Part of the fun of moving into a new apartment is furnishing it. But if you’re on a budget, then Pottery Barn or Crate & Barrel excursions might need to be put on pause. But, you can source some great pieces to mix with your IKEA builds at thrift and consignment shops. No longer the graveyard for obsolete items (read: junk), second-hand stores are a treasure trove of perfectly good home furnishings and household items that with a little TLC, can be nice additions to your new home. While it’s true that discards at the end of their lifecycle are among the inventory in thrift stores and consignment shops, oftentimes, pieces are donated because the previous owners are redecorating or downsizing. Unsold items from estate and garage sales often end up at second-hand stores and flea markets.
Here are some pointers for finding bargains at second-hand stores:
Identify your decorating vibe before hitting the shops
If you have a particular aesthetic in mind, then find sources that cater to your style. In other words, don’t hit up a farmhouse-themed vendor if urban minimalism is your thing. Get to know the proprietors and vendors so they can alert you to new stock or work with you to lower their prices.
Look for real wood
A LOT of moderately priced contemporary furniture is made of medium-density fiberboard (MDF) overlaid with veneer. While there is nothing fundamentally wrong with such pieces, they aren’t known for their longevity. Natural solid wood products are more durable and retain their value longer than manufactured wood products. Don’t be turned off by scratches or chipped paint. If you like a challenge, you can strip wood furniture and stain or paint it however you like.
Check upholstered components
With a sofa or chair, inspect the upholstery for stains, tears, and signs of excessive wear. If the seat cushions have zippers, check those along with nail heads, trim, tufted buttons, etc., to make sure they are securely attached and that none of them are missing. Give a hard “no” to any furniture that smells like mold or mildew or shows any signs of pest infiltration. If you have a knack for reupholstering or replacing buttons or nail heads, go for it if the bones of the piece are viable.
Miscellaneous household goods
You can find some great sets of dishware, glasses, cutlery, and cooking gear at thrift stores. If you’re lucky, you can find entire sets, or mix and match to curate a bespoke tableware collection. The same goes for decorative items. If you’re buying a small appliance or lamp, make sure that the cords and plugs are secure and you can ask the shop owner to plug the item in to test it. Steer clear of anything with frayed cords or if it would be cheaper to buy a new product than taking a risk on a used one. (Remember the used Crockpot that caused the fatal fire in “This Is Us.”)
Don’t be afraid to negotiate
Vendors are often eager to move inventory so they can bring in new merchandise. If something has been sitting around for a while, make an offer.
With an open mind, an eye for an item’s potential, patience, and a little elbow grease, you can find some great bargains at thrift stores and consignment shops. Who knows? You might just find that gently used posh leather Pottery Barn sofa that somebody donated, and save a bundle. It’s worth a look and a fun way to get to know your new city.
Decorating your new VC Apartment
The great thing about living in a Vision Community is the space is yours to decorate and make it your own. So whether you decide to buy new or hit the local thrift shop, your apartment is yours to create, decorate, and furnish with whatever fits your style.
If you are looking for a new apartment, be sure to put a VC community on your list to tour. We have floor plans for you to view virtually or in person. Our spacious, studio, 1 bedroom, 2 bedroom, and 3 bedroom apartment layouts provide cozy space. Check out our luxurious apartment floorplans in one of our communities and enjoy life at the VC.
Schedule a tour today and see why Vision Communities is a great place to live.