Thursday, April 14, 2011

Tips on Shopping for Furniture {at thrift stores!!}

Today is a busy day, so I just wanted to quickly share a few thoughts on thrifting for furniture. A lot of times I find myself debating whether or not I should buy a particular piece of furniture because I don't know if it can be "fixed" or not. Then there are some days, I snatch it up and don't even give it a second thought- as was the case with my famous $15 couch.

Here's a thought process I go through when considering buying furniture at a thrift store:

1. Does it have an attractive shape/frame? Usually I am drawn to things that do, so if I run by something and I have to figure out in I even "like" it, more than likely it's not for me. You know how it is- it's cheap, so why not? Maybe I can talk myself into liking it! Throw that mindset out when you enter a thrift store especially!

2.Does it have to be recovered, refinished, or reupholstered? This is probably the biggest part of the decision. A lot of times, you find things that make your heart flutter when you see it, only to turn it around and find a missing leg or a broken piece of glass, or something unrepairable. The $15 couch was no question. I did look at the back to find a broken leg, however, but the leg was still attached and just needed a nail or two and then it was good as new.

3. Consider the style. Is it unique, did your lucky stars line up and drop it in your path? Or can you find droves of that annoying oak coffee table in Craigslist, all day, everyday? Does it look generic? Or does it look/feel like a "once in a lifetime" find? When it comes to furniture, I can't stand anything more than "generic" furniture. And when people on Craigslist advertise something as "vintage" or "antique" when it's just plain old.

4. This may sound soooo elementary- but do you have a place to put it? I keep a running list of things that I need.... to keep from buying things that end up floating around with no permanent home and end up at Goodwill or on Craigslist again.

5. It also helps to know furniture. I am still in the learning process, so I can't say I know a lot. I did, however, see a lovely faux bamboo dresser on a home decor blog a little over a year ago, and I thought to myself, wow, I would love to find something like that and paint it white and add gold or bronze hardware! I didn't really know anything about the brand or what it was. Then, while browsing Craigslist a few weeks later, you'll never guess what I found:


The very same dresser, only in a different shape. Online I had seen the tall chest of drawers. So that very day I drag my husband to Watauga to pick this thing up for $40. I kind of felt bad for paying that much, too. So did he, and I'll leave it at that! 

So while I'm cleaning it out, prepping it for sanding, I see the brand imprinted in a drawer: Bali Hai. The date imprint on the back was January, 1969. I Googled it and found that it was very sought-after and selling anywhere from $250-$500, depending on which piece. So, I got quite a deal! Of course, we refinished it, and bought mother-of-pearl and brass hardware and it now lives in our entry way, {and no longer do we regret paying $40 for it!}

Since then, I have added somethings and moved other things around:


Here's a close up of the hardware from Anthropologie:


So, it definitely is good to know the value in furniture. This comes by buying furniture/decor books, reading magazines, BLOGS {!!}, and searching online via Google, or shopping on Craigslist. This is where the saying goes: "Practice makes perfect!" The more you read about furniture and "window" shop online, the more you have an idea of what's worth buying and what's not.

I hope this helps someone today. I have had very many people ask me for tips on buying furniture through CL and thrift shops. You may never again look at that vintage camel-back couch at Goodwill the same ever again!
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6 comments:

Three's Company said...

love your blog. Makes me wish I was as handy with paint and nails.

Anonymous said...

You have great taste! FYI, it's whether, not weather ;) hugs!

Office Furniture Shopper said...

Shopping at thrift stores is one of my favorite past times. To me,there's no better feeling then coming across an awesome piece of furniture that really has a personality at an incredible price. Thanks for your tips, I promise I will put them to use this weekend when I hit the local furniture shops!

fahim ali said...

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Good Will said...

Absolutely brilliant post guys, been following you.

celine sanderson said...

Wow, the dresser is amazing how it looks like bamboo! Brittany, you really have an eye for beautiful furniture. I'm looking for some really nice furniture for my new place. What are some furniture ideas to make a room match?
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