How To: Thrift Shop – Furniture Edition

by Rachel

Last one! I think with this last post on thrifting, it should cover everything.

Furniture. It’s expensive as heck, and when you are buying a new house and starting fresh (as I did just over a year ago), you can’t really afford to go to a furniture store and buy all your stuff. 60% of the furniture in my house has been thrifted, and the rest has been given to me by family members. I have never bought and paid for something brand new (not too shabby!) but I think my house looks pretty darn good! So, when I am shopping for furniture, this is what I look for,

  • Things made solidly out of wood. Not plywood covered in a veneer. If it’s real wood it will be good and sturdy.
  • If it is real wood, and covered in veneer but it looks pretty good, look around the feet of the furniture, and there is usually a lot of chips, just make sure it’s nothing that’s going to bother you in future. Sometimes, keep in mind, you can take the veneer off then finish the wood underneath
  • There’s a lot of ugly stuff out there, but with a little imagination you can turn it into something awesome. Similar to chotchkies, if it has a cool shape but hideous colour or finish, you can refurbish it. All you might need is some paint/stain stripper and some new paint or stain! I often paint my furniture bright colours, always use a high gloss paint and try to find a nice glaze finish so it isn’t tacky. I also like to paint the inside of some furniture pieces too, so if it looks like crap on the inside, keep that in mind!
  • Knobs and pulls are REEEAAAALLLLY easy to switch out, and affordable. Always keep this in mind.
  • Don’t buy IKEA furniture second hand… its just not good enough quality.
  • Remember that Home Depot and stores like it sell legs and mounts for furniture and castors among other things. If you find something but it doesn’t have legs like you want, or the legs/castors are broken, you can buy them separately and add them yourself. Totally worth it.

It also helps if you’re husband used to work for his brothers furniture shop and knows a nice piece of furniture when he see’s one… but it’s not necessary.

If a tree falls in the forest and no one’s around to hear it… cut it up, take it home, and make some furniture!