Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Why buy second hand or vintage furniture

Someone who didn't know me very well, obviously, asked me the other day "why would you buy second hand furniture?" To be honest, I was a bit in shock. Hello...What ...people don't know?

If you read my blog regularly, actually if you read any DIY blog regularly, you are probably a second hand vintage furniture lover and appreciate the magic that paint can weave. However I know a huge proportion of people, when looking to decorate their house, automatically head to shops selling new furniture. Perhaps I might be able to sway some of them...

Vintage furniture painted by Lilyfield Life

Why buy second hand Furniture?

Second hand Furniture is Good for your Finances

If you have a limited budget or don’t want to spend a fortune furnishing and decorating your home, second hand furniture is perfect. Many pieces of second hand furniture are structurally sound and still look great; they were just not wanted any more by their previous owners. People change styles, have changing requirements, downsize, pass away etc and yet the furniture still may have a lot of years of use left. Even if there are slight defects you can repair these easily by repainting (see my painting tutorials), by reupholsteringsanding out marks and scratches etc. By buying second hand or pre-loved, you are often able to buy a better quality product than you would be able to afford otherwise. 

beautiful Second hand vintage dining room furniture
Table, chairs, sideboard, mirror all second hand - total spent $225

Second Hand Furniture is Good for the Environment

Buying second hand is environmentally responsible. You are saving something from landfill and extending its product life as well as not buying something new which in turn reduces your carbon footprint and CO2 emissions because of less production, raw material sourcing and logistics. It's amazing what you can find on the side of the road the evening before council clean up. One man's trash is another man's treasure.

fabulous thrifted finds
fabulous finds at Auction

Second Hand Furniture is Good - They don't make it like they used to!

You can buy solid vintage furniture that is beautifully made and has already stood the test of time. Choosing second hand furniture allows you to buy higher quality furniture while still staying within a lower budget.  I also think that when you are buying vintage furniture that the problems will already have shown themselves - if the wood is going to split or sag, it probably already would have. Just make sure you inspect your second hand furniture before buying it.

Create your own style

Mix and matching old and new furniture and pieces is a great way to create a unique home d├ęcor style without spending very much money. In a society that increasingly prizes individuality, by not buying the latest trend that's on sale in a huge department store or shopping at places like IKEA where millions of other people own the exact same item, buying second hand vintage pieces will create a fantastic eclectic look that will speak of your own style.  For me, this is one of the best reasons for buying vintage furniture, I'm not one who wants my house to look like a shopping catalogue or showroom.

Vintage furniture: create your own style
Second hand Cabinet, frame, armchairs, coffee table, vintage wire crate

The thrill of the bargain hunt

Thrifting is fun. We all know how good it is to find a "bargain". Finding second hand furniture is exciting and very rewarding - the hunt for the treasure is as much of the story as owning it. 

A little slice of history

I think the idea of someone having owned the furniture before you is what turns a lot of people off buying second hand furniture but I love a piece's history. I love the signs of age and use and the smooth well worn handles showing signs of years of use. I love that a family before mine has had that piece of furniture serving a purpose in their home. Sure of course I clean my second hand furniture well, airing out smells and wipe away years of grime and dust. I'm also very particular about second hand upholstery and there's no way I'd ever be tempted to buy a second hand mattress or safety equipment.

Hopefully if you weren't already convinced about the beauty of buying pre-loved items then this post will sway you to not buy into the whole convenience
of cheaply made, throw-away goods that abound in retail shops today. 

Second hand furniture: Cabinet, chalkboard frame, French Pot, (and through door, lamp and bedside table)

I'll be back tomorrow with a guide on what to look for when buying second hand vintage furniture.


Shared here: My Uncommon Slice of SuburbiaSavvy Southern StyleDedicated houseMiss Mustard SeedRedoux interiorsFrench Country Cottage A Stroll thru life power of Paint My Repurposed Life Fabulous Furniture  Coastal Charm  transformation Thursday Shabby Nest Natasha in Oz


  1. A fantastic post Fiona and so true especially if people buy your beautiful preloved furniture. It's so beautiful and unique and still cheaper than what you can buy new in shops. I appreciate your creativity and how you share your knowledge and talent. thanks Beth

  2. You are so right... I love second hand furniture...the thrill of the hunt, the transformation, the feeling of accomplishment ...not to mention that most are one of a kind pieces... My home is filled with these pieces and I wouldn't trade it at all... Great post..

  3. yes yes yes! for all of those reasons and then some!

  4. Agree with all this Fiona, such a fantastic post. Your furniture and your house are beautiful!

  5. Great points- agree with them all. Adele

  6. Plus, if you redid the furniture yourself, you have the sense of pride and satisfaction of making it look beautiful. It is a form of artistic expression and very fulfilling to look at a piece of furniture and think, "I did that."

  7. Totally agree. I like second hand furniture as I like pieces with lots of detail - carving, crown moulding, dove tail joins etc... and new furniture doesn't always have this. If they do they are usually very expensive. Looking forward to reading your guide.
    Kylie x

  8. good points Fiona, I love the uniqueness of old furniture. I'm with you about IKEA. I can't abide it. It is so short term and wasteful. I would rather spend my money on something that lasts for a life time. It's one of the many reasons I follow your blog - I love how you bring back furniture into life and make it very beautiful.

  9. Great post Fiona. We are living in such a disposable society I feel showing my girls the value of re-using older pieces is a really important life lesson.

  10. Fiona, I completely agree! When moved to Michigan a few years ago, we trolled garage sales (there are about a billion each summer in SE MI) and thrift stores to furnish our home. We were newlyweds with a teensy budget and had so much fun learning how to refresh second hand furniture. Plus, we now have one of a kind pieces that we will treasure for a long time. Thanks for sharing your tips! PS: I found you through the Inspire Me Tuesday linkup :)

    1. and Amy, I know that every time you look at your furniture you will will have such good memories and pride of your efforts in finding it and doing it up!
      cheers Fiona

  11. Great post! Pinned and Sharing on face book:)

  12. You are so right...Buying second hand is truly being green. BTW the piece came out fabulous.


    1. And buying second hand is so much fun!!
      Thanks Paula for commenting
      Cheers Fiona

  13. Agreed! Lovely post :)

  14. It is better to buy vintage furniture than a new one because it is less costly and you can get quality product in less span of time without worry about how to buy and where to buy a new one.


Thanks for taking the time to comment! Sorry if you have trouble commenting, you can always email me at lilyfieldlife@bigpond.com