Outside view of VIDA Building

Exploring Used Furniture

Stack of used furniture in a thrift store

September 2020

Buying brand new furniture for your apartment either means paying a lot to get good quality, or picking up something cheap only to have it fall apart in no time. But there’s a third alternative: used furniture. Whether you find it at a thrift store, yard sale, online, or maybe even at the curb on garbage day, used furniture is an opportunity to get high quality at a low price. It’s also an opportunity to get creative and express your personality. If you’re up for the challenge, here are three things to keep in mind along the way.

Choose Carefully

If you find a piece that has potential, but it’s structurally unsound, keep shopping. Poor quality – either because it wasn’t cared for, or it never had it to begin with – defeats the purpose of going this route. The flip side is also something to avoid. If you find an amazing piece of furniture at a yard sale, but the owner has priced it at “retail,” don’t get attached. All of this means investing more time in finding your furniture. But if you think of it as an adventure vs. a chore, you’ll come to enjoy the hunt just as much as the furniture.

Don’t be Fooled by Appearances

Assuming the quality is there, don’t write off a piece because it isn’t pretty on the surface. Repurposing furniture almost always involves things like a new coat of paint or varnish, replacing fabric, or even dismantling and reconfiguring a piece. If you can put it to use, the quality is good and the price is low, trust your hidden artist-self to make it look great.

Use your imagination

When you’re out shopping and come across something, forget the original purpose it had and focus on what it could be used for. A dresser drawer can become dog bed, you can put legs on an old suitcase to make a side table, or even turn a wooden crib into a loveseat. If you haven’t looked at examples of how others have repurposed furniture, hop on Pinterest and do a quick search. You’ll not only be amazed, but hopefully inspired, too.