Buying second hand furniture is a popular trend at the moment. I enjoy looking at the many posts on social media showing bargain buys turned into marvelous makeovers. However, it is much more than a trend to those living a sustainable lifestyle. Buying second hand furniture prevents perfectly good items from going into landfill so it is good for the environment. There’s a certain charm and character that only secondhand furniture can bring when furnishing your home. If, like me, you have ever wondered how to buy second hand furniture of good quality that has the potential to enhance your home, then this guide is for you. We’ll explore how to find those unique pieces and suggest ways to refinish them to add character and personality to your home.
Secondhand Furniture Markets:
Searching for hidden gems in flea markets, charity shops, second hand shops and online platforms is quite an adventure in itself. In these treasure troves you will often find pieces with rich histories waiting to be uncovered. Before you start your search, whether its online of visiting stores, it’s helpful to make a list of the types of furniture you’re looking for. This will help you stay focused and prevent impulse purchases that might not fit your space or vision. Remember, patience pays off – take your time to explore various options. I like to pop into my local charity shops and second hand shops regularly to keep an eye on what is new and if I can’t find what I’m looking for I will ask the shop assistants as they may have something stored in the back shop that would be useful or they may be expecting a delivery and suggest I return at a later date. Alternatively, you can search online from the comfort of your own home . Facebook Marketplace, Ebay, Preloved and Gumtree among others all sell second hand furniture online.
Assessing Potential Treasures:
As you browse through various options, it’s very important to evaluate the condition of the furniture. Look beyond surface scratches and minor imperfections. Check for structural stability, as well as the quality of the materials used. A solid piece with a bit of wear can often be transformed into something remarkable with a little love and attention. This is the stage where your eye for potential really pays off. Thinking outside of the box helps here too. If the item you had in mind isn’t available, can another item be repurposed to meet your needs? When looking at online items, check the photographs and description for any flaws in the product. Usually, you will have to pick up local items and pay for them at pick up so you will get a chance to make any last minute quality checks before you make your purchase.
Choosing the Right Pieces for Upcycling:
Not all secondhand furniture requires the same level of restoration. Decide whether you’re looking for a simple touch-up project or a complete makeover. Consider your own skills and the time you can invest. If you’re new to upcycling, start with pieces that have great potential but require minimal repair, like a simple sanding and painting project for example. Gradually, you can take on more challenging projects as your confidence and expertise grow. You can eventually move on to joinery repairs and re-upholstering.
Preparing for Refinishing:
Once you’ve found the perfect piece to work on, it’s time to prepare it for refinishing. Clean the furniture thoroughly, removing dirt and grime. Sand down rough spots to create a smooth surface that will readily accept paint or stain. Repair any loose joints or hardware to ensure the piece is structurally sound. Proper preparation is the foundation for a successful upcycling project that will stand the test of time.
Refinishing Techniques and Tips:
The refinishing process offers endless possibilities to express your creativity and style. Choose a technique that complements your home’s overall decor theme. Whether you opt for painting, staining, or a combination of both, remember to choose high-quality, low VOC paints and finishes for a lasting, professional and eco-friendly result. Take your time and follow each step carefully, from priming to the final coat, to achieve a polished appearance. Above all, don’t be afraid to try something new. The beauty of upcycling is, if you make a mistake, you can start over again, change the colour etc. You will probably have bought the piece at a bargain price and because it needs some attention anyway, you can afford to have a few tries before you are happy with the final results.
The following images of upcycled furniture will hopefully inspire you to try out a simple DIY project. You could start by finding a vintage wooden unit and paint it to in your chosen colour to complement the colour scheme and design style of your home. This storage cupboard has been repurposed into a mobile kitchen cabinet by adding castors to the legs, replacing the drawer handles and painting it. The top is perfect for displaying small plants and the bottom is used to house the dog’s feeding bowls. You could begin with an even easier project by finding a small wooden occasional table and repurposing it as a bedside table by simply adding a coat of paint, similar to this one on the right.
Bringing secondhand furniture into your home isn’t just about cost savings; it’s a way to honor the past while adding your own touch of creativity and style. By following this guide and trying out some suggested upcycling projects, you’re celebrating craftsmanship, sustainability, and experiencing the joy of breathing new life into forgotten pieces. With careful selection, preparation, and a bit of passion, you’ll transform secondhand finds into cherished and stylish additions to your home. Remember, the journey of upcycling and refinishing secondhand furniture is not only about the end result but also about enjoying the creative experience. As you navigate flea markets and re imagine worn pieces, you’re introducing furniture into your home that will shape your living space with character, authenticity, and a touch of your personal journey.
If you have undertaken any upcycling furniture projects, I would love to hear about them so leave your comments below.