Tips for buying second-hand furniture
Don´t let the outside of the sofa fool you
Don´t be mesmerized by a sofa that looks good. You need to test the support system of the sofa to find out what condition it is in. Different sofa´s have different systems. Generally speaking, eight-way hand-tied support constructions tend to last a long time.
Learn how to take care of tropical hardwood
Finding sustainably sourced tropical hardwood can be difficult and expensive, which is why many hardwood-lovers who also wish to spend their money sustainably go for second-hand tropical hardwood furniture. Giving pre-owned tropical hardwood a new lease on life is better than giving money to companies that support unsustainable hardwood harvesting.
Tropical hardwood furniture can last a long time if you take good care of it, so you should devote some time and energy to learning about the specifics about how to care for the hardwood pieces in your home.
Laminate and veneer is not automatically a no-no
Some people claim that laminate and veneer furniture should never be purchased second-hand since it isn´t solid wood. We don´t agree with this notion. Don´t pass up veneer and laminate furniture just because it´s not fresh from the factory. A careful inspection will tell you if the furniture is in good condition or not. For starters, always check if the veneer or laminate is still adhering to the material it is affixed to.
Don´t be afraid of rusty and spotty metal furniture
Metal furniture is often a great buy second-hand, for various reasons.
- Buying new metal furniture is often very expensive, and the money spent on fixing-up scruffy-looking second-hand metal furniture is often well worth it.
- Materials such as aluminium or wrought iron can look really horrible without actually being structurally unsound. A thick coat of rust or horrible stains will make most shoppers in the second-hand store discard the piece at first glance. Be smart and inspect the item – you are likely to find out that the problem is only superficial.
Don´t invite bedbugs
Many types of furniture (not just beds and mattresses) can harbour bed bugs. It doesn´t matter if you are buying something cheap from Craigslist or a hoity-toity design classic from Le Upscale Antique Shoppe. Learn how to spot signs of bedbugs and how to eliminate bed bugs. Putting the time and effort into treating the furniture correctly early on can save you a lot of time and money in the long run.
Be on your toes when buying furniture for children
Be especially vigilant when buying furniture for children.
- Older furniture may not live up to the safety standards of today. This doesn´t mean that they are a complete no-no; it only means that you need to be more proactive to prevent injury. It is, for instance, a good idea to attach dressers, shelves and similar to the wall instead of simply trusting that they will be ”tipping proof”.
- Old paint can contain substances that are forbidden today. Be especially vigilant against peeling paint.
- If a piece of children’s furniture has been recalled by the manufacturer, don´t buy it second-hand. This type of furniture sometimes shows up for cheap in second-hand shops.
- If a piece of furniture has been repaired, adjusted or upcycled in the past, give it an extra inspection. Sometimes a formerly safe piece of furniture becomes unsafe for kids because someone has fixed it improperly.