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
See the 15 items from 2020 in this video or skip to the list below:
1. Chinoiserie Ceramics & Furniture — on Trend for 2021
Chinoiserie, 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.
2. Industrial Style Lighting — a Popular Item in 2021
[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
Farm 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
The 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’.
5. Quality Ironstone
Honestly, 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.
6. Cutting Boards
I 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
With 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 macramé plant hangers, LOL.
Resource: Collecting Vintage Garden Supplies
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8. Mid-century Modern
Sellers, 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.
Because 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
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
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
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.
This example, made of early plastic with blue stained floral design, sold recently on Etsy for $27.
13. Vintage Barware
Vintage 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
Like 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.
Bakelite 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 🙂
Resource: A Guide to Collecting Vintage Bakelite
16. Canning Jars
Long 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 we’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 “Beaver” and “Columbus.”
It 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 perfume’s chemical makeup, are in constant search of the “old” 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.
18. Cook Books
This category may seem to “homely” 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.
I’m always on the lookout for the holy grail of cook books: a 1st edition copy of Julia Childs’ 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.
Don’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.
Vintage clothing is hot, hot, hot! While it’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
Men in particular are crazy for collectibles related to cars. I’m certain the show, American Pickers only added to the craze. I’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!
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