We’ve all heard tell of “haunted mirrors” which supposedly reflect images of the long gone and “possessed wardrobes” which mysteriously open on their own…the fashion for second hand furniture in recent years has seen a boom in people rooting out old examples of furniture which may be beautiful but which can have the opposite of the desired effect! That gorgeous, original Victorian brass bed? Yes it’s stunning but how many people have slept…and even died on it? What about that lovely example of an Edwardian chair? Did you know that it’s probably stuffed with the flea ridden hair of a long-dead horse?
Some of the history of old furniture is attractive but some is most certainly not and this can creep people out. If you’d like to indulge in your passion for second hand furniture but don’t fancy going down the path of the creepy, read on to find out how to get non-spooky second hand furniture!
Stick to non-upholstered items
This means avoiding that vintage sofa which looks amazing but smells like 1963…and not in a good way. Upholstery can of course be replaced on smaller items such as chairs but you will need to be aware that many older examples of upholstery will contain horsehair and possibly chemicals which aren’t good to inhale, so always wear a mask.
Avoid grubby second hand shops
Second hand shops don’t have to be dank and smelly, so if you’re on the hunt for bargain furniture and find yourself in a less than salubrious shop, choose somewhere else! There are many shops selling pre-loved furniture these days and because it’s a competitive market, retailers need to put in the effort to ensure that their goods are attractive. It’s all very well picking up items for a low price but if they’ve not been cleaned then they’re definitely going to creep people out when you get them home!
Dark wood can be dismal
The problem furniture made from dark wood such as mahogany is that they often look dreary and as though they simply belong in a creepy haunted house. Many items of second hand furniture are made from dark wood; bedroom sets and dining furniture in particular but unless you live in a period home, it’s difficult to make them look fresh and bright and appropriate for the rest of your décor. The only answer is to paint them! Sanding old furniture down lightly and then giving it a facelift with some light coloured paint is a great way to add a quirk to your home.
Second hand beds
The thought of all those other people who once slumbered right where you are is…well its spooky! The only way to deal with de-creeping a second hand or antique bed is to buy only the bed frame and to add a brand new mattress. If you are lucky enough to grab yourself a beautiful old brass bedstead then a good polish and new bedding should remove any fanciful ideas completely.
Better the devil you know
If you love older furniture and are on the look out but don’t want to buy things which come from the homes of strangers then simply spread the word! Often you will find that people who are getting rid of furniture themselves will be glad to pass it on to you…and you’ll know exactly where it’s come from.
Old new stock
Old new stock is exactly that…it’s old stock which for one reason or another didn’t sell first time around. It’s not that easy to find but it can be done…often old new stock has been stored in warehouses for many years and then finally re-sold once the owner decides it’s time to clear out. This is a brilliant way to get a really original piece of furniture from the past without buying the history of it too!
If you keep your eye on the auctions you may find that there are a number of auctions which include furniture from business or associations which have either closed down or decided to refurbish their buildings. In cases like this you could discover lovely examples of totally un-creepy office desks and other useful items and they’re often going for a song too!
The business of second hand furniture is growing all the time; partly due to the current passion for the past in interior design but also in response to shoppers trying to save money! Whatever your taste, you’ll find that even second hand furniture can really add a special look to your home…and it doesn’t need to be scary! Find out more on Furniture UK
Start your search for secondhand items to jazz up your home in the furniture section on Loot.