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Vintage décor on a dime – Gen Z get the retro look for less

4 min read
1 Sep 2021

Young Australians buying antiques on a budget have taken their treasure hunt online this year, as bigger households seek to clear old junk.

Figures obtained by Compare the Market show Facebook Marketplace listings increased 19% last year, up from 2019, spurred by the pandemic fuelled declutter frenzy.

To date there have been more than 1.4 million vintage items listed on the Australian Marketplace, with the majority (65%) being either antique or collectable items, furniture or household items like home decor.

Compare the Market spokesperson Simon Downes said the trend was no surprise in a year where car boot sales were cancelled, and local councils put kerbside collections on hiatus.

“Classifieds have helped cure our covid clutter, with thousands of buyers taking advantage of cheap second-hand deals in-between lockdowns,” Mr Downes said.

“Vintage items have been particularly popular with young people looking to furnish their house on a budget, without sacrificing style. Buyers aren’t snobby about a few marks or tears – they’re hunting for eclectic items with a past-life to share.”

A browse on 9 August found Sydney sellers giving away armchairs, cabinetry, suitcases, a piano and even a ‘vintage’ hills hoist.

In Victoria, sellers were flogging a brass oil lamp for $40, an old kodak camera for $50 and a fibre glass mannequin for $75. Boardgames, books figurines and decor from lamps, to vases and even a vintage radio were listed for free.

In Brisbane, pricier listings included an art deco dresser ($80) two pink shell chairs ($220), and a caravan from the 50s ($8,500).

Lucy Harris, 24, of Annerley bought most of her furnishings on Facebook Marketplace after moving out of her family home last year. Her bargain buys include a wooden desk ($80) a vintage banker’s lamp ($60) as well as plants and art prints ($5-$30).

Splitting the cost with her housemates, she’s also bought a set of couches ($200) and a chicken coop ($150).

“I have a plethora of Marketplace goodies. People tend to sell things cheaply, because they’re in a rush to move houses, or feel desperate to free up space in their home,” Ms Harris sad. “Most people are looking for a deal – others are willing to pay a lot of money for well-kept, rare items.”

Users must continue to follow local restrictions around lockdowns and social distancing while trading during the pandemic. Sellers are also encouraged to clean and disinfect items where possible.

have helped cure our covid clutter, with thousands of buyers taking advantage of cheap second-hand deals in-between lockdowns,” Mr Downes said.

“Vintage items have been particularly popular with young people looking to furnish their house on a budget, without sacrificing style. Buyers aren’t snobby about a few marks or tears – they’re hunting for eclectic items with a past-life to share.”

A browse on 9 August found Sydney sellers giving away armchairs, cabinetry, suitcases, a piano and even a ‘vintage’ hills hoist.

In Victoria, sellers were flogging a brass oil lamp for $40, an old kodak camera for $50 and a fibre glass mannequin for $75. Boardgames, books figurines and decor from lamps, to vases and even a vintage radio were listed for free.

In Brisbane, pricier listings included an art deco dresser ($80) two pink shell chairs ($220), and a caravan from the 50s ($8,500).

Lucy Harris, 24, of Annerley bought most of her furnishings on Facebook Marketplace after moving out of her family home last year. Her bargain buys include a wooden desk ($80) a vintage banker’s lamp ($60) as well as plants and art prints ($5-$30).

Splitting the cost with her housemates, she’s also bought a set of couches ($200) and a chicken coop ($150).

“I have a plethora of Marketplace goodies. People tend to sell things cheaply, because they’re in a rush to move houses, or feel desperate to free up space in their home,” Ms Harris sad. “Most people are looking for a deal – others are willing to pay a lot of money for well-kept, rare items.”

Users must continue to follow local restrictions around lockdowns and social distancing while trading during the pandemic. Sellers are also encouraged to clean and disinfect items where possible.

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avatar of author: Sarah Orr

Written by Sarah Orr

Sarah is an avid storyteller, passionate about improving financial literacy and helping Australians make informed choices with their money. Outside the newsroom, she enjoys cycling around Brisbane and snapping scenery on her camera.

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