Money is tight but your old couch and chairs won’t last another week. Instead of sitting on orange crates or shopping at garage sales, visit a used furniture shop, and buy items to upcycle or make into shabby chic pieces.
While shabby chic, referring to a countrified look or the use of vintage fabrics and accessories for old English style interior decorating, has been a buzz phrase in recent years, employing used furniture has sometimes taken a back seat. That’s true no longer. Used furniture has gone mainstream, and many people love the distressed look. It is the same as buying a used car–affordable and respectable.
Hunting for used furniture is not restricted to the milieu of jumble or carboot sales. Stores abound where the cost-conscious customer can pick up a couch, dining room table, or bedroom dressing table for a small percentage of what the same item would cost new.
Chain Stores and Outlets Feature Quality Sofas and Bedroom Sets
One of the best sources to search for used furniture bargains are outlets that work with retailers who rent furniture to corporate and other clients who only use pieces for a short time. Other possibilities include chain consignment stores which sell furniture on speculation for clients. National stores selling used furniture include:
- Brazen Furniture Rental Outlets
- Another Time Around Furniture
- Consignment First
- Home & Garden Consignment Centre
Hotel furniture consolidators are another source. Many of these, however, have only one location, so the trick is finding one near you. If you live near one you can often get expensive, brand-name furniture that once graced rooms at chains like Hilton, Hyatt, and Sheraton, for a fraction of the cost. Heritage Refurbishment is a good place to start.
Also, consider smaller speciality shops and antique stores, especially those near affluent neighbourhoods. In stores like these, you may find one-of-a-kind of custom-made pieces and sets that you wouldn’t find in a chain store.
How Used Furniture Ends Up in Stores
Companies rent furniture to corporate clients who furnish living quarters for their employees, expecting they will get the pieces back. This often occurs when third-party clients want to change the furniture provided to their employees in temporary living quarters. Another way is a firm will sells used furniture is when the company changes its own rental offerings. In this case, the company will purchase sample pieces, some of which end up for sale without being used. These are determined, for one reason or another, not to be viable rental pieces but are perfectly good furnishings.
When rented furniture is returned, the company must decide whether the pieces in question are still usable. They look at a piece of furniture, and determine if they can refinish it, clean it or repair it to establish if they can sell it.
Determining if Used Furniture is Sound
Consumers interested in purchasing a piece of used furniture should consider the following tips for buying used furniture:
- Sit on chairs and settees to test for comfort, loose joints, or rickety legs.
- Open doors and drawers to look for sticking, damaged parts, or broken or missing components.
- Check for frames that have been changed.
- Lean on chairs to check for solidity.
Although you risk finding a scratch or two on used pieces, the most important thing is overall quality.
Just because a used piece of furniture is a bargain, is in good condition, and has no structural defects doesn’t mean you should automatically buy it. Just as in buying brand-new furniture, know the dimensions of your rooms and the size of entrances and stairways to ensure the pieces you choose will fit.