Shopping at thrift stores for furniture is not only a great way to add a unique and personal touch to your home, but it could also save you a fortune compared to buying everything new. Thrift store hunting isn’t always easy. You may have to step outside your comfort zone. While you’ll have to learn a few things about thinking outside the box and spotting quality when you see it, there’s nothing better than unearthing a hidden gem.
Thinking Outside the Box
Nothing screams thrift store find more than the phrase “a diamond in the rough.” One of the first things you’ll have to learn when shopping in this market is how to look past the immediate faults and think about how the piece could look with a little TLC. For instance, couches or chairs with frayed or stained fabrics can easily be dismissed, yet these could be refinished, by you or a professional, and turned into something almost completely unrecognisable.
In fact, one of the most fun things about thrift store hunting is that you’ll learn new skills. Buffing scratches out of a table or reupholstering a sofa will become rudimentary within time. Before you know it, you might even own your own mouse sander and DIY tasks that you previously didn’t think you’d be able to tackle will become second nature to you.
Learning to Spot Quality
Sometimes items are cheap simply because they’re poorly made. The easiest way to spot quality is to look for a label or some kind of identifier of the manufacturer. You’re unlikely to find a Thayer Coggin or a Charles and Ray Eames original, though, so be open minded. Remember that just because it doesn’t have a brand associated with doesn’t mean it isn’t well-made. Often times the most interesting pieces are handcrafted and individually made. With a few simple tests that anyone can do, you’ll be able to get a better idea about the quality of the craftsmanship.
Start with the basics: if the piece has any doors, drawers, or panels, these should sit flush with the rest of it. Ideally, they won’t require a great deal of effort to open either. Next, apply a reasonable amount of force and keep your ears open for if it starts to creak. If anything feels like it could coming loose or it starts to wobble, you’ll know if hasn’t been assembled with care.
Lots of first-time thrift shoppers can lose the spark early on when their initial visits turn out to be duds. The reality is, this will be the case a lot of the time. You won’t strike gold every trip so stay patient and keep returning on a regular schedule. Eventually, you’ll find that one of a kind piece that makes it all worthwhile.