Buying guide for second-hand furniture

The old adage, ‘They don’t make them like they used to’ really does apply to furniture. Scandi flat-pack maestros IKEA should be awarded for services to budget-friendly living, but there may come a time for the finer things in life instead.

From 1970s globe drinks cabinets to 1980s leather La-Z-Boys, vintage furniture has character. And in a world where finite resources demand a switch to more sustainable living, the circular economy is on a roll.

If you are considering the leap from prepackaged to preloved, here are a few tips for making the right purchases.

Read: Six ways to spruce up an old sofa

Buying from op shops

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Purchasing pieces of second-hand furniture from op shops is not only a sustainable way of circulating goods, it also profits a charitable cause.

Usually, thrift shopping involves searching through hundreds of items before finding the perfect piece, but don’t expect to be faced with a jumble of chipped and broken cast-offs.

Many op shops have high standards for the furniture they will accept now.

Hunting bargains on eBay

The world’s favourite online ‘bring and buy’ sale is still one of the best places to find a bargain piece of furniture. Sifting through what’s available can be overwhelming, so it’s best to settle on some specifics first. Deciding on particular brands or design periods – such as art deco, mid-century or contemporary – will help whittle down the options.

Admittedly, it is tricky to authenticate pieces but do some research and have a few questions ready to ask the seller. It’s also worth looking at past reviews on their profile.

Other important considerations include the item’s measurements and the delivery distance. Most buyers will be expected to either collect the item themselves or arrange a courier, so factor that into your budget.

Read: Tips for being more sustainable at home

Picking up freebies

Believe it or not, not everyone is out to make money. Whether it’s a retired couple in a hurry to downsize or a family that’s run out of space, some people are desperate to get rid of their furniture. In fact, you’re doing them a favour by picking it up and providing a new home.

There are a few useful websites that advertise free items. Ziilch, for example, claims you’ll be able to find new homes for your unwanted items in no time. The active community is keen to do its part for the environment by keeping good stuff out of landfill.

Facebook Marketplace is another great option for sourcing freebies in your area.

Searching Gumtree
The original and best – Gumtree is a free site for local buy and sell ads. It’s a great place for used furniture. Be careful when meeting random people you’ve found online – ideally, go with someone else to complete the purchase.

Read: Guide to buying second hand

Carousell is a great community marketplace to buy and sell everything from clothes to furniture and books. The app is straightforward and easy to use.

Do you have second-hand furniture in your home? What’s the best furniture bargain you’ve ever found? Let us know in the comments section below

– With PA

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YourLifeChoices Writers
YourLifeChoices Writers
YourLifeChoices' team of writers specialise in content that helps Australian over-50s make better decisions about wealth, health, travel and life. It's all in the name. For 22 years, we've been helping older Australians live their best lives.
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