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How to Choose Secondhand Furniture

5 Signs You Should Say Yes to a Flea Market Furniture Piece

Summer is the season of yard sales and flea markets, which means you might come across a piece of furniture that steals your heart at a weekend sale. Before you're swayed by your emotions, though, give the piece a good once-over (or twice-over) to see if it's worth buying. Here are five signs that it's likely a good buy.

  1. Is the piece made of solid wood? If so, it's likely to stand up to years of use (and abuse). It will also be easy to strip, repaint, and stain. Look for hardwood pieces — softer woods such as pine tend to dent easily and aren't worth buying much of the time.
  2. Is the piece sturdy? Whether it's a table, dresser, or chair, all legs should touch the floor and there should be no wobbling.
  3. What joints are used? Take a look at how the piece's joints are assembled.? Look for joints that don't use simple screws, and instead use more workmanship-heavy joint construction including tongue and groove, mortise and tenon, and dovetail joints.
  4. Is there a minor amount of upholstery? For a DIY project, you'll want to choose a piece, such as a chair with upholstery only on the seat, that will be easy to change out and be an economical update.
  5. Is the damage minimal and fixable? Split wood and major water damage mean that you should walk away, but water rings, minor nicks, and some discoloration can all be fixed.

What other ways do you determine a piece of furniture is worthwhile?

Source: Flickr User apartment28

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