The Divine Savages Rules to Vintage & Antiques (and collecting weird and wonderful things)

Spot the genre: Victorian, Mid-Century, 80's, natural history...we are interior design time travellers. Also spotted, our Deco Martini Wallpaper in Midnight Gold and a vintage footstool recovered in Forbidden Bloom Velvet in Deep Blue.

Our love for vintage and antiques isn't just a hobby – it's a lifestyle. You can see the influence of past eras all over Divine Savages, from our illustrations and patterns to our home decor. We're drawn to the colour combinations, the craftsmanship, the individuality of each piece, and the stories they carry. And don’t get us started on the thrill of the hunt. We’re not sure what’s better– finding a piece you didn't even know existed or finally tracking down that elusive 'white whale' piece you've been dreaming of for years?! It’s not a case of being born in the wrong decade, we’re simply interior design time travellers. From the intricate detail of Karl Ens ceramic pieces to the sleek lines of mid century modern, retro seventies and even the bold and bubbly ‘80s, we embrace it all. We've likely checked off every decade of the 20th century in our quest for the weird and the wonderful, appreciating the best of each era, whether that’s a Scandinavian wooden credenza, victorian fringing, pulp fiction book covers, or a kitsch Fraggle Rock figurine. 
People are always asking us for tips on finding great vintage stuff, and while we wouldn't call ourselves experts, when you spend a significant proportion of your free time on something, surely you start approaching the famous ‘10,000 hours of expertise’. As busy as we are running Divine Savages, we still find time for rummaging around flea markets, antique fairs, and charity shops. Vintage pieces not only add a sense of storytelling for our home (we love to learn about an item’s previous life), but we also use our finds to inspire our patterns so it's a convenient excuse to keep up the practice! 

The 6 Rules of Vintage & Antique Furniture and Decor...according to us

Top: A salvaged footstool, recovered in Deco Martini Velvet Fabric in Arsenic, is paired with an antique wooden side table (and teeny tiny ceramic dog). Open shelving houses a collection of bigger ceramic figurines. Bottom: Crane Fonda Velvet in Coral is found on our reupholstered Scandi dining chairs whilst a collection of found artwork makes up an eclectic gallery wall of affordable finds.


1. The Vintage Club

The first rule of Vintage Club is: Don't be ridiculous. There are no rules, just pick what you love. Decorate with what brings you joy even if it's inexplicable. We've brought home some, shall we say, "bonkers" things from what some might consider slightly questionable places, and they’re some of our favourite pieces. Others may not love them or even like them–who cares! Whether it’s the colour, the pattern, the story, when something speaks to you, listen. As a bonus, it’s virtually impossible to not have anything to talk about when you surround yourself with interesting a toy dinosaur living in a vintage birdcage terrarium on the coffee table for example.

A collection of vintage and antique furniture finds ready for our new home (even if the home wasn't ready for it yet)! While Zsa Zsa, the Ostrich, held court in our previous living room in front of our Deco Martini Wallpaper in Midnight Gold.

2. Always Be Looking

While others live by 'Always be Selling,' we're more about 'Always be Looking.' Speaking from experience, you can visit the same vintage vendor a dozen times and suddenly, there ‘it’ is. Find yourself a local antiques marketplace or bookmarked site and make visits habitual. Regular browsing also helps you figure out what's easy to come by and what's a real gem. You start to get a sense of what's worth jumping on right away and what's a reasonable price when the perfect piece pops up.

Now, where should you be looking? We're not purists, we celebrate all formats; whether it's a bustling flea market, a charming antique store, or a curated online marketplace, here are our thoughts on sourcing vintage and antiques.



Vintage isn't for living rooms and bedrooms only...the kitchen in our old London house had a gaggle of vintage statues, including Mother Superior Emannuelle. Plus our vintage mid-century scandinavian dining set got a little upgrade with some Divine Savages' Crane Fonda Velvet in Coral.


