The advantages of purchasing antiques over modern furniture

Author : William Thomas | Published On : 14 Sep 2021

Antiques do not have to be costly; in fact, you can find some genuine bargains in an auction house - domestic goods that complement your home's decor and style.

Furthermore, even if your initial investment is higher because you choose vintage over modern, you may be able to find a piece that appreciates rather than depreciates in value - more on that later.

Apart from the financial advantages, one of the most compelling arguments for purchasing antique furniture is the positive impact it may have on environmental protection, which is the subject of this blog post.

lowering transportation costs and carbon footprint

According to study commissioned by the International Antiques and Collectors Fairs, a modern (manufactured in China) chest of drawers has a carbon footprint 16 times higher than an antique equivalent every year (IACF).

In comparison to modern-day counterparts, antiques have a lesser carbon footprint, according to the study. The study compares the greenhouse gas emissions produced by the construction and usage of antique chests of drawers to those produced by a modern chest of drawers. It calculates that an antique chest of drawers' combined carbon footprint for manufacturing and shipping is 139.6kg CO2e during a 180-year lifetime. A newly manufactured chest of drawers, on the other hand, has a total carbon footprint of 170.38 kg CO2e over a 15-year lifetime.

On a larger scale, international shipping is thought to account for 3 to 4% of all human-caused carbon emissions. According to a research by the European Parliament, that number might rise to as high as 17% by 2050. As a result, reducing the number of times you buy new furniture and instead opting for older but fully usable furniture - often with a lot more character - is a terrific approach to help the environment.

Buying as an investment vs. throwaway culture

Every year, Britons toss away more than 300,000 tonnes of useable furniture, according to RSA, a waste think tank.

As previously said, the production of new furniture consumes a significant amount of energy. Throwing it away and replacing it with new furniture simply serves to aggravate the problem.

These are just a few examples of how new furniture consumes resources and has a detrimental impact on the environment if the supply chain and manufacturing procedures aren't sustainable:

  • Purchasing and designing products
  • Using raw materials
  • Secondary machining losses due to cutoffs
  • Coating, treating, and spraying products
  • Assembling, packaging, and returns

Consider the environmental impact if more people bought secondhand furniture, upcycled their own or other people's used stuff, and bought for the long haul (to resell at similar or even higher value than the price they bought the furniture for originally).

A modern piece of furniture has an average lifespan of about ten years.

The average age of a sofa is 7-8 years, according to Factotum.

That's fine in and of itself, and we're not claiming that your antique sofa or any other antique furniture will endure 1,000 years without some care and maintenance - but it may gain value, even if it is damaged.

Antique furniture is frequently significantly more robust than modern versions, as it is constructed of solid wood rather than laminated chipboard, making it more long-lasting and less prone to break or be damaged during house transfers and everyday use.

Investing in antique furniture, from seats to a chest of drawers and everything in between - even if it needs a little TLC - makes financial sense since you're more likely to safeguard your investment from depreciation in value.

Antique furniture will always be desirable; modern furniture swiftly depreciates in value.

Antique furniture is consistently among the top three types of Lots we sell at Gorringe's, with enthusiasts clamouring for pieces from every era.

Modern furniture is more likely to become obsolete and remain so. Even if it does come back into style, you'll have already gotten rid of it by then because the current piece has lost its worth. This is in stark contrast to antique furniture, which, even if it falls out of favour, is almost certain to resurface.

One further advantage: no more self-assembly is required.

If none of the foregoing has persuaded you, we'll just leave you with the image below, which should be enough to convince you to visit your local auction house as soon as possible.

Of course, this has nothing to do with environmental issues, but buying antique furniture has another advantage: you don't have to construct it yourself!