Two weeks ago while I was traveling (stay tuned for a post tomorrow about just that) and we were both coming off our July 4th highs, Jess wrote a great post about all our Choosing Secondhand Furniture posts thus far. Also, check out Jess’s advice on returning furniture purchased secondhand. We’ve only got a few of these left!

This week, I’ve got my run down about actually making the decision to purchase. Let’s say you’ve evaluated the condition, return policy, your partners expectations, and even decided on the value and now it’s time to actually consider buying.

Here’s my tips:

Consider price vs. What you’d like to pay/think the piece is worth: This seems like the most obvious tip but only you can make that call. About a month ago while thrifting at my favorite place (Room Service Vintage), the Brendan and I stumbled across a little cabinet that I’d like to have for the living room. It was good but not great, but it would have worked for what we needed. Also, it was priced at $100 and considering that I didn’t really like it much, I passed. Right now, $100 is a LOT of money. So if I’m going to spend that amount, I want it to be on something that I loved. Now, that being said, if the piece was $50 we’d have more than likely walked home with it. Because for $50 I could love it and it would have worked fine. For 100 bucks not so much.

Consider lines: I mentioned this tip in another post, but think it deserves mentioning here. Don’t pass up a piece just because of paint or stain. Think about lines. Do you like the look of the bones? Try and forget about cosmetics. Would you love the piece if it was white, red, tourquise, yellow, black? Try and think about the possibilities.

Size: Clearly, you’re not going to purchase something that’s obviously too large for your space, but you might be more at risk for getting something that’s too small. If you’ve got some places in your house that you know you’re needing to fill with furniture, keep a running list of measurements. Lots of store have a measuring tape and you can just measure the piece right there to make sure it’ll fit in your space.

Take time to evaluate: If you’re on the fence about it, step away and browse around the store and come back to the piece before you plan to leave. It’s important to take some time to just think. Also, really investigate the piece and make sure you’ve checked out every aspect of it. Do this so that you’re okay with what the condition is like before you truck it all the way home.

There’s always more: Keep in mind, that there will always be more secondhand stuff to buy. There’s always more stock coming through the vintage store, more antique shows, more auctions, and more estate sales to buy great pieces from. So if this one that you see isn’t just right, take the pass. Or, if you pass something up that you regret later on, just try to remember that there will be something else on your next thrifting journey.

Also, try and view your house as an ongoing collection of pieces you love. I mean, your probably always going to outgrow things and your taste will change, but the less you view your house as something that you have to fill with loads of furniture right now, the more that those pieces you place in it will mean to you and those you share your house with.

That’s just my two cents about making the decision to purchase furniture.

Got anything to add? Anything that I left out?

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3 responses to “Choosing Secondhand Furniture: Making the Decision”

  1. Geri Wurth says:

    Hi Jess and Mary,

    What a great post on choosing second hand furniture! Your comments are spot-on on things to consider. Measure, use your imagination, remember that there will always be ‘more stuff,’ when it comes to cool vintage.

    I also appreciate your thoughts about only adding pieces that you like as you go along. Nothing makes a place look more sterile or sad than a roomful of matching furniture. : )

    And thanks for popping in to Thistle Vintage Studio.
    I’ve been enjoying your blog a lot.


    • Mary says:

      Thanks, Geri so much for the kind words! We love thrifting and I’m so glad you’ve enjoyed reading our thoughts! I loved, loved, loved Thistle and I’m looking forward to getting the post up about it very soon! I’ll be sure to let you know when it happens. It was such a pleasure to meet up with Jess in your store and shop. I can’t wait to go back!

    • Jess says:

      Yeah, we definitely enjoyed our stop and can’t wait to come back! We’re super glad to have you as a reader (and as such a great place to shop so close to me).

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So Eclectic is a blog dedicated to great ideas for home design. Austin, Texas-based writer Mary Marcum and Savannah, Missouri-based writer Jess Rezac feature affordable decor, decorating solutions, and inspiration. At So Eclectic, we experiment with design together. So Eclectic posts new content every weekday.

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