It's part of our normal routine to have a weekend stroll through a vintage market. When we lived in London this was Peckham Flea market or Sunbury Antiques Market, where we once fell in love with a nun (an old statue of a nun to be specific). She once graced the wall of an old church in the French countryside, so we think she’d have some interesting stories to tell, overseeing all the saints and sinners!  Emmanuelle, as she is now known, watched over our kitchen when we lived in London and is now living out her retirement at the top of the stairs in the new house – she is always watching. 

Now that we are living in the Southwest we have several on our doorstep including Frome, Shepton Mallet and Stroud. We recently found the most crazy flea market on a bit of waste land towards Chippenham. There was so much stuff from house clearances it was sprawled over 3 yards and then 3 barns, stuffed to the rafters. You really had to search every nook and cranny among the general crap, but we found a gorgeous tiger bamboo side table right at the back, with a bucket on top to catch the leak coming in the roof. It now sits in our new showroom and looks perfect.

Our tip is try and get to the market as early as possible (we’re not morning people but it really does make a difference). You’ll get to pick over the best of what is on offer. That said, hang around long enough (take snacks as it can get tiring quickly) and any dealers with items left to sell will be keen to shift it at a lower price. 


Obviously, with curated brick-and-mortar antique stores, you're probably not going to stumble upon a £5 sofa, but you're also much less likely to accidentally put your hand in something sticky. And chances are, the items may have already been cleaned or repaired. Plus, it doesn’t involve standing out in the freezing rain, so there are definitely some perks to browsing in-store or online with a dealer.

But even beyond the bargain finds, shops often offer incredible pieces at prices comparable to mass-produced furniture. Why pay £300 for the pleasure of building a flatpack chest of drawers when you can snag a unique piece for just £50 more? It’s so much more exciting and with less allen keys involved.

A successful online vintage purchase for the new house–an art deco cabinet to hold our record player in our new 'Cocktail Room'. Plus a peek of our new Lovebirds Wallpaper and Fringed Lampshade (launching soon)!


While it may lack the immediate gratification of an in-person find, if you can do something glamorously hungover in your luxe loungewear at home while watching Netflix, then obviously it gets a massive tick. We've had success on eBay recently with an Art Deco cabinet that we’ve placed in the ‘Cocktail Room’ of our new house. Our fabulous showroom sofa was also found online. We used to only source small items on eBay for shipping reasons, but sellers have stepped up their game lately and made delivery on large items a lot easier. We also regularly scour Pamono, Vinterior and Etsy when we have a vague idea of what we’re looking for. We've yet to pop our Chairish cherry as the prices often make us a bit twitchy, but we do use it as a reference for the value of a mint-condition piece so we can judge what a reasonable offer may be. Or just for pure gloating purposes after a particularly successful purchase.



To the potential risk of our own personal shopping inventory, here are some of our favourite independent vintage and antiques shops and dealers local to us in Bath or available online:

Hessian Collective

Our literal neighbours in Margaret’s Buildings in Bath. Pop into Hessian Collective for a hand-picked collection of furniture, lighting, ceramics and decorative objects. Then you can come and see us at our showroom just a few doors down!

Four Quarters Home

We just bought a carved ‘screw’ plinth for the shop window display from this weekly- updated one-man-band operation. Great furniture, lighting and artwork, all very reasonably priced.

House of Brunswick

New local Bath friends, House of Brunswick, have affordable smaller vintage decor items sourced from around England and Europe available online. Sign up to their newsletter to get the first scoop when their new curated collections drop.

Sideshow Interiors

We bought our glam showroom armchair with chrome arms from Sideshow. It got the full Divine Savages’ treatment with a new fabric upcycle with our new Lovebirds fabric. If you are in East Sussex, you can visit them in person. 

Our Bath showroom is packed full of vintage–from the eBay sofa, recovered in our new Brambles velvet fabric in Antique Rose, to the chrome chair upholstered in the new Lovebirds velvet in Papaya Honey (both coming soon!). Plus flea market finds like the Tiger Bamboo Table, standing lamps, fireplace, footstools...

