How to Choose Quality Secondhand Furniture

by Apr 19, 2024Blog0 comments

Purchasing secondhand furniture is not only economical but also an environmentally conscious choice. However, selecting high-quality pieces requires careful consideration to ensure you get the best value for your money and avoid any pitfalls. Here’s a guide on what to look for when shopping for used furniture.

Welcome to e Furniture Repurposing, Perth’s best destination for high quality secondhand furniture. At e Furniture Repurposing, we pride ourselves on offering a diverse and meticulously curated selection of pre-loved furniture that adds unique character and style to your home or office. 

Assessing the Condition

Stability and Structure

  • Tables, Chairs, and Sofas: To ensure robustness, physically interact with the furniture. Sit on chairs to test their capacity to bear weight without wobbling. Lean gently on tables to check for any movement or instability. Use both hands to shake the piece lightly to assess overall stability.
  • Drawers and Cabinets: Open and close all drawers and doors to check their functionality. Ensure that drawers pull out smoothly and close flush without jamming or squeaking. Check that doors sit evenly when shut and do not drag at the bottom or top.

Frame Quality

  • Upholstered Furniture: Evaluate the frame by lifting one corner or leg up to about 6 inches off the ground. If the opposite corner quickly rises, the frame is likely rigid and strong. Listen for creaking or popping sounds which may indicate deterioration or previous repairs.
  • Materials: Prefer furniture with solid wood frames as they offer greater durability and are more capable of withstanding weight and stress. Be wary of frames constructed from particleboard or metal, which may not endure prolonged use as well.

Surface Check

  • Scratches and Dents: Carefully inspect the surface from various angles to catch light reflecting off scratches and dents. Some superficial scratches can be easily remedied with a bit of polish or a furniture marker.
  • Water Marks and Burns: Look for discoloration or cloudy areas caused by water damage. These can sometimes be restored but may require professional treatment. Burns or melted areas, particularly on wood, might only be fixable through professional refinishing.

Identifying Durable Materials


  • Types and Characteristics: Hardwoods such as oak, maple, and teak are known for their durability and resistance to wear. Softwoods like pine are less durable but often cheaper and easier to refinish.
  • Veneers vs. Solid Wood: Veneers can be a cost-effective alternative to solid wood, offering attractive surfaces without the price tag of hardwood. Ensure the veneer is well-applied without peeling edges or bubbles.


  • Inspection Points: Examine all metal parts for structural integrity and signs of fatigue. For painted metals, check for chips or flaking which might require new paint or rust treatment.
  • Outdoor Furniture: Specifically for outdoor pieces, ensure metals are coated or treated to resist weather conditions, as untreated metals may rust quickly when exposed to moisture.


  • Durability and Cleanliness: Opt for high-quality fabrics that can withstand cleaning and daily use. Microfiber is a practical choice due to its durability and ease of cleaning, while genuine leather, though more expensive, ages well and can be maintained through conditioning.

Avoiding Common Pitfalls

Pest Infestation

  • Inspection Techniques: In addition to visual inspections for holes and sawdust, tap the wood surface close to your ear. A hollow sound can sometimes indicate internal damage. Use a flashlight to inspect dark corners and joints where pests might hide.


  • Handling Unpleasant Smells: For non-fabric furniture, cleaning with vinegar or specialized wood cleaners can remove mild odors. For fabrics, consider sprinkling baking soda on the surface, letting it sit overnight, and then vacuuming it up. Severe odors in fabrics, however, might require deep cleaning or professional services.

Overall Cleanliness

  • General Maintenance: When assessing cleanliness, take note of the overall condition. Furniture that appears well-cared for is likely to last longer and may require less immediate maintenance. Avoid pieces where the dirt and grime have penetrated into the surface, as this can indicate neglect and potential hidden issues.

Tips for Successful Shopping

  • Measurements: Always carry a tape measure to ensure the furniture fits your space as well as through doorways and hallways.
  • Research: If possible, research the brand and model of the furniture item to compare prices and check for any recalled issues.
  • Negotiate: Don’t be afraid to negotiate prices, especially if you notice minor imperfections that you are willing to overlook or repair.
  • Think Long-Term: Consider whether each piece fits your current and future decor. Opting for timeless pieces may serve you better than trend-specific items.

By following these guidelines, you can enhance your second-hand furniture shopping experience, ensuring that you select pieces that are not only stylish and unique but also durable and valuable additions to your home or office.

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