Sustainability has now spread from buying second-hand clothes and accessories to buying second-hand furniture and decor. Buying brand new pieces of furniture always has that bit of excitement because you are its first owner, but with second-hand furniture there is history. As a self-proclaimed environmentalist and second-hand queen let me give you some tips and tricks for buying second-hand furniture and what you can do to restore it or personalise it if needed.
Where are you purchasing your piece?
This step is especially important, for example when you buy from the Facebook marketplace you need to be able to organise to view the piece or request pictures and videos to assess the condition of it. If you are buying from a second-hand store, you can be a little surer that the pieces are in pristine condition.
If you find furniture out on the street that caught your eye, be very mindful of its sanitary conditions and whether it is broken or rotten. The place where you buy your second-hand furniture really matters as it determines the life span of your piece and the amount of restoration work it will need to perform well.
What is your vision?
If you are not careful you can become addicted to picking up every stray piece of furniture you find which can become a problem if you are in a rented property with a lack of open space. Before purchasing furniture or taking it home, assess its necessity for your interior and your home.
Remember, sustainability is about only purchasing what you need and avoiding overbuying. Buying things second hand that is a lot cheaper than brand new pieces, can be addictive and can be the total opposite to sustainable unless you decide to start reselling the pieces you salvage.
Play Doctor before you take it home
Check the piece multiple times in store before you take it home make sure it is not damaged beyond repair as some pieces can seem stable but once you move them around a bit you notice that a foot is loose or chipped etc. Note all damages and see if you have the materials to fix the piece at home or if you can buy them easily in store for a low price. Usually, the biggest changes you need to make is to apply polish if it is a wooden piece, or paint to cover any colour chips or if you simply want to add a funky design to the piece you purchased.
Don’t bite off more than you can chew
Some pieces require some major redesigning and fixtures which may end up more expensive than the piece and, in the end, if not done correctly it can completely ruin the piece. If this is your first time buying or taking home second-hand furniture, make sure it’s only the minor deformities you take on. Like chipped paint, loose screws and small shows of personality that you want to work around easily and get into the swing of upcycling.
Also remember, you can always sell pieces to others who are looking to reduce their spending and hoping to be more sustainable. Most people get addicted to thrifting and saving pieces that come their way, so a good way to make it a hobby without falling out with sustainability is to sell the pieces that don’t suit your interior to others or gift them to friends as special gifts.