From DIY refresh opportunities to environmental impact — here are all the benefits of showing pre-loved furniture some...new love.
When your sofa starts to sag or the dinner table loses its luster, shopping for new furniture is a no-brainer, right? Well slow down there, friend! Before heading out to a big box store you might consider redecorating by making repairs or buying secondhand. Fixing things up or buying pre-loved furniture is an eco-friendly and money-saving decorating approach that brings character and creativity into every room of your home!
Secondhand Furniture Puts the Planet First
It's tempting to buy brand-new when you want to redecorate, and we get it… we really do (shiny things are cool!). The fact is, however, purchasing new furniture contributes to ongoing environmental issues. Buying pre-owned items or breathing new life into your old furnishings can, alternatively, help reduce some pressing ecological problems. Let’s show you what we mean.
The furniture industry ranks third worldwide in wood consumption. With deforestation numbers hitting record highs, you can help decrease consumer demand by choosing used furniture or repairing what you own.
With thousands of tons of furniture ending up in landfills each year in the U.S., refurbishing your thrift store finds is a simple way to reduce the burden. As of 2021, researchers estimate landfills will reach full capacity in about 15 years. No editorializing needed; this is just a really frightening fact.
Choosing pre-owned furniture and decor cuts down on new plastic production, which has increased by 4.3 million tons since 2010. According to the same EPA study, over 26 million tons of plastic waste ended up in landfills in 2018.
Buying used takes packaging waste out of the equation, too. Visiting a local thrift shop or using social media to connect with sellers in your city reduces the carbon footprint of your purchase. Not only will there be no plastic wrap and packing peanuts, but you’ll also cut down gas use from cars — your own and delivery vehicles!
Secondhand Furniture Saves Money
Environmental impact aside, buying secondhand is a blessing for your budget. Brand-new dining sets, sectionals, bed frames, and other furnishings are expensive — and assembly and delivery fees add up quickly. Hunting for used furniture at garage sales, joining buy-and-sell groups, or simply sprucing up pieces you already own helps you help your wallet. Here’s how!
Furniture retailers maximize profits to keep the lights on with markups of up to 400% over manufacturer pricing. Choosing pre-owned items reduces your risk of overspending at big box stores or furniture showrooms.
Browsing a company's online catalog or strolling through store displays encourages impulse buys, often by design (sneaky psychology — and yes, that is obviously the technical term). You're less likely to pick up nonessentials when shopping secondhand. If you do grab a few extras at the thrift store, however, the odds of going over budget are slim.
When shopping for secondhand decor, you're almost guaranteed a better deal than buying retail. Maybe you’re in love with retro-style patio furniture? Buying and restoring your neighbor's vintage outdoor set is far cheaper than the markup on a showroom price tag. Plus, if you’re into retro stuff, keep it real and buy…actual retro stuff! It’s authentic.
Tips for Recycling Secondhand Furniture
While the idea of searching for secondhand furniture and fixing it up may seem daunting (don’t worry, we feel you), many people find this hobby immensely satisfying! From repurposing pre-owned furniture to refreshing the look of well-loved decor, incorporating these recycling skills into your life is fairly straight-forward.
It’s easy to get overwhelmed with handy-work, especially in the beginning when you’re as excited as you are inexperienced. Taking on too much or jumping into advanced projects is a real thing, and it can be frustrating! So take it easy on yourself. Start with small repairs and break down bigger DIY projects into manageable tasks — especially those requiring new skills. Pick up new-to-you thrift store pieces one at a time, so you don't get overwhelmed with projects.
Little Changes Make a Big Difference
A fresh coat of paint on a dining set or a reupholstered ottoman gives furniture an instant update. Consider simple DIY fixes like paint, wood stain, and upholstery fabric to #bless your old digs with a fresh new look. Plus, did we mention that fixing up your home can even improve your mood and boost your confidence?
Reach Out to Others
If you're having trouble with a repair, phone a friend! Or…check out this handy guide we’ve crafted with love, just for you.
Or maybe when you rent some tools from a very helpful neighbor, using a very helpful app (cough), that person may have some great advice for you! 😎
Once you get more comfortable shopping secondhand and making repairs and upgrades on your own, expand your skills and take on more challenges. Once you have a few satisfying projects under your belt, picking up used furniture for your home will feel like second nature. You’ll also be able to share some of those new skills you’ve picked up with other folks down the line! Ya gotta pay it forward after all.
Whether you prefer to spruce up your own furniture, discover pre-loved gems at garage sales, or turn old objects into new pet furniture — enjoy the journey as well as the destination. By selecting previously owned furniture, you're not just helping the environment and saving a bunch of money. You're also flexing your creative muscles, learning new skills, and putting your unique spin on the furniture and decor in your home.
Hopefully we’ve shown you that fixing up your furniture and buying secondhand are budget-friendly options that are also kind to the Earth. Of course, you'll still need materials to make repairs, reupholster seats, or refurbish surfaces — and you’ll need the tools to get that work done.