Ten Reasons To Buy Brown Furniture Today

“What’s It Worth” Antique Minute

November 2, 2018

The term “brown furniture” is often described as “grandmother’s antique furniture.” “Brown is down” has been the mantra for the past decade in this post 2008-09 market. The interest has slowed to a trickle among multiple generations, notably the young, and as an increasing amount of brown furniture has been sold by my generation, value has plummeted like a rock in water.
But there have been signs that this decline may be bottoming out, which means that, if you like it, today may be the best time to buy “brown furniture” in the past half-century. Here are 10 reasons you may want to consider buying opportunities in “brown” today.
1. It’s cheap and often affordable.
2. It’s durable and will last nearly forever.
3. It’s functional and adaptable to today’s smaller living spaces. For example, drop leaf tables require less space, while lift-top chests and flat top trunks can double as coffee tables.
4. There are many different styles to chose from, including country, empire, Victorian-era styles, cottage, depression era, to name a couple.
5. There are many different beautiful woods to choose from including cherry, mahogany, walnut, oak, and maple.
6. Most of the styles have withstood the test of time and have appealed to people for generations.
7. If you must, you can re-purpose it. Older wardrobes can be converted to entertainment centers, and newer entertainment centers can be converted to cabinets or other storage.
8. Formal dining rooms may presently be a thing of the past, but people will always need a bedroom set.
9. Most brown furniture is undervalued today, and the best-of-the-best is totally undervalued, leaving room for resale profit at some future point.
10. In my opinion, value will eventually return. The temporary appeal of Mid-Century Modern can’t last forever, so what comes after that? We’ll very likely revert back to the traditional styles.
If you prefer low quality Ikea furniture, then brown furniture may never be right for you. But, if it appeals to you, and if you’re seeking long-term value, then go to an auction, multi-dealer co-op, show, or tag sale, and buy something that has personality and will last a lifetime--for very little money.
What’s it worth? Recently at a very reputable auction house, we saw a Pennsylvania House cherry dining room set, with extension table, eight chairs, hutch, and sideboard, in immaculate condition, sell for a total of $325. After commissions and delivery expense, the consignor netted less than $200. A shame for the seller; a true bargain for the buyer.

Mike Ivankovich is an auctioneer, appraiser, home downsizing expert, and host of the "What's It Worth? Ask Mike the Appraiser" radio show that airs live on Friday mornings from 9 to 10 a.m. on WBCB 1490 AM in the greater Philadelphia area. It is available on the internet at www.WBCB1490.com. His show also airs in Denver, Co., on KEZW Cruisin 1430 AM on Saturdays from 3 to 4 p.m. MST and Sundays from 11 a.m. to noon MST and on the internet at www.Cruisin1430.com.
To learn more, visit www.AskMikeTheAppraiser.com.

 

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