As you’ve probably already guessed, we’re big fans of matching and mixing bits of furniture from all different sources. We have items that we’re given to us, antiques we’ve inherited from our families, furniture we’ve found second hand and of course have a few new bits and pieces, too.
By finding things that you like from a bunch of different sources, we think that you end up with a more rounded home that looks less like something from a catalog. For us buying second hand furniture is the best way find and create something individual as well as grabbing bag a bargain in the process.
As much as we love finding new things for our home, there’s only so much space we have, so we*re not only sharing our tips on how to find great second hand furniture but also how to easily recycle furniture you no longer need.
How To Find Great Second Hand Furniture
Yes, I know it’s not much of a tip, but being lucky and in the right place at the right time is a big part of discovering a great second hand find. I’ve lost count of the amount of times we’ve found something great only to discover an evil looking sold sticker on it. Luckily it works the other way. too!
When we bought our sideboard that’s now in the guest bedroom we knew that we had to have it, but couldn’t find the owner of that section of the antique shop. We asked around and after a lot more asking and being sent from stall to stall we eventually found him in another shop outside of the main building. We obviously managed to do the deal, but we were lucky as by the time we went back to the main building to pick up our new sideboard there were hoards of people all over it trying to buy it, too!
I’ve lost count of the amount of times we’ve visited our favourite antique centre without finding anything that we like. Regular visits do however pay off and we’ve been able to pick up some great pieces of furniture including the sideboard we’ve just mentioned, our dining chairs and the bedside table in our guest room (it’s actually a record cabinet).
The same of course goes for all other places where you can find second hand furniture like Preloved and Freecycle. Regular checking really does pay off and on some sites like eBay you can even set email alerts up if what you’re looking for gets added.
We bought our first set of dining chairs more than a year before we bought our second lot of 4. We always knew that we wanted a total of 8, so just kept looking and in the end were able to pick up the exact same matching ones. It may have taken a bit longer than we expected, but we got there in the end!
#3 Research & Measurements
The most important thing to remember when looking for second hand furniture is to take your measurements with you! You’ll probably only have one chance, especially when comes to something unique and once it’s gone, it’s gone!
Being able to decide there and then if it’s right for you is a big part of buying second hand furniture and knowing if it’ll fit in your space is obviously helpful!
Setting yourself a budget is always a good idea, but for us it’s more about buying what we like for a price that seems fair to us. If you actually have an idea of furniture and know what something is worth – even better – but we tend to base our buying decisions purely on what we like and can afford.
#4 Be Prepared To Do A Bit Of Work
Don’t necessarily expect what you find to be in a perfect condition. Often there are a few scuffs, dents and a fair bit of dirt on used furniture, but usually it’s nothing that a bit of a clean, sand and polish will sort. Most things are fairly easy to repair and even the most scuffed piece of furniture can look great again. Think about what it would look like painted or can it be sanded and waxed? Often only 10 minutes of work can make all of the difference. Sanding and waxing our sideboard literally took minutes, but the difference it made is amazing.
What To Do With Furniture You No Longer Need?
Now, you’ve found a load of furniture that you love, what do you do with the stuff you no longer have a need for? After all, there’s only so much furniture you can buy without having to get rid of some of the stuff you no longer need.
Up till now we’ve always given away anything we’ve no longer needed. Mostly we use Freecycle to get rid of old furniture and over the last few years have given away our previous 6 dining chairs, two armchairs, a bedside table, a tallboy and a few other bits and pieces. Giving things away is a great way of helping others (we had friends and family give us all sorts of stuff when we first moved in and we’ll always be grateful for it) but on a much more selfish note it’s also a really easy and hassle free way of getting rid of things you no longer have a use for. You stick a quick post up on Freecycle and within a few hours you’ll have plenty of people wanting what you’re giving away (we always give it to the first person to respond to our post).
When we recently got our new Chesterfield sofa in the living room we’d been struggling to decide what to do with our existing black Florence Knoll style sofa. Although we would usually use Freecycle, we felt that it would be better to give it to a charity. I’m not saying that any of the things we’ve given away weren’t good – they were all still fine, but the sofa was still in a pretty perfect condition, so we felt that it would be best to give it to a charity.
Often charities will come and pick up furniture – which was the case with our sofa, so as well as helping others it’s also a really easy way to easily get chunky items that you’d otherwise struggle to remove. .
Essentially the same places that you’ll go to find second hand furniture are the same places you’ll go to get rid of things you no longer need. We like to think of it as a kind of cycle. You buy something, use and enjoy it and then give it back for others to enjoy.
What do you do with furniture you no longer need? Have you ever managed to find a great second hand bargain? Do you have any tips for finding great furniture?