Discovering a piece of secondhand furniture that you love is exciting but it can come with challenges. Here are some important things to look for
7 questions to ask when you’re buying vintage furniture
1. Is there structural damage, marks or cracks? Most things can be easily remedied or accepted as unique character flaws, but it is best to spot these before you buy.
2. What material is the item made from? Solid wooden items or pieces made using natural fabrics are often of higher quality and will last longer.
3. Does the piece have a maker’s mark or brand on it? Ask the seller if they know of the item’s origins.
4. If the item is wooden, do you see any holes throughout the wood? This is a sign of borer. Wood dust in places is also an indicator for borer. Treat it before you bring it home.
5. Will the style go with other items in your home, and do you actually have room for it? Take a measuring tape with you to check if the item will fit in your space.
6. How worn is it? Prize shape above finish – you can distress, polish or repaint to get the look you are after. The same goes for missing or unattractive drawer handles, or accessories such as rubber chair feet – these can easily be replaced. Other things can be more expensive to mend, re-cover or replace. Look into costs before you commit.
7. How sturdy or stable is the piece? If you are purchasing a chair or sofa, sit on it first to check it is comfortable!
Words by: Fiona Ralph. Photography by: James Henry/bauersyndication.com.au.