Buying used furniture online can actually be a lot of fun and very easily go from convenience and cost effective to a new love-affair and hobby. Though, there are some dangers when buying used furniture online and can easily ruin moving day with one simple oversight.
There are five key elements to consider when you’re buying used or second-hand furniture online to make sure you get it right. The last thing you want is to end up with an old couch that doesn’t fit in your living room or even worse - a very heavy fridge that you can’t get up the staircase (don’t worry - we’ve all been there).
My top five tips for buying used furniture online are to:
- Know what you’re looking for
- Ask for more photos
- Measure twice
- Consider location
- Ask about the item’s history
1. Know what you’re looking for
Looking for the perfect dining table to suit your Art Deco Mid-Century Modern home online can be a struggle if you don’t know what elements or designers to look out for in your search. So first, do some research. Pin your favourite looks and styles of dining rooms, hunt around on your favourite design blogs or just ask people in your network and talk to friends who might have a table you love.
If you’re committed, you could even do some weekend window shopping at your favourite furniture stores and take note of the brands you love.
Then - you’re ready.
Use your knowledge and put that into your search. Get specific with words you are using in your search and use those words, like in this case “mid-century” in your search. It will get you a lot closer to finding what you want and being happy with the end result! You can also use brand names, colours, finishes, materials and styles in your search.
2. Ask for more photos
Buying used furniture online is a big deal, you might be spending a lot of money and you don’t want to waste your own time, let alone the seller’s time in coming to visit and changing your mind. Don’t be afraid to ask for more photos of the old furniture you are planning to buy. You may want to see more close up shots, the back of the item, underneath or just in a different light. This will help you decide whether it is in the condition you would like it to be in and there are no nasty surprises when you go to pick it up or get it delivered. It’s always best to know exactly what you are going to be getting before you make an effort to go and see it in person.
3. Measure twice
There’s an old saying “Measure twice, cut once” well I’m using it when buying furniture online. Measure twice, buy once. I have been in the situation where I have measured the old couch I purchased online, hired a van, picked it up, taken it to my apartment and it’s not fit up the staircase. I don’t need to tell you it was not a fun process. Eventually, I sold it again and found myself a new couch that actually fit up the staircase.
Measure, measure again and then measure once more for good measure! You don’t want to spend money on collecting or delivering a heavy piece of furniture you bought online only to find out, it doesn’t fit where you thought it would. That and the friends you have roped into helping you out on the day will not be impressed!
4. Consider location
Location can play a big role in buying used furniture online. If you don’t have the means or a handy dad or friend and need to pay for delivery - it can get quite costly to get something to your door
Though you can try finding a delivery guy offering their services through websites like Craigslist, Buddytruck, Dolly or Lugg which are all great sites to find someone to help with the heavy lifting and delivery.
You can also try extending your search location to be further out from where you live which can help you in your hunt for the perfect piece of used designer furniture - if you’re willing to travel. I have found that the best pieces of furniture with the most affordable price tag are always located miles from home, rather than the next town over. So extend your location search and if you’re willing to travel, you may just find that vintage Eames office chair you’ve been dreaming of since college.
5. Ask about the history
You never know the history of a piece of used furniture, and no - not the dirty kind but where it came from, to begin with. Don’t ask and you won’t know. Perhaps the cool 80’s retro lamp you’ve been “umming” and “ahhhing” about was once owned by Michael Jackson and the owner is just clearing out clutter. Or there may be a long family history behind the velvet armchair that is full of beautiful memories, it doesn’t hurt to ask and I bet the owner would be happy to share.
Hunting for one-of-a-kind used furniture online is a lot of fun, I hope you find that new old forever couch for your dream living room soon.