Tips for buying secondhand furniture

Your home furniture is one of the reasons that you love your home. Furniture is the accessory that makes your room come together and helps you enjoy the amenities of a comfortable lifestyle. Since it’s a large part of your home, you probably can’t replace furniture as often as you would like. Instead of having to save up for furniture, why not buy it secondhand or reuse furniture in a different capacity?

Buying furniture secondhand is the recycling of the design world. Secondhand pieces don’t use any more raw materials, don’t require any more energy to be produced, reduce waste and pollution and don’t need additional packaging. On top of these benefits, antiques and previously used pieces have that great sense of story and character.

While seasoned secondhand shoppers would probably be able to dish out this advice in their sleep, it can often be difficult to know where to start looking if you’re not in the habit of hunting. Here are nine tips that will help you when shopping for secondhand furniture.


Try out furniture before you buy

Whether you purchase secondhand furniture at a garage sale or online, sample the furniture before money exchanges hands. Open up drawers in cabinets, sit in chairs and lean on tables. If an item has been damaged you need to confirm that it’s still in satisfactory shape for you to start using in your home. Even if it’s damaged, make sure you’re confident that you or someone else can fix it and pay the appropriate amount for the condition of the piece.


Trust your senses

Furniture that has been in someone else’s home may have the odours of past owners. When buying furniture consider this in your decision. Some odours may air out, while others like pet and smoking odours may not. Don’t get so enamoured in the great deal that you forget this is getting ready to be part of your home and family for years to come.


Secondhand mattresses can harbour germs

Although tempting, secondhand mattresses aren’t recommended to be used more than once. Mattresses can harbour germs, bacteria and bugs that you can’t see. If you need a mattress and can’t afford to buy a brand new one, consider buying a futon mattress or air mattress until you can afford a traditional one.


Upholstering can save you money

Some secondhand and old furniture may have been constructed with quality structural components and may just need a face lift. Similar to renovating an older home, furniture was made with better workmanship and quality products years ago. Instead of passing over an old looking chair at an antique store, think of the potential and money savings compared to buying a brand new replica furniture piece.


Pay attention to the support system of lounge suites

Secondhand lounge suites aren’t created equal in their inner construction. Be wary of mesh support for the sofa cushions. They won’t last a long time. Instead, opt for eight-way hand tied support construction and cushions that are filled with down feathers or wrapped foam.


Metal furniture makes good seconds

Wrought iron or aluminum furniture is beautiful when it’s been refurbished. When you find secondhand metal furniture think of the potential as opposed to how it looks. Remove rust and repaint with a durable powder coat of outdoor paint specially made for covering metal furniture. You’ll be surprised how a new coat of paint will breathe new life into your find.


Check furniture retailers who rent furniture first

Before searching all over town for a good place to find secondhand furniture, try furniture retailers that rent furniture to corporations. These furniture pieces are gently used and often times these retailers hold clearance sales to get rid of their inventory. Secondhand furniture doesn’t have to be worn out from the previous owner. Corporation clients sometimes rent furniture for a few months and then they’re returned to the retailer.


Arts and crafts suggestions for masking imperfections

Have you fallen in love with a piece of secondhand furniture but it shows wear and tear on the surface? How about adding wallpaper cutouts as a form of decoupage to make a custom look? Add wallpaper and then seal the surface with a clear sealant to the surface. The sealant will prevent the wallpaper from lifting and will deter water rings and surface marks.


Shop with dimensions in hand

When shopping for secondhand furniture you need to have an idea of what space you need to fill and how large that space is. Since you aren’t shopping with a furniture catalogue that has upfront dimensions and descriptions, you need to be prepared. Even if you don’t have specific dimensions, have a good idea of how much space you have to work with as most secondhand furniture sources won’t let you return your furniture.

Finding secondhand furniture can be exciting and rewarding once you get it to your room. Whether you have to refinish it or it’s ready as is, the money you save can be gratifying.

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