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Collecting Vintage Antique Furniture: 1960's

Updated on August 11, 2014
Paula Atwell profile image

Paula Atwell is a freelance writer with WriterAccess, webmaster, member of Pinterest Party on FB and the owner of Lake Erie Artist Gallery.

Creative Furniture of the 1960's

The 1960's were a time of change, of hope, or of dreadful upheaval, depending on your point of view. Perhaps all of the above. For interior furnishings, however, the 60's were days of creativity, imagination and the willingness to try new things. One of the best things for people seeking vintage furniture from this era is that there is such a wide variety of styles to choose from. Traditional, country-home wood furnishings nestle up against mod chrome and plastic in the pantheon of collectible 1960's furniture--each style is authentic to the era because the era was just like that. The modern pushing against the traditional, trying to make space for expanding ideas--of the mind, the heart and the look of the home.

1960's Traditional Furniture

Wood furniture crafted from oak, maple and other woods was still popular in the 60's. If your goal is to collect vintage furniture from this era and you prefer the classic looks, finding these types of pieces might be your goal. Though there are changes and additions to the styles from time to time, these classic wood dining room sets, china cabinets and kitchen tables look as good in a modern home as they did in homes of times past.

1960's Mod Furniture

This is the fun stuff. Chairs that resemble exotic creatures or balls with holes in them, tables that seem to defy gravity, and lots and lots of bright colors mark these furnishings as 1960's, without a doubt. Some of the styles were both minimalist and striking, catching your eye with their clean lines and innovative use of fabric or materials. Collectors of antique furniture sometimes disagree on what qualifies as antique, or what is retro or vintage, but no matter the label, many 1960's items fall into the collectible category. Lava lamps are somewhat ubiquitous, but if you find a set of Vernor Panton's "S" chairs, be sure to snap them up.

Collectible Designers of the Era

When it come to some eras, like the 1960's, what you collect is sometimes more important than who designed the items. There was lots of sharing, imitating, and borrowing from designs popular in various countries, so not all furniture that looks like the work of a particular designer, is. Still, there are some names to look out for, as authentic furniture by these designers may be highly collectible.

Verner Panton -- Panton, like others in this era, worked primarily in light-weight plastics, creating innovative, stunning designs--out of materials that often did not last long. The clean, straight lines of his tables perfectly offset the sinuous, curving lines of his chairs. His designs came in bold, bright colors as well as stark whites.

Joe Colombo -- Another one who worked primarily in plastics, Joe Colombo's signature design was the Universale chairs, the first to be molded using only one material.

Charles and Ray Eames -- Though they were popular in earlier times, this duo's furniture was still a favorite in later years. 1960's vintage furniture dealers or sellers often have at least one classic or modern Eames item in their catalog.

Arne Jacobson -- Jacobson is another one whose popularity spans eras. He bent plywood into exciting designs, created the Swan and Egg chair whose popularity continues today, and brought a touch of Sweden to the world furniture market.

Vico Magistretti, Gaetano Pesce, David Rowland and Gae Aulenti are just a few of the other furniture designers whose work you should look for when you are collecting antique furniture. Some designers had entire lines, while others made a big splash with one item and had the rest of their work ignored.

Collect What You Love

Unless you are collecting for a specific reason--you do resales, perhaps, or are a buyer for a retail concern--it's a good idea to collect what you love. Pay attention, when you can, to the designers of your vintage furniture, but pay first attention to the designs that catch your eye. If you want to decorate your space with 1960's vintage furniture, make sure it's something that you will love to look at and live with for a while. The 1960's were wonderful, creative and scary times where designers and individuals tested their limits, and and that feeling is captured much of the era's art, architecture and vintage furniture.

Furniture and Interiors of the 1960s

This is a great reference to use to design a retro 60's home.

Are you a fan of the 1960's?

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