Buying used furniture: The do’s and dont's

Buying used furniture: The Do’s and Dont's

Nowadays, secondhand furnishing is more popular than ever. Whether you’re moving into a new place or renovating your home, sprucing up your furniture can be quite an expensive affair. That’s where used furniture come in: not only is buying used furniture extremely environmental-friendly, but they also help you save up. From dressers to closets or even beds and sofas, you can be sure to find exactly what you need as far as used furniture is concerned. In fact, if you know where to look, you might even find pieces in stunningly good condition.

When buying used furniture, there are still a few things that you should consider to make the best choice. It is additionally important to compare a few pieces before indulging in a purchase. Bear in mind that even used furniture with wear and tear can be salvaged and transformed into stunning pieces that can easily embellish your home interior, especially if you’re fond of shabby chic interiors. Second-hand furnishing are perfect for eclectic individuals who are not afraid of daring patterns as well as mismatched sets.

Read on for a few do’s and don’ts you should consider when buying used furniture.

buying used furniture


Stay away from mattresses

We’ve all been through financial drawbacks and while buying second-hand furniture is actually an excellent idea when it comes to saving money, it is highly recommended to avoid used mattresses. Indeed, considering that the average lifespan of a mattress is around a decade, one can only imagine the number of invisible bugs, germs and bacteria that it harbors. Other than being highly unsanitary, used mattresses often lack adequate support which can be detrimental to your quality of sleep. Additionally, used mattresses tend to sag which can obstruct oxygen inhalation, leading to snoring or sleep apnea. If you’re on a severely limited budget and can’t afford a new one, don’t hesitate to go for an air mattress or a futon which can serve as a comfortable albeit budget-friendly sleeping surface.

Pay close attention to the material

When shopping for second-hand furniture, it is quite important to closely consider the material your potential piece is made of. For example, it always a good idea to go for hardwood ones since these are extremely durable and can virtually last forever as long as they’re properly taken care of. This is especially applicable for closets, dressers and tables. Don’t hesitate to favor maple, oak, mahogany and spruce wood if you’re buying a second-hand bed or closet since these are highly durable and can sustain quite a lot of wear-and-tear. As far as used furniture is concerned, do stay away from soft wood such as pine lumber. These do not hold well against wear-and-tear, pressure and weight which means that you will probably end up acquiring a poor-quality piece.

Wrought iron and metal are other excellent materials to go for when buying used furniture. These can actually make stunning pieces when painted and refurbished. Indeed, a wrought-iron four poster bed can easily spring back to life with a fresh coat of paint and soft gauzy curtains. These materials also make for excellent garden and patio furniture. All you need to do is get rid of any rusty surface and add a fresh slick of weather-resistant paint to completely transform your second-hand outdoor furniture. The best thing about used furniture is that you have the chance to completely redo and customize antique pieces to your liking.

Crafts and Arts

Of course, it is safe to assume that any type of used furniture will come with its share of imperfections. This is where crafts and arts come in handy. Whether you decide to unleash the creative juices and spruce up your used furniture yourself or hire a professional, it is extremely easy to infuse new life in decades-old furniture with just a bit of imagination. For instance, wallpaper cutouts can be assembled to make a wonderful art deco decoupage on dressers and tables, as long as you remember to cover the surface with a clear sealer afterwards. This will prevent surface marks and keep the wallpaper cutouts firmly adhered to the surface. If you’re creating a collage for a dining room table, the sealer will also keep water marks at bay.

Craft shops also carry a variety of stencils which you can use to add shabby-chic or Victorian-like patterns to your used furniture. When working with wooden secondhand furnishing, be sure to carefully research the type of wood you’re working with prior to painting your pieces since old wood may not respond well to certain chemicals.

Don’t forget the dimensions

The one mistake that most people make when buying used furniture is not taking space into consideration. So don’t forget to take the adequate measurements beforehand, especially if you’re not buying from a catalogue or through online stores, where dimensions are usually indicated. If you’re shopping online, be sure to carefully read the detailed descriptions and take note of any imperfections listed in the ad.

If you’re tech-savvy, you can also check out webapps such as “Make Room Planner”, “Floorplanner”, “IKEA Planner”, “Design your Dorm” and “Google Sketchup” which will help you match your choice of secondhand furniture to your floor space.


Try out the furniture beforehand

Because quality and comfort can be rather unpredictable as far as used furniture is concerned, it is always a good idea to try them out beforehand. This is especially applicable when it comes to beds, couches and sofas. Don’t hesitate to sit in chairs, lie on the beds or lean against the tables during shopping. As far as closets, desks and armoires are concerned, it is also a good idea to open the doors and drawers and watch out for any overly squeaky noises which may indicate damage.

Used furniture: Is it worth it?

Buying used furniture does remain a controversial subject, especially when quality and cleanliness are concerned. While second-hand furniture is the most affordable option, you should also determine the value of your piece prior to buying it just to ensure that you’re not spending too much on a decade-old couch. It also pays off to head off to a regular furniture store to ensure that you’re not being ripped off by the second-hand shop.

Used furniture is undoubtedly worth it if you’re planning on eventually replacing them with new ones: the lifespan of second-hand pieces being far shorter than conventional ones, you will undoubtedly need to replace them over time.

There are still a few issues associated with buying used furniture. Acquiring complete sets, for instance, is always a gamble since the pieces tend to separate over time. As a result, you might find the perfect second-hand dining room table, but without any matching chairs. This may be an issue since contemporary designs vary from vintage ones, which may make it harder for you to find the perfect chairs for your table.

Build quality and cleanliness are other factors to consider when buying used furniture. It may not be worth it to invest in a cheap couch only to have it fall apart after a mere few weeks. If you’re buying a second-hand bed, don’t hesitate to inspect underneath to ensure that the slats and platform are clean and in good quality.

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