We combed through the hundreds of second-hand shops on Instagram so you don’t have to. Instagram is full of furniture resellers, frequenters of estate auctions, and antique shops shilling random bits and bobs. But, there are also a plethora of beautifully curated resellers and [furniture] treasure hunters who sell the best of the best mid-century and vintage pieces that are worth the follow. We as South Africans are so lucky to have some many resellers who do the hard part: Hunting down beautiful furniture, cleaning it up or reupholstering so we can enjoy beautiful and quality pieces years after their original production. It is also an approachable avenue to tip your toes into the world of bespoke furniture because anything can be reupholstered for a fraction of the cost of a brand new couch (and it is sure to be superior quality).
The Space Agency, Cape Town
One of the first mid-century modern Instagram accounts, the Space Agency specialises in selling post-war to post-modern (1950s-1990s) furniture, homeware and art found in and round Cape Town. You are sure to find vintage Kartell pieces, Eames chairs, and gorgeous wood pieces from Danish designers liked Svend Aage Madsen. The best part about buying vintage furniture, specifically wood furniture is the quality of the sturdy wood that you can get for your buck. It is a widely known fact among thrifters to buy vintage wood for the best quality wooden pieces like dining chairs, coffee tables, and dining tables.
Urban Auctions, Johannesburg
One of the best parts about checking Instagram for mid-century modern pieces is the overlap between the former and Bohemian aesthetics, as both lean on dark or light natural materials as the base for their unique colour palettes. For example, both mid-century modern furniture and bohemian interior designs love cane furniture and cesca chairs. The mid century modern colours may lean more neutral and dark, whereas bohemian tones are more jeweled hues of blue and purple. Every now and then, you can find hidden gems of this kind on Urban Auctions, who showcase local pre-loved and refurbished furniture in Johannesburg. It is definitely worth setting up notifications for them so you don’t miss any new, fantastic pieces.
Amphora Studio, Johannesburg
Amphora Studio is a great source on Instagram for larger pieces of furniture like full sets of dining chairs, consoles, couches, or drink servers. They’re also beautifully styled to inform you on the kind space it has the opportunity to occupy in your home. These kinds of pieces are great to pick up second hand because they typically have a lot of storage space throughout the shelves, cupboards and drawers, plus they tend to feature beautiful brass handles, which will patina over time. You can also replace to handles and knobs with new ones too.
Retropolitan Home & Living, Centurion
Not only is vintage furniture beautiful, but the smaller objects and bric-a-brac are too! Shopping for smaller pieces like plates, bowls, vases, and whimsical objects is often more affordable than buying similar (and of cheaper quality) brand new pieces from retail stores. A pro tip for searching through Instagram accounts like Retropolitan Home & Living, keep an eye out for crystal pieces and sets because these are classic and will elevate any meal or beverage!