÿ˜‰
    What kind of things do men tend to look for at antique stores and could you blog about how you organize and inventory your stock?
    Thank so much!!!

    1. Aww, thanks for the very kind comments Anita! Men look for all sorts of things: military, guns, knives, old bottles, slide rules, tools, metal advertising signs, license plates, car-related items, decoys, and more ๐Ÿ™‚

      I don’t have much of an organizational scheme, unfortunately. I try to get items inventoried and into the system (listed online or brought to my booth) ASAP. Overflow is stored haphazardly in my garage, LOL. I inventory by year, e.g., this year’s tags start with 21-1, 21-2, 21-3, etc. I’ll add the topic to my list of ideas!

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