By: Marcy Norman

Whether it’s your first place or your forever home, furnishing your space can be very costly.

Alternatively, buying used furniture can be a fun and economical way to add pieces to your home. From practical items such as dining room tables and sofas to character pieces such as the perfect antique hutch, it can all be found used

The search for quality, used furniture can be an enjoyable, stress-free shopping experience. Here are a few of my top helpful hints when buying used furniture:

1. Look around for the sales:
There are many options for places to buy quality used furniture. Spend time shopping around at used furniture stores and consignment shops. They usually have fantastic pieces at a huge discount compared to buying new. Watch for estate sales, contents sales and auctions. These places usually give amazing deals as you have the opportunity to negotiate prices.

2. Know your measurements:
It’s important to know the measurements of your space. Knowing the square footage of your dining room is just as important as knowing the size of table that will fit in the room. It’s also important to know some measurements from around your home. If you are looking for a sofa for the basement rec room, make sure you also know the width of your doorways and staircase. That perfect sofa won’t be so perfect if it can’t fit down the tricky basement stairs.

3. Inspect it:
Sit on the sofa and chairs. Are they comfortable? Look at the fabric for stains or tears. Most used furniture will need a good cleaning, but a major cleaning could add huge cost to your purchase. Be aware of any smells. Just like stains on fabric, the removal of odours such as pet and smoke can be very costly.

4. Don’t back away from small fixes
If the coffee table you are interested in is a bit wobbly, inspect it. It could be a simple fix such as tightening a screw. A cracked leg would be a much more extensive repair, and may require the help of a professional to fix. How much time, effort and money are you willing to put into the repair? Know how much (overall) you are willing to spend. Major repairs such as recovering the fabric of a sofa can throw your small budget over the top. Make sure you know how much the repair will be before you purchase the piece

Knowing these simple hints can save you time, money and hassle when buying used furniture. Avoiding common pitfalls will make shopping used a breeze.

Marcy Norman is the owner-operator of Sell My Stuff Canada’s franchise in southern Alberta.