With second-hand stores and online platforms such as Gumtree and Facebook marketplace giving you access to cheap, good quality local furniture, it’s becoming harder to justify the trip to IKEA. But selecting well-made furniture that will last can be tricky. These tips from MoneyTalksNews will help you distinguish the treasure from the trash.
Determine whether or not this piece of furniture is strong and made to last. It is sturdy? Do the drawers slide in and out easily? Do the doors line up? Are there cracks or chips that you can see? It’s easy to confuse shabby with chic, especially if you’re particularly taken by a charming retro piece.
Beware of brands
Watch out for furniture that is mass produced and cheap. Unfortunately, brands that you can pick up at Kmart, IKEA or other flatpack furniture producers are unlikely to cope so well in their second or third home.
However, certain brands and designers never go out of fashion. Herman Miller, Knoll, Lane and Heywood-Wakefield are popular among vintage furniture collectors, a testament to their quality, plus you’ll always have prospective buyers if you wish to resell.
Finding designer brands at a reasonable price can be tricky, so it pays to keep an eye out in case a seller doesn’t know the value of their preloved furniture.
Fully inspect the furniture
Smell any furniture before you agree to purchase it. You may look a little mad, but this can help you detect rot or mould. Odours from pets or cigarette smoke can soak into wooden or upholstered furniture and never come out.
Older wooden furniture can carry woodworms or termites, which you don’t want to risk spreading to your home. Inspect the furniture for small holes before you bring it home.
Loosening joints in a piece of furniture is one of the first telltale signs that it may age poorly. Inspect dovetail, finger, pocket-hole, mortise and tenon joints before purchasing furniture. If they are slipping free of one another or moving as separate pieces, it’s best to let that set of drawers go. Joinery is particularly tricky to fix.
A veneer is a thin layer of a decorative, high-quality wood laid over a wooden base. If a veneer – usually made of mahogany or tiger maple – is lain so the patterns of grain in the wood mirror one another, the piece of furniture is likely well made. A damaged veneer is nearly impossible to repair, so best to avoid.
Do you love second hand furniture? What do you look for when making a new purchase?
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