Wednesday, June 4, 2014

My Top Tips for Buying Used Furniture

Hey there!
You all know as part of my (constant) redoing of our home/little furniture business I have, I am frequently scouring thrift stores/flea markets/craigslist/antique stores/yard sales for the very best pieces of furniture.
Today, I thought I would share with you all my top tips that I keep in mind while out furniture hunting.
 Test out and fully examine furniture before you buy it.
Always check for structural stability and comfort (if it is something you will sit on). Open and close drawers and doors. Determine if the piece is made out of wood (and not something lesser quality like MDF). Check all the joints. If it needs work make sure it will be an easy fix.
 Look for tags/markings.
This helps you to investigate the age and quality of a piece.  If it is a modern sounding company that has been assembled by the previous owner, you will most likely want to pass on it as it may not be as sturdy or able to hold up to long term wear.
  Smell everything before you buy it.
I completely do not care how ridiculous I look doing this and neither should you. Before you hand over the money, give the furniture a good sniff. You do not want to inherit someone elses smoke/mold/animal problem. Believe me.
 Inspect for critters.
No joke. You do not want to bring home something that is invested, so just inspect it first. OK?
 Go to your favorite stores often.
Every yard sale or store is always hit or miss. (And, believe me, more often that not I walk out with nothing.) But, especially at thrift stores, the merchandise changes daily, so the more often you go, the better chance you have at finding something amazing. Which leads me to...
  Don't hesitate when making a purchase.
You know how at a regular store they have multiples of each piece? Well, when buying used its not like that. If you see something that you love and can use, the price is right, and it is structurally in great condition, get it. Chances are if you go home to think about it, that lovely piece you had your heart set on will be gone by the time you get back.
 Determine if the furniture is a good financial investment.
After you find something that you love, make sure that it is financially a good idea to purchase it. Thrift stores, especially have been jacking up their prices so you have to be extra cautious. It is worth it to you to part with the money in order to own that furniture? Have you factored in the cost of repairs, reupholstery, fabric, paint and supplies (and labor if you are going to hire someone to do the update for you)?
Consider how you will get your new purchase home.
Most every place I've been to does not offer delivery.  Can you fit your new purchase in your own vehicle or will you have to rely on a friend? Another option might be to rent a truck for a couple of hours, but remember, that will factor in to your overall cash output.

I hope my tips have helped you! Do you have anything to add to my list? Be sure to leave me a comment below.



  1. Great summary! Smelling is very important. I once bought a great upholstered rocker that reeked of cigarette smoke once I got it home. No amount of cleaning could get the smell out. And, thrift stores don't usually allow returns.

  2. I have told my husband numerous times to "Test out and fully examine furniture before he buys it", I don't think he will ever learn ;)
    Great tips!

  3. Great tips! I find hitting my favorite stores often both very important and very dangerous, financially ;)

  4. Great tips Angela! I read that if you slide a credit card in the furniture joints and nothing comes crawling out, you're good :)
    Marie@The Interior Frugalista


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