5 Tips for Shopping for Used Furniture

Two women having garage sale
Two women having garage sale. Deborah Jaffe/The Image Bank/Getty Images

Shopping for used furniture can be a truly rewarding experience. True, you might have to spend some time looking for the right furniture, or have to refinish it, but you can end up with pieces that you value as they can potentially transform your home into a very personalized space.

  1. Have a plan:

    Know what you are looking for, and keep a list handy. It is easy to get distracted when you are wading through piles of furniture. Once you forget what you came for, you can either go home with used furniture you don’t really have use for, or you could just give up and go home with nothing.
  1. Factor in special sales:

    Plan your shopping day to take advantage of any special used furniture sales in your area. Look in the classified section of your newspaper, or such publications as the Penny Saver. Shopping at garage sales or estate sales might yield the best bargains as sellers are more motivated.
  2. Know What to Look For:

    While it is possible to find almost any home furnishings item at a garage or estate sale, you will have better luck finding certain items such as small tables, shelves or dressers. You can find creative uses for these items, or repurpose them.
  3. Look for Quality:

    Always judge for quality whether you are buying brand new or used furniture. Solid construction is important. Why should you fill your house with junk that you will have to throw out soon? Surface damages can be fixed, unwanted colors can be painted over, but shoddy furniture construction is not easily remedied. If you are looking for a chair to reupholster, make sure it has a good frame. Surface dings will not matter as you can always easily refinish surfaces for a new look.
  1. Haggle:

    Don't hesitate to ask the seller for markdowns. Being polite while doing so might get you further. Sometimes buying groups of furniture can also get you discounts even if the seller hasn’t mentioned it in their advertising.