There’s no shame in buying secondhand furniture. When you live in London, there are several sacrifices that you would have to do. It’s no secret that the living expenses in London are ridiculously high. According to the latest studies, London is the 6th most expensive city to live in. The study further cites rent as the most significant expense for residents.
Londoners have no choice but to tighten the purse strings a little bit by giving up certain luxuries. Additionally, they have to look for various ways on how they can save themselves from bankruptcy. Some of these include renting a storage facility in London, downsizing, or co-sharing their flat.
Home furniture makes up a massive amount of your house’s square footage. To furnish a one-bedroom flat in London, you need at least £1500 or more. This amount is equal to at least a month’s worth of rent. If you’re moving to an unfurnished flat and don’t have this kind of money just lying on your bank account, then don’t despair.
London has a unique market of secondhand furniture so residents can furnish their homes for a fraction of a cost. However, as with everything that comes with secondhand items, you need to be entirely apprehensive of your purchases. The goal is to buy high-quality secondhand furniture which you can use for ages.
Here, we have listed some of the best tips on buying secondhand furniture in London.
Try The Furniture Out
Before deciding on buying a piece of furniture:
- Try it out first.
- Sit on the chair, test out the table, open the drawers.
- Make sure that every part of it is fully functional and ready to use.
- Communicate with the seller if you think any repairs need to be done.
When you’re buying furniture online, say Craigslist, it’s best to sample the furniture in front of the buyer when you do a meetup. It would be difficult to return the item in its damaged state. It will become a battle of “he said, she said” on who actually broke the furniture.
Inspect With Your Senses
Don’t get tempted with an extremely low price. Be doubly wary if it sounds like such a great deal. Don’t just rely purely on vision when you inspect the item. The touch-feel and scent of the furniture will also give you a hint of its actual state. Run your hand across the wood. Are there any splinters or rough patches? If you’re buying a bed, does the frame feel frail? You don’t want to wake up in the middle of the night because your bed just fell out. Do you smell any smoke? Cigarette residue causes unseen damage to furniture, drastically decreasing its lifespan.
Know Which To Buy Second-Hand
There are items that you shouldn’t buy secondhand. For instance, never buy a secondhand mattress. This is for hygiene purposes. There may be bed bugs, bacteria, dust mites, and other germs which may affect your health. If you really can’t afford a brand new mattress, consider buying a futon or an air mattress instead.
Re-upholstering Is Your Friend
One good thing about secondhand furniture is that sometimes, all they need is an excellent re-upholstering to look brand-new. If your furniture’s structural components are still solid, you need to give it a ‘facelift.’ Re-upholstering gives antiques a second life, so to speak.
Hardwood Furniture Is Better Than Softwood Furniture
Pieces of furniture made of hardwood like Oak and Maple are more durable and have a longer lifespan. When you’re out in the market, stay away from softwood like pine lumber. Furniture made of pine cannot withstand extended periods of time with heavyweight and pressure.
Use Rust Remover and Apply A Fresh Coat of Paint
For metal pieces, don’t easily discard rusted parts. Patio sets, for example, are usually made of wrought iron or aluminum. A good rust remover and a fresh coat of paint will breathe new life into your furniture. Don’t worry. You can easily DIY this process. Before applying fresh paint, treat the metal properly so you can avoid rust in the near future.
Buy Disassembled Furniture With Caution
Buy secondhand furniture that requires assembly with caution. They may not be as sturdy as they once were. If a piece is often disassembled, the connecting sections may be worn out, screws may be loose, and the parts may not fit well together anymore. The original version may have been sturdy, but taking it apart might do some structural damage.
Be Wary Of Online Sellers
While buying online is convenient, it also has its downsides. Don’t be fooled by great photos and interesting captions. It’s still best to do a physical meetup, so you are sure that you get what you pay for. I’ve heard many horror stories where the buyer agrees to pay for the furniture just by basing it on the pictures. After a few days, they receive a package with a broken or a different piece inside. And because it’s an online transaction, it’s near impossible to track the seller for a refund.
Take Note of Your Room Dimensions
Yes, that couch is cheap, near perfect, and looks great overall, but will it fit? Before you agree to a purchase, consider where you’ll put it and if it will fit. You might be able to get a solid deal on a piece of furniture, but if it’s too big or too small, then it’s still a waste of your money. Personally, I bring a tape measure every time I go furniture-hunting, secondhand or brand new.
Take note that when you’re buying secondhand furniture, your goal is to save money. If you buy pieces that constantly break and need replacing every few months, are you really saving money? Buying a brand new couch worth £70 is better than buying a secondhand couch worth £20 five times in one year.
As a last note, if you can afford it, then you should invest in brand-new, high-quality furniture as it can last you a lifetime. Even if you move to a furnished flat, you can still keep your extra furniture by storing them in a storage facility.