Honestly when I walk through my home I realize I have gotten all of my furniture second hand. My leather couch is from Craigslist, my dining room chairs I bought from a friend, and all my dressers are from local antique stores. Starting out marriage so young and on a single teacher salary I had to get creative. I knew our budget didn’t allow for me to walk into a furniture store and buy everything brand new. So I started to hunt consignment stores, estate sales, Craigslist, antique stores, and garage sales for a deal.
Always look for good bones.
Make sure the piece is solid. No breaks where they glued it back together. No particle board dressers. Always check the back legs too…I’ve learned the hard way! My mom and I bought a chair on Craigslist later to find the back leg was split.
Check for dovetailed drawers.
Dovetailed drawers add strength to the piece and make it harder for the joint to be pulled apart. The dresser will last longer because the quality is there.
Look for the manufacturer.
Flip cushions, check inside the drawer, flip the piece over to find a manufacturer stamp. If you see a sticker that says made in China I would pass. This means it’s a reproduction and more times than not isn’t a quality piece. If you find a manufacturer name then take your phone out and google it! This will give you some knowledge of the quality of their work.
Now that you know what to look for want to know my SECRET for scoring deals on furniture?!!
Find all your local estate sale companies and get on their email list or follow them on facebook. That way you know when they are featuring a sale. In larger cities there will be 2-3 sales a week! Try and make it sometime the first day to check out all the furniture. Don’t let the high prices scare you off! This is when I figure out what the piece would be at 25% off and at 50% off. Confirm with the workers what the percentage off will be for each day then you are going to make a BID! You can make a bid for anything more than $100. Each evening they check the bids. If yours is a little more than what the sale price would have been the next day then the piece is yours!
What I’ve realized is most people who shop estate sales don’t go for furniture. They are wanting decor, collectibles…”smalls” that they can sell or collect. I’ve scored a Restoration Hardware dining room table that retails $5000-$6000 for only $800 by putting a bid in for a little over 50% of what they were asking.
My most recent find was a 1800’s Primitive China Hutch. The funny thing is I walked through the sale and didn’t see anything until my mom pointed it out. I don’t know how I walked right by it…it’s huge! (Another tip: walk through a sale or store different ways. You’ll see things you didn’t see the first time or take your mom ha!) They were asking $550 which honestly was a good price for it. Originally these can go anywhere from $1000-2000. Of course I decided to put a bid in because I wanted a great price! I figured $275 was 1/2 and then I added a little on for good measure. The next night I got the phone call that I won the bid at $282!
Now keep in mind putting bids in is definitely a gamble. You have to be willing to let the piece go if someone else buys it before it makes it to the sale day. I always tell myself “if it’s meant to be I’ll get the call that I won the bid! And if not there’s something else out there better.”
Now you are armed with some tips on finding quality furniture pieces for great deals!