Don't get me wrong. We have bought our fair share of the mass-produced. Case in point, our IKEA dressers. I was honestly so excited to get brand new dressers after having stacks of clothes sitting on the floor of our bedroom while we worked on other areas of the house. Of course, I would have rather had the Pottery Barn Farmhouse collection, but we were on a budget. So we bought these.
Yes, there are vintage and antique pieces out there with hefty price tags, too. Especially if you run into famous designers or intricate styles. But if I had to choose between two $800 chests of drawers, I'd probably pick the one that had a little history behind it. That's just me.
I guess when some people think of antique, they are picturing these Queen Anne and Chippendale fancy, shmancy things. So they can't see how to relate their Crate and Barrel style. But if you are willing to take your time, you can find just about anything comparable to what you easily find when you open a catalog. Especially if you know the right terminology.
Like clean lines and minimalist structure (Crate and Barrel/West Elm/Pottery Barn)? Try Craftsman (AKA Mission), Shaker, Art Deco, or Mid-Century Modern.
How about a few more curves or interesting wood veneers (Arhaus/Ethan Allen)? Try Federal.
Something you can turn into Shabby Chic (Anthropologie/Pottery Barn)? Try Hepplewhite or Sheraton.
If you still think they look too "old," picture them with a new finish or different hardware. Both cheaper and more eco-friendly than producing something from scratch.
RenMan and I are pretty eclectic. And I have come around to the thought that I don't have to buy a room "collection" to tie things together. It's more important that I find a piece of furniture that has managed to stay solid for close to a century, as opposed to one I have to throw away after four years.