Say second hand furniture and that orange couch you got from your aunt for your first apartment comes to mind. It doesn’t exactly conjure up adulthood or sophisticated design. Second hand is a divisive phrase. People either love it or swear they would never do it. But here’s a secret; that funky lamp you loved at that friend of friend’s place? It was probably second hand.
Buying furniture second hand makes it possible to scoop designer merchandise for a bargain and get some fun and trendy items that ensure your home doesn’t look exactly like your neighbors. Plus if you’re Pinterest crafty, reviving someone else’s castaway is an easy and cheap way to add style to your home. That said, scoring great pieces second hand is an art. Here are a few tried and true tips from secondhand store marketer Carrie Aulenbacher and Lori Hirons of Island Contessa to get you started. Be prepared to start hearing, “Where did you get that?” a lot more often.
Know The Sales. Ask about sales or discount days to get even more bang for your buck. This is a great shopping hack but remember to get there as soon as they open. Many stores wait until after they are closed to do any restocking, so the best bargains will be there when they open the doors.
Don’t Hesitate. The beauty of second-hand items is that there is often only one such item. It’s not going to be there forever. “If you walk away thinking you’ll look at it again next week, chances are it will be gone. If you like it so much you’re hesitating, just buy it! I’ve lost a few good sales and for the price I could have paid, walking away wasn’t worth it,” Aulenbacher said.
But Buy What You Know. Be aware of brand names and have a bit of an idea of high-end versus low quality trendy items. It will help you decide when faced with two similar items. “If your collection is Depression era classics—look for that,” Hirons said. “If you’re knowledgeable about specific items, you can often find great pieces to keep or resell significantly below the normal retail price.”
Factor in Work Time. If you’re buying something that needs work, factor that into the price you’re paying. If it’s going to take you six months to fix it up and buckets of paint, it better be a very good price to get it.