3. Structure, Structure, Structure

Forget 'location, location, location,' we say it's all about structure, structure, structure. If a piece has good lines and interesting shapes, a lot of other sins can be forgiven, with a variety of remedies.


The colour, the hue, the shine–all open to negotiation. Personally, we’re not fans of shiny yellow-orange wood from a certain decade, but this can be stripped, restained or painted. While we aren't huge furniture painters ourselves, we're not averse to it if the shape is right, but the finish is not. 


Some people are put off vintage furniture because of potential lingering smells. Honestly, sometimes pieces carry a fabulous smell, other times, not so much. But charcoal bags can work wonders inside chests of drawers. Failing all else, use the piece to store something less sensitive than your jumpers, like paperwork.


Oooh, this is a fun one for us as textile designers. Sometimes a steam clean (DIY or professional) is all you need. But once you find a good upholsterer in your life, you’ll never look back. It opens up all sorts of exciting possibilities. We recently found a stunning sofa on eBay. The piece is incredible with dramatic high sides, but the fabric was 'fine' (read, plain and not us at all) and the filling had definitely seen better days. After having it recovered in our new 'The Brambles' velvet and adding fabulous trim and tassels, it's now a custom piece that fits perfectly in our showroom in Bath!

4. Putting A Label On It

We don't discriminate between antiques and vintage. It doesn’t have to be endorsed, signed, sealed and delivered for us to love it. But of course, if a piece is commanding a serious antique price, it's worth doing your homework. Make sure you're on the ground, checking for defining marks or labels on the underside or backside before making any big purchases!

Tom has a penchant for collectibles and curiosities, particularly his beloved Red Fraggle, while Jamie is more of a Pulp Fiction Cover Lover. Each item is displayed as the piece of art it is...

5. The Small(er) Things in Life

Vintage decor, rather than furniture, is truly where the fun (and the weird and wonderful) happens. Whether you have a car or are taking the bus, are furnishing a flat or just a room – even if you have a partner repelled by 'stinky vintage' – you can still add pops of whimsy and humour. We happen to be on the maximalist side of collections in decor, as Tom (in particular)  is a lover of curiosities, collectibles, and unusual art. Our house is filled with playful touches with personality – from ceramic pelicans and dogs to Barbies and Fraggles, and even taxidermied peacocks and ostriches, just to name a few. But the key difference between hoarding and a collection is presentation. We're big fans of cloche glass domes, whether vintage or store-bought to elevate smaller items to display status. Grouping similar items together, a flock of ceramic pelicans, for example, is what we call a winner* and adds just the right amount of kitsch without looking like clutter.
* may not be scientifically accurate

Left: Vintage standing lamp base paired with our Lovebirds Fringed Lampshade in Papaya Honey (Coming Soon) Right: Where the Wildflowers Grow Fringed Lampshade in 'Mustard' atop a vintage standing lamp base

Lighting and lamps are also a place where we go wild. A lot of people are scared off by electrics. Old wires may have already been swapped or tested by a vendor, but if not, it's an easy swap either DIY or professionally. Plus, if you’re going through the effort of upgrading the cord, you can pick a fabulous one (like a pop of colour from
Lolas's Leads) and make the functional bits worth seeing.

And of course, we'd be remiss if we didn't find ourselves hoarding, ahem, collecting lamp bases, both tall and short, that perfectly complement our vintage-inspired lampshades. Made by hand in England in the same way they would have been originally produced, these are, dare we say, the best of both worlds. Vintage vibe, no moth holes, and you can pick your own colours.

6. The Circle of Life

Lastly, remember, there’s no finish line when it comes to collecting and curating your space. Some items will always hold a special place in your heart, while others may eventually lose their charm and find their way back into the cycle to bring joy to someone else. During our recent move, we found while we need a lot to fill a much bigger space, we simultaneously have too much! It’s good to re-evaluate a space and make updates. Our interiors should always be evolving, like us as people. We’re looking forward to discovering how our next phase of interior joy unfolds.



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