5 Tips for Buying Used Furniture: Here’s What to Look For

Furnishing your brand-new home could be fun and make you creative… but it may also cost you a pretty cent. Which extra expenditure is particularly intimidating if you are a youthful adult or university student just moving working for yourself the very first time.

Fortunately, there are numerous sources for getting used furniture, and purchasing used can help you save a heap of cash. (Situation in point: I could furnish my entire apartment for under $1,000, thanks mostly to Craigslist.)

But because amazing as some deals could be, used furniture is yet another small gamble. And also the last factor for you to do is throw away cash on the piece that does not last… or perhaps worse, a bit that introduces a population of undesirable, six-legged visitors to your home.

We spoke to some couple of thrift-savvy experts to obtain the lowdown on things to look for — and steer clear of — when looking for used furniture.

5 Strategies for Buying Used Furniture

1. Look Around

Like anything else within our world, the quest for used products have been transformed through the internet. Together with classic options, like specialty shops and curbside steals, you’ve also got digital alternatives.

Don’t get us wrong — you’ll find some great offers buying used furniture from the dog owner. But you may also encounter some lemons — and also you won’t have protections as you may by having an actual business.

Pieces in a consignment store have usually been vetted before they’re placed on purchase, providing you with an additional layer of insurance against purchasing a dud.

However, they will not be quite starting as low as the stuff you will see elsewhere. Because of hefty commission contracts with suppliers, consignment store costs are somewhat inflated, states Andrew Zell, who once labored for junk removal service JDog Junk Removal and Hauling. Zell states that although pieces are marked lower with time, they might be pulled in the floor before reaching an expense that “true frugal shoppers would consider reasonable.”

Good factor there are more in-person choices for used furniture seekers.

“Shop at estate sales, local flea markets and 2nd-hands shops,” suggests Darcy Segura, a Dallas-based vintage furniture buyer and reseller. “It’s not a secret that midcentury modern furniture and decor are hot goods nowadays, so such sales and shops are frequently and you’ll discover quality, well-built furniture at inexpensive price points,” she states.

2. Assess All Soft Pieces for Unwanted pests — Not Only Mattresses

A collection of chairs are stacked together at Habitat Restore.

Most buyers know bedbugs can lurk in used mattresses. However they can as fast nestle into a variety of other upholstered products, including sofa sets as well as dining area chairs.

Alexander Crawley, an entomology consultant for London-based Fantastic Pest Management, encourages buyers to make time to inspect prospective pieces carefully, whether or not the seller appears sincere. “It’s absolutely feasible for someone to not realize a furniture piece is infested then sell it for you.”

“Check for dark stains or [insect] eggshells across the seams,” he suggests. “Check every nook and cranny, including the rear of the furnishings. Make sure to inspect the joints and all sorts of eye shadows.”

Since bedbugs can survive and lay dormant for any lengthy time between “blood meals” (shudder), there isn’t any guarantee they’re not present must be piece continues to be from use or kept in a storage facility for some time. Actually, there isn’t any guarantee they’re not present whether or not the piece appears to pass through inspection. “Even should you not find anything immediately,” Crawley states, “keep checking periodically to find out if there [are] any indications of an invasion.”


Together with bedbugs, upholstered furniture may also house fleas, carpet beetles and dirt mites, which could be very hard to eliminate. Therefore if you’re whatsoever doubtful concerning the cleanliness of the potential furniture piece, let it rest.

3. Psst: Pine Wood Furniture Could Possibly Get Infested, Too

Wooden furniture is on display at Habitat Restore.

It seems sensible that bugs could bed lower within the soft materials we use to produce cushions. But insects aren’t anything otherwise adaptable.

For instance, pine wood furniture works as a prime nesting substrate for powderpost beetles — especially hardwoods generally utilized in furniture construction, like walnut, oak, hickory and walnut.

Unlike bedbugs, fleas and dirt mites, powderpost beetles rarely bite pets or people. However they can change an attractive wood furniture into dust. And when your house features wood construction, a significant invasion could even damage its structural integrity.

Then when you’re searching in a potential table or desk, look for indications of stowaways. Probably the most telling manifestation of powderposts would be the teams of small exit holes, calculating from 1/32 to at least oneOr16 inch across.

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4. Take notice of the Material

A woman looks at dressers for sale at a used furniture store.

Whether you’re purchasing furniture used or new, it’s apparent that things are sturdier than the others. But although some flimsiness may be serviceable within an Ikea dresser you’ve just built yourself, if you are buying something that’s already seen some use, quality is essential.

“Don’t be seduced by today’s replicas,” Segura emphasizes — a tack she takes when you are performing her very own thrifting. Individuals particalboard pieces may be pretty, but they’re not created to last.

Oftentimes, older could be better. In the end, particalboard wasn’t a factor before the 1950s.

“I’ve found pieces which are a minimum of 70 years of age that, when they might need to be refurbished a little, are like new, durability-wise,” Segura states. “Those are my personal favorite finds.”

Certain materials are naturally stronger than the others. Teak, for example, has lengthy been commonplace in Southeast Asian furniture — not just because of its beauty and strength, but in addition for its resilience. It has skin oils and silica making it resistant against water, mildew, fungi and stains, based on Fariz Zakka, who works best for Indonesian furniture supplier Posteak Furniture.

Other hardwoods like ash, beech, birch, cherry, mahogany, oak and walnut have the ability to an excellent status for quality, states Zell — and they’re thus usually more costly to acquire. If you find the best-searching piece inexpensively, hop on it!

5. Wake up Close and private

The brand name of a dresser designer is shown on a baby blue dresser for sale at Habitat Restore.

With regards to finding a good deal on the used furniture piece, little details matter — not just to assist in avoiding pest infestations but additionally to ensure quality. 

For example, many bits of well-made vintage pine wood furniture feature dovetail joints instead of a joint made from nails or any other fixtures. It’s worth going for a critical look at individuals seams, anyway — corners and joints are “more prone to show indications of rot along with other damage,” based on Segura. 

Another indicator of top quality inside a dresser or desk? A product, which you’ll find around the interior left side from the top drawer in premier furniture, based on Zell. Search for “a placed emblem from the organization that designed, developed and put together the piece.” Occasionally, these details may be inscribed on the brass plate. Although the emblem assist you to recognize high-quality furniture faster, additionally, it enables you to look at the organization on the internet and find out more about its status. 

Jamie Cattanach (@jamiecattanach) is really a author whose work continues to be featured at Fodor’s, Yahoo, SELF, The Motley Fool, Roads &amp Kingdoms along with other outlets.

It was initially printed around the Cent Hoarder, which will help countless readers worldwide earn and cut costs by discussing unique job possibilities, personal tales, freebies and much more. The Corporation. 5000 rated The Cent Hoarder because the fastest-growing private media company within the U.S. in 2017.

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