If you don't know what you're looking for in antique furniture, do make certain what ever you buy is something you in fact like. Pay attention to construction. Antique furniture was not made with pressed wood, staples or other such short cuts. Drawers oftentimes were made with a tongue in groove or dovetail design. Glue was pretty much a no-no. Craftsmanship and quality are often key hints at a piece's real value and age.
Even replicas on the market can be great additions, however, keep this in mind as you're shopping. As long as the look's right and the quality of construction is there, you should be happy with the purchase.
When looking for actual antiques, there are some things to check for. Real antique furniture pieces will have the following traits quite often: Solid, handmade construction. The dovetail drawers, actual nails and not glue, and the use of solid wood are good giveaways for real antiques or at least replicas that are well made.
Signs of aging. Most antique pieces of furniture will have some signs of aging. Whether it's slight cracking, warping or minor signs of fading, some aging should be evident. Wood simply can't stand up in pristine condition over years and years.
Minor flaws. Since antique pieces were handmade and did not come from mechanized assembly lines, there will be minor flaws in the construction in most cases. Look for boards that are slightly off in width or length, pieces that just barely don't line up and so on.
When you're looking to buy actual antique furniture, be certain you know what you're getting. The price will generally be high, sometimes very high, so if research or an expert opinion is necessary, get it before putting cash down. There are some pretty clever replicas on the market, so if you're paying two thousand more for an authentic 17th century chair, you want to be certain that authentic means just that!
Antique furniture can lend some serious style and decorator flavor to a home. Whether you're looking to add a single piece or collect a whole houseful, do a little research before you buy. Even if you do settle for replicas, if they're well made and reflect your decorator style, you should be happy with the decision to do so.