Decorating your home with items bought second hand is not only a great way to save money; it’s also eco-friendly because it conserves resources. Antique or gently used pieces are often one-of-a-kind, and they bring unique character to your home, too.
But it’s not easy to find treasures in yard sales and thrift stores. Without a trained eye and a clear idea of what you want, you could leave empty handed, or worse—with several tantalizingly cheap items that won’t actually improve the aesthetic of your home. Home Improvement Leads has some beginner’s tips for furnishing your house with distinct, affordable items.
In This Post:
Map out Your Course
While meandering through yard sales and flea markets may be a fun Saturday morning activity, if you’re serious about furnishing your home, it’s best to have a plan. Instead of going out on a goose chase for yard sales, use the Internet as a resource to find beautiful pieces or buzzed-about markets nearby before going out in person. This will save gas, time, and energy. Be sure to measure the doorways of your home and the area that you have for new pieces, and always bring a tape measure along with you.
Invest in Quality
Antiques aren’t always cheaper, but they’re usually unique and built to last for many decades. Second hand shopping often yields great bargains, but don’t go in with the expectation that everything will be cheap. Be open to spending a little more than you might expect on a truly beautiful piece that has withstood the years.
Be Wary of Fixer Uppers
If you’re able to spot quality craftsmanship and materials beneath a coating of age or rough use, a piece may be worth salvaging, sanding, and coating with fresh paint. But if you don’t have a trained eye—or if you don’t have experience upcycling furniture—be wary of the pieces that need a little love. They may end up doing nothing but taking up space in your garage, or costing you too much money to make over. Be especially careful of water damage or scents that may be embedded deep in fabrics.
Don’t Be Particular
That being said, don’t be close-minded. We’re used to typing in a search and getting exact results, but second hand shopping is more an affair of chance. If you go with something specific in mind, you may leave disappointed and miss out on a truly charming piece. Use it as a chance to think creatively and rework your expectations. You make like the result even better than your fantasy.
Don’t Miss Your Only Chance
A little planning and thought can go a long way when it comes to avoiding buyer’s remorse. But leaving behind a piece you really love in order to think about it can also leave you with regret. It’s not like coming back to a department store or website. By the time you decide, the piece could be long gone. Bring cash with you so that if you fall in love with something, nothing will stand in your way. Get a feel for appropriate prices before your start trying to barter.
If you need to warm up to shopping second hand, go just for fun the first few times. You’ll get a better idea of what a good deal looks like and what will look best in your home.