Shopping for used furniture might look like a waste of time for some people, or even like a costly option considering the amount of repairs to be done after buying. For other people however, it might be considered the best choice moneywise. Needless to say, the key here is to know how to buy used furniture correctly. Purchasing a used piece of furniture is not a waste of time or money, but only if you know the right steps for making such a purchase.

In this article, we present you with a simple guide to teach you how to buy used furniture when you need new pieces of furniture for your house while you are on budget. By following these steps, you will most probably end up having the furniture of your dreams and also avoid getting scammed.

1- Testing before fetching:

What is the first thing you do before you purchase any durable goods? That’s correct, you try them. This would sound like we are bringing out the obvious, but you should definitely do the same thing with furniture, especially if it is used furniture!

If you see a used chair, table or sofa in a market or garage sale, the first thing you ought to do is test, the second thing is test and the third thing is test!

What to look for…

Check to see if you feel comfortable when sitting on the chair, can you feel any springs? Do you hear any squeaking noises when you lean on the table? And also check that the sofa’s frame is not altered.

Try to turn tables, chairs and sofas upside down if their weight allows, and check that the legs are strongly attached.


If the quality of the frame and wood is good, and the item is in overall good shape, then go ahead and seal the deal.

2- Know your budget

Before you even step through the doors of the secondhand furniture store, you need to set out a budget for yourself, and remember that an item can end up costing you more than its original asking price.

For instance, if you find a used piece in a bad shape, such as a table with an entire broken corner, you need to think thoroughly about the costs of the re-doing that part and refinishing the whole table. Even if it has been put up for sale for a very cheap price, the eventual cost of making it useful again might increase tenfold.


Or if you find an antique chair that needs reupholstering, you need to consider the price of the required fabric as some fabrics will cost you more than the price of the chair.

You do not want to buy used furniture and spend a fortune fixing or reupholstering it! And unless you are willing to do it yourself, you will probably end up exceeding your budget and paying more money for what is at the end of the day a used piece!

3- Avoid getting too excited

The golden rule of knowing how to buy used furniture is that you should know what you are looking for so as not to get your eyes popping out whenever you see other pieces of secondhand furniture with tempting prices, only to find yourself  buying stuff that you have no space for.

So, before you go shopping write a list of the items you want to buy and to commit to it. Do not buy an item just because it seems like a good bargain.

4- Smell it before you get it

There is nothing embarrassing about sticking your nose in the sofa or the back of the chair and smelling it. You have no idea where this item has been last (Garage, baby room..etc.), or what kind of animal used it as its makeshift habitat before.


Some odors will not come out easily, even with heavy cleansing, so you need to know what you are sitting on before actually sitting on it.

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5- Check its history

Some people may try to pass old as antique; those two words are not synonyms. Old and antique are not mutually exclusive or mutually inclusive. Essentially, learning how to buy used furniture is all about learning the true history of the piece you are purchasing.

That is why, experts recommend that you should always and forever ask about the origin of the piece you intend to buy, where did it come from, its original cost, age and what conditions have this piece been subjected to?

6-Does it work with the rest of your decor?

Even when you buy used furniture, you do not want something which has a design that does not fit well in the your house or cannot blend into its style naturally or does not suit your personal taste.

So think before you buy, do you need this item? Does it match the rest of your stuff? Do you have space for it? Will it complement the rest of the furniture in the room or clash with it?

Lastly, Going after a used piece of furniture does not apply only on items owned by strangers; the same goes for the old furniture in your house. So instead going after a new piece, you can always revamp your old pieces.

Check this old and forgotten chair when reupholstered, it looks as good as new and probably cost half the price it would take to purchase a new chair.

What is even better about redoing your old furniture is creating your own touch on a piece you purchased from a store. Such as this sofa that you bought ten years ago, check what a little paint and new fabric did to it with very low price.

The same goes for every single piece of old furniture you own, some can be fixed and others you better leave alone and buy new ones. By checking the steps above, you probably know by now which items in your house worth redoing and which should be forgotten.

Buying secondhand stuff could sound like a risk, but not if you know how to buy used furniture, or anything else for that matter. Of course, with experience, your skills will be honed even further and you would be able to spot and purchase used furniture that would fit your needs at a very low cast in comparison to buying new pieces.

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