I’m sure this isn’t going to be a startling revelation for most people, but I wanted to share how much I love finding the potential in slightly worn (but solid) furniture. While I definitely have a few things from Ikea in my house, like our new KIVIK sofa, and occasionally cheap will trump quality, I usually try to buy solid wood pieces. Buying solid wood furniture doesn’t mean you have to spend a lot of money if you keep an open mind and consider buying second-hand. I have had a lot of success by routinely checking thrift stores like Value Village for steals. One of my favourites to date has been these chevron-backed wooden chairs that were only $11 for the pair.
I try to look beyond the colour/finish of an item, because it’s easy enough to throw on a coat of paint or change the upholstery. Stripping, sanding, and restaining takes a bit more work, but for the right price it can be worth the hours of elbow grease. I’ve also been really lucky to inherit some great pieces from family members. I scored our dining room chairs as well as my dresser from my sister and her husband; the chairs have been reupholstered twice and the dresser got new hardware and a new paint job last year. I’ve never touched the wood on the chairs- some of them are a tad worn in places so it’s on my “eventually” to-do list, but overall they still look great.
My sister also gave me the old coffee table that they had bought when she was finishing school and just needed some cheap furniture in their rental unit (actually, writing this post has made me realize how much of my furniture originally came from my sis and bro-in-law… Thanks guys! Maybe I should have called this post “Why I Love My Sister and Kev”!). The colour and style left a lot to be desired, so I painted it and asked my husband to install a shelf to make it prettier and more functional. I found storage baskets that fit our board games and it became a functional storage space too! I can’t forget to mention the sectional sofa that my in-laws gave us, which I slipcovered with canvas- my biggest sewing project to date.
In the past year I’ve been on the hunt for a few more pieces, and two success stories that I am pretty proud of are a solid maple dresser from Kijiji for $40 and a cute little end table that I found at the Habitat for Humanity ReStore for $21. As soon as the snow melts, you can bet I’ll be in the garage giving them some love with a bit of paint and stain.
If you are looking for a “new” piece of furniture, make sure you check in first at your local thrift store, browse Kijiji, or ask family and friends… maybe they have something they are looking to get rid of that you can rejuvenate with some new paint or fabric. Try to get creative with how you can change the look of something that isn’t exactly what you want, and you might score a deal on something solid that will last a lot longer than a lot of stuff you can buy brand new, for a fraction of the price.
Have you found any great steals second-hand that you transformed with some elbow grease and paint? Are you a hoarder like me with a garage full of projects for the Spring/Summer?
[Side note: I’m always careful when buying from a stranger online; I bring a friend or meet the seller at a public place, like a Tim’s parking lot. Safety first! Another thing I’m wary of is the possibility of bringing bedbugs home with used furniture, so I treat stuff before it enters my house.]