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Tips for Buying Used Furniture

Tips for Buying Used Furniture
DecorDezine has come up with some tips for buying used furniture so that you are able to differentiate between the good and bad, and your purchase becomes a worthy investment.
Meghna Wani
One unique benefit of buying secondhand furniture is that it is 'eco-friendly', as it keeps the old furniture out of landfills, and also saves the resources required to make the same items.
Before you head to garage/yard sales to find your hidden treasure, make sure you measure the space in your home so that you know the size of the furniture that will fit exactly.

The next thing to keep in mind is setting the budget. You have to decide what you are willing to pay for each item, and then haggle down to the last dollar and cent. Also, consider the cost of getting the furniture delivered to your home.

Let's quickly run through a few more tips that you will find handy when shopping for used furniture.

Don't Opt for Random Things

Before you start your used-furniture hunt, carefully note down the exact size of the space that you are trying to fill. One more useful tip would be to measure the size of your main door. It would be very disappointing to find that the wonderful cupboard you found from the garage sales' treasure-trove doesn't seem to get in through the door. Also, the items purchased should complement your home's interior, and not look out of place. Do the homework before you hit the market; if you skip this step and pick up any item randomly, you would be in for more loss than profit.

Check the Furniture Properly

While shopping, if you spot a piece of furniture that you think can be a good addition for your home, start checking it for quality. In case of cabinets and cupboards, open and close the drawers as well as doors; sit on chairs, lean on the sofa or table, look underneath and shake it up a little. Do everything to be sure that the furniture won't lose integrity just within a few days of getting it home.

You should also check for decay damages, as well as for foul odors like musty, smoky, or animal pee. Keep in mind, this piece of furniture is going to be there in your house for years, make sure it doesn't reek. But you have to be practical in your quality check. After all, the furniture is used and will be a little damaged. As long as you or someone else can repair it or fix it without spending a bomb, it is good to purchase.

Give Preference to Hardwood or Metal

When buying used furniture, keep in mind that hardwoods, like oak and maple, are sturdy. They can withstand daily wear and tear easily, and have tremendous weight-bearing capacity. Soft wood, like pine, is a good option for pieces of furniture that do not have a weight- or pressure-bearing role. Next on the list of furniture-that-make-good-seconds is metal furniture.

Aluminum, wrought iron, and steel furniture can be made to look as good as new with one coat of durable paint. Similar to hardwood, metal furniture is also durable, and can withstand weight and other types of daily abuse for a longer period. 

Laminate and Veneer Are Also a Good Option

Don't pass off laminate or veneer furniture just because you think that it is not as sturdy as wood. Depending on the purpose for which you will be using the laminated furniture, it can handle even more daily wear and tear than wood. If peeling laminate is the problem, it can be easily glued back and used. Laminate or veneer furniture can also be repainted with a coat of primer followed by a color of your choice.

I swear by the option of repainting, because the end result you get is a customized piece of furniture that complements your interior, and that too at a throwaway price.

Opt for Reupholstering

If you spot an old oak rocker chair for $10 or $20 and is sturdy enough to last 10 more years, don't just let it pass because it looks old and drab. Refurbishing is the keyword here. Take the chair home, and whenever you find time, give it a coat of varnish, it will shine like new! You can also stick cutouts of wallpaper to cover up superficial wear and tear, and then seal it with a clear sealer.

Before you let go of any item that has potential, just compare the cost of getting the same item new, and the cost of refurbishing or reupholstering. If you think there is a considerable difference in the cost, just purchase the item, you may not get the same piece and the same deal again.

Do Not Opt for Secondhand Mattresses

As far as possible, do not purchase secondhand mattresses. They can be breeding grounds for germs; both visible and invisible. Microorganisms thrive on mattresses, and so do bed bugs. If you get a deal where the seller offers you the mattresses along with the bed, check it many times before your money changes hands.

If you plan to purchase a secondhand bed with a mattress, make sure you carry a used credit card and a flashlight with you. Bed bugs usually hide in small tight surfaces. Run the edge of the card through the tightly sewn areas of the mattress and along the crevices; use the flashlight to see the dark and minute areas. If you see dark red stains, eggs, old skin or the bed bugs themselves, simply don't opt for it, no matter even if you get it for a nickel and dime.

There are many sources where you can find used furniture. Apart from the usual tour of thrift stores, flea markets, garage/yard/estate sales, you can also check the classified ads and websites like Craigslist, eBay, and OLX. You should also keep a watch on college dormitories, hotels, resorts, etc., that are revamping. To sum up, I can say that you have to be patient and rummage through various sources to find that unique piece meant just for you.