Guide for Buying Used Furniture

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Guide for Buying Used Furniture | Fabric Depot & Supply

Have you ever perused through a thrift store and stumbled upon a piece of used furniture that makes your heart sing? Or maybe you really loved the “potential” of the piece, but didn’t know how to go about refinishing it?
We’ve put together a guide to help you on your next quest for that unique piece you’ve been wanting. Whether you find the item at a garage sale, on Craigslist, in a thrift store, or (heaven forbid) on the side of the road, use these tips to make sure you are making a wise move in bringing the piece home.

1. Check for tags.
If the item is from IKEA, tough luck. It probably won’t be worth the investment of time and money to fix it up. On the other hand, if it’s labeled “Thayer Coggin” and looks like it’s from the 70s, run, don’t walk to claim that thing and bring it home!

2. Look at the lines.
Try to neglect that fact that the piece might have a puke green colored fabric or a few notches in the wood. These flaws can be easily fixed! Instead, focus on the lines of the item. The lines are unchangeable and really are what will contribute to the look of your room more than anything. For example, if you like a modern look, look for sleep lines with little detailing and no ornate features. If you have a romantic, quirky style, try to find vintage pieces that would look great repainted, restained or reupholstered to update the look.

3. Inspect the quality.
Make sure it’s up to par in the quality department! You shouldn’t be investing in a piece that is cheaply made or so torn up that it will cost an arm and a leg to refurbish it. Look for things like dovetail joints instead of cheap hardware and solid wood. Avoid particleboard of you can.

4. Examine the cushions.
Look over the cushions to determine if they will need to be replaced. If they are flat, misshaped or the interior foam is crumbly because of age, ditch them and invest in new ones! We sell foam at our store to fill cushions and couches. We also stuff them for you, so it makes your job even easier.

5. Sit on it.
Before you buy, take a seat! Make sure it’s comfortable to you. Chances are, if you don’t like the way it feels now, you’ll hate it even more after plopping a hefty chunk of cash into refurbishing it.

6. Don’t be afraid of simple fixes.
Don’t let a few chips in the food or a tear on a cushion deter you. These are easily fixed! If you love the piece, there are plenty of ways to make it look good as new (and oftentimes, even better)!

7. Watch out for bad smells and bugs.
Steer clear if you detect the strong odors of cat urine or cigarette smoke. These are nearly impossible to get rid of and will be an eternal pain in the neck. Also, if you suspect bed bugs, don’t even consider going near. In fact, run away from infested furniture as fast as you can! You don’t want to accidentally bring a hitchhiker home with you.

8. Remember your budget.
Don’t get so carried away that you forget your budget! Oftentimes, refurbishing furniture can be quite expensive, so be sure to tally up the cost of each job before buying.

9. Think of your time constraints.
Do you work really hard during the week leaving you with limited time on the weekends to relax? If so, and if you don’t want to spend hours of your Saturday refurbishing furniture, you might want to consider opting for new or already refurbished pieces that don’t require any work.

10. Ask yourself, “Do I really need this?”
If your home is already full of really beautiful and unique furniture, but you happen to find something you think you can’t love without, question if it’s a necessity. Think of where you’d put it and how you’d use it. Would you have to get rid of something else you already love to use it? Just some thoughts to consider.

If you would like help on your next thrift hunt, let us know! We offer all sorts of fabric and upholstery, foam services and partnerships with upholsterers. We’d love to help turn your find into a truly treasured and unique conversation starter.