There seems to be a stigma attached to buying second hand furniture online – or buying anything second hand for that matter. In our throw-away society, we’re already seeing a shift. People are starting to turn away from fast fashion and single-use plastics and opting for a more mindful approach to living in general.
I’ve often raved about the gems I’ve found on my Instagram feed and this blog post has been on my list to write for a while! As we’ve just spent all of our money on a new house (actually a very old house with an interesting history), we had nothing left to fill some of the empty spaces. I had no choice but to scour online for used furniture, and now I’m so glad I did. Mixing old pieces with new gives a far more interesting depth to a space. I love the slightly eclectic feel too. Before I get started with my go-to places to buy second hand furniture online, I wanted to convince you (if you’re not quite there yet…) as to why you should give it a go.
You’ll be amazed how much money you’ll save
If you love nice things, this is how you get that champagne home on a lemonade budget. And these websites don’t always just sell second-hand. I bought a brand new single mattress last week, still in it’s original packaging for £70. When I looked online, that same mattress was selling for £260. You can find pretty much anything online now, you just need to know where to look and keep an eye out. Even if you don’t have the time or are put off by renovating a piece of furniture, there’s plenty of items that are great just as they are. I say renovating as I loathe ‘shabby-chic’ that people label any painted piece of furniture. I like mine less shabby and more chic please!
New doesn’t mean better quality
In fact, some of the most coveted pieces of furniture are second/third/fourth hand. The quality of craftsmanship and design has been lost with many brands churning out mass-produced same-ity. This isn’t the same for all shops and I’m certainly not bashing all contemporary furniture designers. But for those of us not wanting the same rug, chair or lamp as in every other home in the country, then second-hand is the place to head for. When buying used furniture, do try before you buy. Open up drawers and doors and check that it’s as advertised. Some solid wood furniture wears better than others – soft woods such as pine don’t have as much longevity.
You’re helping the environment
Buying second-hand is a great way to reduce your personal environmental impact. Many people selling items online are downsizing their home, or simply no longer need the item. Every pre-loved piece you buy, is one less item sent to landfill. Win-win.
Where to buy used furniture online
This is the first place that I head to for anything second-hand, vintage or antique. There tends to be more people selling their own items rather than people selling for a business. The prices are generally lower than other websites and eBay actually advertise that their sellers make 2.7x more than Facebook marketplace sellers. With Facebook there’s a focus on local listings. The idea is for you to buy items from people in your area and go and collect them rather than use couriers or the post office. You can change your search settings to show items within a certain radius too if you don’t want to travel too far. It also gives you suggestions based on your recent searches which is handy if you don’t find what you’re looking for the first time around.
eBay is also very good, but you have to drill down to find the good stuff. It’s inundated with business selling rubbish so I always change the settings to only show ‘private sellers’ (this tip is a game changer!). You can then filter to show nearest items first if you want to save on courier costs. Do be specific with what you’re looking for, ‘Philippe Starck Kartell masters chair’ or ‘solid wood console table’ work better than ‘dining chair’ or ‘wood table’. Consider your budget and make sure you stick to it when bidding!
I’m yet to buy anything from here myself, but that’s more because of lack of finding exactly what I’m looking for! If you can sift your way through the shabby chic botch jobs then you can find yourself some real bargains!
Online furniture auctions
There are some online auction houses that get their stock mostly from house and business clearances, liquidations and repossessions. Bidspotter is my favourite for luxury furniture and interior accessories and this is where I’ll head to for my new dining chairs. You’ll expect to pay high street prices for high-end designer pieces.
I’ve used Etsy a few times in the past as I love some of the eclectic things you can find. You can filter on either vintage or handmade, but everything is at a higher standard then some of the other online marketplaces where you have to dig out the good stuff. Even the upcycled furniture is done well!
Online charity shops
I do love a good rummage around charity shops specialising in furniture, but the beauty with online is that you can do it from the comfort of your sofa! Plus there’s the added warm glow you get of giving something back to a good cause. Here are a few online charity shops that sell furniture and homewares:
I keep a list of what I need (with measurements) in order of priority so that if I spot something online I can act quick to snap it up! I’d love to see some of your second-hand gems in situ so do tag me on insta!