Reduce, reuse, recycle. You probably hear this call to action pretty regularly, but don’t stop to consider how your furniture buying decisions relate to it. Buying used kitchen furniture is environmentally-friendly, with the added bonus of being kind to your wallet. Follow the trusty tips below for a guide to buying secondhand dining room furniture.
Where to Shop
Gently used dining room furniture items are in abundance, so you won’t have to travel far to begin shopping. Check out garage and estate sales, consignment stores, and websites such as Craigslist. At estate sales, comb the less obvious parts of the house first, like the garage or basement, and skip sales that are open to dealers before the public.
Browse with Confidence
Once you spot the item you fancy, establish if the price listed is firm. If it’s not, assess the furniture for any scratches, dents, stains, or tears before you begin to barter. Have a discerning eye regarding whether or not a dining room piece is structurally sound by performing a thorough check of all joints and supports. Also make sure there’s no rotten or warped wood. Drawers should be dovetailed and jointed securely, and glide in and out easily. A table should be well balanced, and leaves should fit properly and match the grain and finish of the table. If you have any doubts about the item being structurally sound, then don’t buy!
If a piece of furniture just needs a little TLC, then make a clear plan of what you’ll need to do to repair it, whether it’s sanding and refinishing, or adding coats of paint. If you’ve got your eye on an antique dining room table, consider that the simplest way to rejuvenate a damaged wood finish is to apply a good-quality paste wax. Avoid high-luster tables altogether; they’ll likely visibly show that you weren’t their first owner.
Chairs tend to be more expensive than just the table, so secondhand dining room furniture shopping is a great opportunity to embrace the eclectic look by mixing and matching chairs. If you prefer the look of matching chairs, try to buy the dining tables and chairs as a set—you stand a better chance of getting a deal. If the chairs have fabric seats, ensure that you check the condition of the fabric (watch out for mold!). Bear in mind that reupholstering chairs is not a cheap endeavor—it can easily cost a few hundred dollars per chair.
Warning: When shopping, remember that older painted items could contain lead paint, which is toxic, so be on the lookout for manufacturer's tags that say the paint used is lead-free. To be safe, wear a dust mask and handle the furniture and paint dust with care when refinishing any old painted furniture. Try to prevent children from having any contact with items in the home that could have lead paint.
Remember, if you don't find what you need second-hand, we've got some pretty great furniture as well!