Vintage pieces are the best way to give your home a unique look and feel. Used furniture and home furnishings are highly sought for, and not just by thrifty recent grads furnishing their first apartments. The unidentified person behind the Thrift & Tell deal-hunting website and social media profiles argues, “Everyone should be shopping secondhand.” You can locate unique and interesting products that no one else will have, and it’s lot more environmentally friendly than buying brand new things all the time.
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Although one may classify the purchase of vintage goods or antiques as a form of secondhand shopping, the true distinction lies in the buyer’s desire for, and appreciation of, the item rather than any consideration of its provenance, age, or other such factors. Designer Marissa Whitley Tago of The Whitley Co. puts it this way: “Regardless of budget, style, space, or vibe, secondhand allows you to surprise yourself with the unknown, grants a space soul and story, and enables you to ethically acquire anything under the sun.”
The one pitfall that is oftentimes easier to avoid with brand-new pieces straight from the retailer is knowing when you’ve spotted a deal and when you’ve, well, not. Remember these guidelines for buying used furniture and household goods online before you go on your secondhand adventure.
Tips for Shopping Secondhand Home Decor Online
1. Use Trusted, Verified Sites
Buying secondhand can certainly be worth it, but in order to reap the reward, you need to start with a reputable retailer. “I only make large purchases on well-trusted and verified sites like 1stDibs, Chairish, and Etsy,” says Tago. When browsing peer-to-peer sites (such as Etsy or eBay), Thrift & Tell suggests checking a seller’s rating as well as how many ratings they have. “If you are buying a brand name or paying a premium, be sure to look out for vague language like ‘I think it is antique,’ ‘Appears to be gold plated’ or ‘Received as a gift, so not sure.’ These are not always red flags, but at least should be a signal to do your due diligence.”
2. Check (and Double-Check) Dimensions
Investing in used goods can pay off, but only if you find a trustworthy dealer to work with to begin with. Tago says, “When I’m ready to spend a lot of money, I exclusively shop at reputable online marketplaces like 1stDibs, Chairish, and Etsy.” Thrift & Tell recommends looking at a seller’s feedback and rating on marketplaces like Etsy and eBay. Be wary of statements like “I suppose it is antique,” “Appears to be gold plated,” or “Received as a gift, therefore not sure” if you are paying a premium for a name brand item. Those aren’t necessarily warning signs, but they should send up a red flag and prompt more investigation.
3. Utilize the “Previously Sold” Filter
Looking at the prices at which similar items have sold in the past is a simple way to be sure you are getting a fair deal. You can use this to get a feel for fair prices, as promised by Thrift & Tell. To quickly get a feel for the going rate for a given item, you may narrow your search to just include recently sold products on most websites. When performing this task, it is important to compare prices at similar websites. Current market value is another good indicator of value if the object is not particularly old.
How to Find the Best Deals for Secondhand Accessories
While finding a great price is likely at the top of your mind when shopping for used furniture and home decor, creating a unique and personalized space is the primary motivation for many shoppers. However, it’s not always the case that the cheapest couch is the best one to buy. Future requirements and unforeseen expenses must be taken into account. A pair of $80 wingback chairs may seem like a steal, but if they need to be reupholstered and must be sent from overseas (two factors that are rarely an issue when shopping in person), you may not be getting nearly the deal you might have thought you were. Thrift and Tell suggests customers avoid items that will incur high shipping or repair costs. It is possible that your final bill will be far higher than what you had budgeted for.
Best Places to Shop Secondhand Furniture and Décor Online
To make sure your high-end purchases are genuine, 1stDibs is the best global marketplace to use. Tago explains that 1stDibs promises to only sell genuine items from their network of over 4,000 trustworthy suppliers. Users can place bids on auction products or negotiate prices on a marketplace. They also facilitate interaction between buyers and sellers, facilitating the exchange of more product details, customization options, and more.
Chairish has a unique feature that allows customers to test out furniture before making a purchase, which is a huge plus in the competitive furniture market. The customer can submit an image of their room and get a virtual preview of the furniture in its prospective new setting. Follow your favorite designers and tastemakers for curated recommendations, or do a more targeted search for vintage, pre-owned, or antique furniture on Chairish. Select the appropriate category from the search bar to narrow your results to new and custom products offered by the firm. You can keep track of your search history and saved preferences.
Used furniture and decor can be found at decent prices on eBay if you’re patient and persistent. You should exercise caution because less regulation applies to this user-run marketplace. Be on the lookout for purchasers who display badges attesting to their positive sales history, and investigate the ratings and feedback of any sellers you’re considering doing business with. Look for low-priced objects that have personal meaning when browsing eBay for home decor, as this means “authentication doesn’t even come into play,” as stated by Thrift & Tell.
While Etsy is known for its abundance of handcrafted furniture and home accents, intrepid shoppers can also find vintage treasures there. You can use it to find unique and refinished furniture. Tago adds, “I love Etsy because I feel like I’m helping artists directly and building relationships with fellow creatives that will hopefully last a long time.”
Everything But the House
If you are searching for something truly one-of-a-kind, go no farther than Everything But the House. The opening bid for each item is one dollar, and the price will continue to rise until the end of the auction. There is a wealth of information on the site about what to look for in practically every field. If you’re looking to buy used furniture online, be sure to read their guide. The site has evolved from its original purpose of modernizing the estate sale into a place where people from all over the world may find one-of-a-kind treasures and experience the rush of winning an auction, regardless of their location.
Although Mercari is a national marketplace, consumers may easily narrow their search to a certain city or neighborhood. Instead than coordinating with the seller directly, you may arrange delivery using the app, and an Uber-powered delivery process means you never have to meet the person dropping off your item. It doesn’t matter if you shop locally or online, there’s always a potential that you won’t be satisfied with your purchase. You have three days from the time you receive your purchase to verify that it is exactly as described in the listing. You can request a return if you discover that the product is not as described. If the corporation decides the item can be returned, the seller must accept it.
Although luxury consigner The RealReal might be known for its fashion offerings, but there are deals to be found in the home category as well. From coffee table books to fine art, furniture, and more, The RealReal’s selections skew more toward luxury items but they also focus on authentication, putting a guarantee on every item they sell. They make it happen with a team of hundreds of brand authenticators and experts, who personally inspect the products to help ensure you get what you pay for.