When my husband brought home this coffee table from the thrift store last year, I'll be honest--I didn't see the vision for it. It was oversized, green, and not exactly my style (so I thought). It actually happens to us fairly frequently! He texts me with a picture at Restore and I see the scrapes and chipping paint. But I'm so glad he snagged this one. This is now one of my favorite pieces in our living room! Our coffee table is unique and gives us a lot of storage for tv remotes, plus I get to display some of my favorite vintage things under glass (away from 7 year old fingers!)
I'm not writing a tutorial for it this time because to be honest I can't remember all the details (...DIY blogger fail, ha!) and my husband did most of the work. Instead I am sharing: 4 questions you should always ask yourself when deciding to buy thrift store furniture.
1. Is It a Good Price?
This is relative to each of us and where we live (and our access to cheap thrift stores). In Minnesota I once scored Thonet Bentwood chairs for super cheap, and finding mid century dressers for under $20 was a regular thing.
In North Carolina I've had to adjust my "find" budget a bit--some pieces we buy are between $20-40 but its worth it if it would retail for over $100. My advice? Definitely google while you are standing in the thrift store to evaluate an item's value. And put a hand on said item, you never know who might walk up behind you and try to buy it!
2. Are the "Bones" of the Piece Your Style?
Is this something you can't wait to add to your home? Can you think of the room it would go in? Decide that before you buy, or trust me--it will end up in your garage. You can change the fabric and paint color of most furniture pieces but if you are firmly modern and the furniture piece has swoops and swirls in the wood, pass. It is difficult to change the genre of a furniture piece.
3. Does this Piece Have Quality Craftsmanship?
This is important! When looking for used furniture look for good joints in the drawers. Look for hardwood (veneer/laminate only if it is in good condition and doesn't need to be painted). And keep in mind too, if you are planning to paint a piece of furniture, sanding smooth panels is easier than sanding a piece with lots of curves and bevels. Check all drawers, and check the stability of the furniture piece (do the legs need work?)
4. Do I Have a Vision for This Piece of Furniture?
Thankfully when my husband brought home the weathered green coffee table, he knew he wanted to paint it gray. He also knew he wanted to add fabric to the top drawer to accent some of our vintage. He had a vision for the furniture piece.
Take some time in store to think about the piece and what you want to do with it. Where it would go. If you can't think of how you'd use the furniture piece in your home, leave it at the store. Otherwise you'll end up with clutter and a lot of unfinished projects.
Can you think of any other important questions you should ask yourself when buying used furniture from the thrift store?
I LOVE shopping used. Its one of my favorite things. How about you?
Quick side-note--I just took pictures of my home office and I plan to share details about it on the blog next week! I can't wait to share how a little paint and accessories can make a space feel fresh and modern.