Tips and tricks
✅ First, it’s worth not trying to be too specific about what you want – or you may never find what you need. Perhaps stay open-minded and consider letting the furniture determine the direction of the interior. Maybe you’ll fall in love with an old country-inspired chest of drawers and decide to implement a Cottagecore feel, or maybe you’ll stumble upon a beautiful retro wardrobe that’d be perfect in a 70s-style bedroom? You could also consider painting second-hand furniture to better match the style you have in mind.
✅ Once you’re sure what furniture you need, knowing your measurements is the next step. There’s often no returns policy for second-hand furniture, so the right fit is crucial. It might be useful to carry the measurements and photos of the space on your phone – you never know when you might stumble on a wonderful bedside table or the ideal bedroom chair. Measuring the size of your doorways and/or stairwell will also save you a lot of hassle (trust us, you don’t want to learn this lesson the hard way).
✅ Buying online is a convenient way to scour through second-hand furniture and find some real bargains, but it makes sense to also see the item before parting with your money. The condition’s important and it’s got to feel right. Remember it’s worth waiting to bag that Good Find.
✅ If you live in a city or large town, it’s always a good idea to be willing travel out a bit to find what you’re looking for. If you’re able to do this, the larger search area can open up more potential finds and lead you to some lovely pieces you might otherwise have missed. Just make sure you’ve got the boot space to get it home.
✅ Try and remember to take cash for making purchases quickly. Not everyone will be willing to hold items for you, and you don’t want to be disappointed. To know you’re getting a good deal, though, research the cost of the furniture pieces you like online so you have a rough idea. There’s also the option to barter if you think it’s overpriced, but this is more common at car boot sales or markets.
✅ Finally, it’s great to have fun! The more you buy second-hand furniture the more you’ll get a sense of your likes and what to spend money on.
Our top items to buy second-hand
Second-hand dressers work well to fill larger bedroom spaces. They’re normally made using quality wood and have unique detailing, too. Dressers can be easily adapted with new handles or a lick of paint, and they’re also a practical storage option for work equipment or accessories, for example.
Mirrors and vintage art
Rugs can be expensive bought new, so second-hand rugs are an affordable option. Taking your time to source your dream rug is well worth the effort.
Second-hand bedside tables are usually cheap (freebies, even), and easy to find in various styles. If there are only a few things you’re planning to buy second-hand, bedside tables are one of the safest bets.
What to avoid
Although buying second-hand furniture has so many advantages, there are certain items best avoided, and situations when you should walk away.
If you know who the mattress belonged to and how old it is, a used mattress can be an acceptable option for people on a budget. But if these things are unknown, it’s best to avoid second-hand mattresses altogether. It’s not possible to know what has got into a used mattress or what germs lurk in it – mould, dust mites or bed bugs are but a few examples.
This is not always a no-go, but it’s best to avoid upholstered bedroom chairs, or sofas that look heavily used. Lumps, bumps and sagging cushions are all difficult to fix and will generally be uncomfortable.
Furniture that smells
It’s not always known where furniture has been used or stored, but the smell can be an unpleasant giveaway. Once odours such as smoke, pets or cooking smells absorb into furniture, they can be difficult to get rid of. This is particularly the case with upholstery and soft woods.
If you have the know-how, a lot of second-hand furniture can be fixed or adapted, but certain types of damage are unrepairable. This includes woodworm and rotting wood, bad water damage, and wood with burn marks. It might also be useful to test any furniture before you buy – open and close the drawers and doors to check hinges work properly, and place items on shelves to test the sturdiness in wardrobes and chests of drawers. It can often be hard to source missing parts, so that’s worth thinking about before buying incomplete furniture.
Looking to refresh your bedroom? Take a look at our tips on simple DIY bedroom updates you can do in a weekend. With so many second-hand furniture available at the touch of a screen, buying second-hand has never been easier. Why not discover the bedroom furniture bargains waiting for you at Gumtree?