To me, they’ve never gone out of fashion but seem to be very ‘in’ right now, so you’re likely to come across lots of them in charity or antique shops, often used to display lovely Victorian bits and bobs. They make for great styling tools, either on their own or grouped together with something beautiful inside, such as a dried flower, taxidermy or an ornament. Mix and match the sizes and the decor for visual interest. Joy Thorpe, Joy Thorpe Decorative Antiques & Interiors, Kilkenny
Quality mid-century pieces retain their value and style through the ages and will sit with new or mixed period furnishings with ease. Look for G Plan and McIntosh designs, which set the standard. Ray Sutton, Decor, Dublin
You’re likely to find lots of different styles in various thrift shops and flea markets that you can collate together. Choose different sizes and patterns to mix it up and group them together for an interesting wall display or on a shelf. Straw hats are also a stylish and accessible find that work well grouped together as a decorative display.Dee Brophy
A mid-century classic piece that’s not only sleek and stylish in appearance but can be functional too, with plenty of storage for glasses and bottles and anything else you fancy. It can be mixed and matched with ease, and styles well with vintage or contemporary glassware.
You could go for the full chandelier, but personally I love the colourful glassware which was originally made by the Venice glass masters from leftover bits of glass from larger pieces. It can be tricky to find in Ireland, but I have stumbled upon it in markets and charity shops, so keep your eyes peeled.
I love collecting antique drinking glasses, everything from decanters to coloured ruby glassware and 1920s champagne coupes. Crystal is a high-quality glass made with lead, so it has a beautiful light-reflecting quality and can be easily picked up at a charity shop or market.
A design classic and as functional today as it was when it first appeared in the 1930s. It has a hint of ‘science lab’ about it, which I love, and is a great way of making a design point in a room without splashing out on expensive lighting. It was designed as a task lamp but works equally well for mood lighting.
Otherwise known as West German pottery, definitely kitsch but cool, these can be found in lots of quirky colours and glazes and can lift a room with ease. They are still quite cheap to buy in Ireland compared to the continent and dress a shelf beautifully.
Books are instant art and tend to be inexpensive in charity shops or markets. I adore leather-bound books with marbled paper edges and coloured books, especially if they have personal inscriptions, which I go looking for. Observer books have always been a favourite of mine: those small, pocked-sized books that cover a variety of topics from art to wildlife printed in beautiful colours with dust jackets. Stack them, scatter them or pop them under a glass dome, use them as risers to display treasured or sentimental pieces — they work in so many ways.
An original print or oil on canvas by any artist, as long as you like it, is a great investment and adds great character to a home. Remember to go through it all; the stuff at the top has likely already been taken, so go to the bottom of the pile. Look for signatures, which can mean a work of art is original or part of a limited series and can give you an idea of its worth. A good oil painting in a rustic old frame is a thing of joy.
To go with the timelessness of that classic mid-century sideboard. It is one of the most iconic of the mid-century clock designs, with a distinct Art Deco feel, and always makes a statement in a room. I love its retro, fun design and the fact that it doubles up as a piece of art.
Often referred to as exploration furniture, those pieces brought by explorers and armies on their expeditions. They were hauled along on the journey so had to be easily transportable, cleverly designed but also beautifully made to be shown off, so they have endured to the present day. I’ve found a few cabinets with lovely brass handles intact for a fraction of what they’re worth.
I love collecting old cashmere scarves, which can be reused as cushions and throws. In fact, old quilts, tapestries and vintage French linens are great buys that bring a lovely earthy, cosy feel to an interior without cluttering up a space. There’s something beautiful about a vintage linen across a table or a throw over a bed that has a story to tell.
Kilim rugs — there’s always a place for a classic, bohemian Kilim rug, which are so well-made, timeless and can be used on the floor or hung on a wall, and add a pop of colour
to a space.