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  • Gina Everett

10 Top Tips for Sourcing Second Hand Decor

Second hand decor tips

So, I hear you ask, why would a luxury interior design blog recommend sourcing second hand decor?

Well the answer is for one very good reason - QUALITY.

Our clients have an eye for quality and they insist upon it at every stage in the interior design process. However quality doesn’t necessarily mean spending every last penny on the high street. Think of vintage furniture, it holds it’s value as it holds it’s timeless appeal.

Here's an example of what's out there. With a quick search I discovered this table and 6 chairs from high end furniture store Neptune on Gumtree for £1,000. That may sound expensive however the range is still current and the table retails for around £1,000 and each chair is £245, saving of over £1,000!

Great quality second hand table

When renovating it is important to decide when to spend and where savings can be made without compromising on quality. Often when clients are coming to the end of a renovation such as a kitchen or bathroom, they are pleased to find ways of making their money go further.

​Knowing when and where to source second hand not only saves money but can add a unique touch to a project that you know won’t be recreated anywhere else. Additionally recycling is always a sustainable way to renovate properties.

A recent example of this from one of Create Perfect’s projects was our rustic industrial living room featured in a recent blog post. The client wanted wooden floorboards. Starting with the conventional sourcing process of scouring flooring stores, getting samples and comparing prices.

Looking on eBay uncovered a job lot of reclaimed original extra wide Victorian wooden floorboards. After assessing the measurements, the floorboards were purchased. Our building team then sanded, stained and finished the floorboards to the exact colour and finish required for the rooms scheme. All of this came in at a considerable saving when compared to the cost of the 'new' restored boards.

Create Perfect aren't the only ones to recommend sourcing second hand decor though. Here's a bedroom designed by one of the UK's leading interior designers Daniel Hopwood. Guess where those gorgeous bedside tables were sourced - eBay!

Bedroom by Daniel Hopwood

Here's our Top 10 tips for sourcing and buying second hand for your renovation projects.

  1. Look for quality items Always try and see the items before you commit to buying them as the condition of the item is really important and can’t always be judged from a photograph.

  2. Shopping for hardware and building materials. Try sites like enviromate and recipro where surplus materials are swapped or sold. eBay is also a useful source for surplus materials. This a sustainable way to renovate creating less waste in the industry.

  3. Shopping for furniture and decorative items Gumtree, Friday-Ads, Pre-loved, second hand dealers or antiques markets are the places to go.

  4. ​Keep an open mind You might not be able to find the exact piece that you are looking for but there is a wealth of opportunity out there. You might just find something you weren't expecting but will look great in your home.

  5. Know your measurements Measurements are key so always have them handy. Keep a list with you when browsing and we like to carry a tape measure so you can be sure of the right fit!

  6. Be quick Use apps for Gumtree and Friday-Ads and set up searches and alerts which will tell you when something that matches your requirements comes up for sale. Quality items often get sold in the first few days so make sure you respond quickly to anything that you are interested in. At antiques markets and car boot sales take cash and strike a bargain. The item is only there for that day so you need to be quicker than the next buyer.

  7. Don’t just rely on local homeowners - try the trades Look for dealers that deal in second hand furniture from the hospitality trade. High end restaurants and hotels upgrade their furniture regularly and there are some real bargains to be had. What’s more these items are often high quality or unique pieces that may be bespoke which you wouldn’t find through the usual sources. Additionally companies such as The Used Kitchen Company supply high end bespoke second hand kitchens as well as ex-display units from some of the best manufacturers around.

  8. Be realistic Sometimes you may spot an item that has seen better days but could be restored to it’s former glory. Make sure you account for this in the price of the item and take into account the cost of any restoration, re-upholstery or up-cycling that needs doing. Is it shabby chic or just plain shabby? Unless you are a dab hand at restoration contact a professional before making your purchase to see if your ideas can be achieved.

  9. Don’t forget delivery For larger items make sure you have access to a delivery vehicle. If not you may need to hire one and this will add to the cost of the item.

  10. Make sure you barter It is now easier than ever to discover what things are worth online. Aside from that when buying second hand, published price is merely a guide so only pay what you think something is worth. To save a wasted trip when buying from Gumtree, if you think the price is high, make an offer before you visit if you want to negotiate the price. You’ll soon discover if the seller is keen to get rid of the item or has other buyers in mind. For antiques markets and car boot sales don’t forget to take cash

Most importantly.. have fun!


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