Buying Second Hand Furniture: What Do You Need to Consider?

Sometimes you can’t always buy every piece of furniture brand-new, so you opt for second hand furniture. Remember to check for what the piece used to cost, what it's made out of, whether you can DIY to add a personal touch, and if it can stand the test of time.
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Furniture shopping is one of the highlights for many homeowners (you'll agree if walking through IKEA gives you such joy to just browse and dream of the possibilities).

Perhaps you’re moving into a new home, or you want to redesign just your living room. There are a dazzling variety of styles and types to choose from, and you’re sure to find something that suits your taste. 

However, sometimes you’re limited by your budget, and can’t always buy every piece of brand-new furniture you set your heart on.

In such situations, why not consider second hand furniture? It usually costs less than brand-new furniture (unless you’re specifically hunting for priceless antique pieces) and can last quite a while with proper care.

Want to know the best places to hunt for used furniture in Malaysia? Why not check out this list of second hand shops!

 

Things to consider when buying second hand furniture in Malaysia

1) What the piece used to cost

Second hand furniture almost always costs less than its brand-new counterparts, and it’s a huge bargain if you find a piece that's in very good condition.

Where possible, try to look for labels so you can compare a second hand item to its original selling price. Some second hand furniture may seem cheap, but in reality, they’re only being sold for a slightly lower cost than a brand-new one.

2) What it’s made out of

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The material that the second hand furniture is made of is important. For example, solid wood will last much longer than particle board, and is much more durable.

On the flip side, solid wood will pose a termite risk, so make sure to check that the wood isn’t infested.

Metal furniture made up of wrought iron, steel or aluminium is also a good choice – especially for outdoor areas.

When deciding on metal furniture, consider its potential and not just how it currently looks. A bit of rust removal and a paint job can go a long way.

Just make sure to use special paint that's designed for outdoor furniture, due to Malaysia’s hot and wet climate!

3) Trash to treasure

Sometimes, people dispose of furniture that could be described as “near perfect” condition. The reasons vary – from renovating, to moving, to decluttering, or simply not wanting the furniture item anymore.

If you decide to get such furniture from someone who doesn’t want it anymore, you’re saving yourself money as well as saving a perfectly good product from the landfill.

You also do your part in reducing waste and its impact on the environment. As the saying goes, "one man's trash is another man's treasure"!

4) Adding a personal touch

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If you’re the type who enjoys doing DIY projects, buying a second-hand item to fix it up might be right up your alley.

There are several tricks that people apply to transform used furniture, whether it’s repainting, repairing, or even redesigning second-hand items.

You can learn tips on how to refurbish your used household items here, and create something completely unique to your home.

5) The test of time

If you know where to look, there are many unique offerings when it comes to second hand furniture in Malaysia.

This is particularly true if the piece is a vintage find, and do note that older products used to be made much sturdier.

Some may even be considered antiques, and have a classical aesthetic to them that is timeless. You can think of second-hand furniture purchases as an investment.

Remember what we were saying about vintage furniture? Those can become something of a family heirloom; something you can hand down to your children in the future.

 

What types of second hand furniture should I avoid?

While buying pre-owned items can help you save money, there are certain items that you really shouldn’t buy second-hand, or be extra careful of.

1) Mattresses 

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Mattresses are the biggest no-no when it comes to purchasing second-hand furniture, due to hygiene reasons (definitely not worth the risk).

You never truly know what’s the history of a used mattress. Even if it looks fine on the surface, it could be harbouring a multitude of germs, bacteria, or even worse – bed bugs!

2) Sofas and couches

If you’re considering buying a sofa or a couch, check that their inner support frames are still sturdy enough.

Not every couch or sofa is created equal, and you'll want to avoid those using mesh supports or styrofoam stuffing.

Bear in mind that the upholstery and cushions may also harbour bacteria, bugs, and germs, so they should also be checked for any dirt or stains.

3) Furniture with unpleasant odours

Since this piece of furniture is going to be in your home for a long time, you definitely don’t want it reeking of something nasty!

For example, It’s almost impossible to remove the smell of cigarette smoke once it has taken hold in upholstery. No matter how cheap the item is, if it smells bad, you shouldn’t buy it. 

 

We hope we’ve provided you with enough advice to get out there and hunt down some bargains of your own. If your interior design ideas require built-in furniture, we have some tips for those as well. If you need ideas for interior decor, here are 7 beautiful home interior designs in Malaysia to inspire you.

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