10 of The Best Sources for Buying Used Furniture and Decor | Little House of Four - Creating a beautiful home, one thrifty project at a time.: 10 of The Best Sources for Buying Used Furniture and Decor

Monday, June 25, 2018

10 of The Best Sources for Buying Used Furniture and Decor

The best tips and tricks for finding good quality, affordable, used vintage furniture and decor.

I've been getting a lot of questions and comments about where I find the furniture I've been updating and sharing, so I thought I would put together a big 'ole post with all my favorite tips, tricks and sources for scoring affordable used furniture and vintage decor.  I have no shame letting people know I got something for free, from the side of the road, Goodwill or a flea market. I actually pride myself on decorating my home for cheap AND making it a place I love.  My hope is that this information will inspire and help you to create a home you love without spending a lot of money.
Best affordable sources for buying used furniture and decor

There are two main categories for finding and buying used furniture and decor, brick and motar stores and online.  Let's dive into the best in store sources first.

Goodwill shopping tips and secrets

With three Goodwill stores within a 20 minute drive, it's definitely my go-to place to look for furniture.  It's not necessarily my favorite, but it's the most convenient and since they are open seven days a week it's easy to pop in and see what's new.  I've been lucky enough to find awesome vintage brands like Drexel, Basset, Century and Broyhill to name a few.

How to score big at Goodwill
See the after HERE


1. Know the color of the week.  Many of my local stores are owned by the same company and offer a "color of the week" sale.  Keep an eye out for sale color tags to score 50% off.  

2. Know when the color of the week changes.  My local stores change their color of the week on Tuesday.  Every Tuesday at 10:00 there is a line at the door waiting to snag first dibs on new markdowns. 

3. Know the color of the week schedule.  If you know the day and rotation of colors you have a better idea of knowing when items will go on sale.  If I'm shopping on Monday and find a piece of furniture that goes on sale on Tuesday then I'll most likely take my chances and come back the next day.   That is unless it's an amazing Basset dresser that I won't risk missing out on.

Tips and tricks for finding good quality furniture at Goodwill
4. Shop often.  I try to stop in my local store once or twice a week.  It's just past the grocery store, so it's super convenient and easy to pop in and see what's new.  Sometimes I walk out with amazing finds and other times I walk out empty handed.   It's definetely hit or miss, but you won't know unless you pop in often. 

5. Shop on prime days. Yes, there are prime days to shop at Goodwill.  Spring-Fall is prime yard sale season with most yard sales taking place on the weekends.  That means, most people will donate what's leftover on Saturday or Sunday and shelves will be fully stocked for Monday. 

6. Visit different locations.  There are a few Goodwill stores that I tend to have better luck scoring great finds simply due to their location.  If you haven't had luck in your local store, try branching out to other areas.  I've noticed that stores close to higher end neighborhoods tend to have better merchandise then stores in lower class areas. 

The best tips for buying used furniture at Goodwill

7. Loyalty card- I actually hesitated to get one for months, but once I realized how much I was spending at Goodwill I figured it would be worth having.  For every $220 you spend you receive $10 off.  Not huge savings, but $10 is $10, right?

Flea market
Flea markets are by far my favorite place to score big on vintage decor.  It's like a bunch of big yard sales all in one place and who wouldn't love that?  I don't often buy furniture at flea markets, but I have had luck scoring big with unique vintage decor.  There are a few local churches and fairgrounds in my area that hold monthly and bi-annual flea markets that I try hard not to miss. 
Vintage flea market finds

Church thrift stores
Church thrift stores are a great place to find items cheap.   They usually mark their inventory much lower than Goodwill and proceeds go to a good cause.  The only downside of church thrift stores is that they are usually only open a few days a week and have very limited hours.  
vintage finds from church thrift stores

Estate sales
I've been able to find some of my favorite vintage items at estate sales.  They are ypically held in older homes where the owners have been collecting for years.  Check out Estatesales.net to find estate sales in your area. 

Yard sales
Who doesn't love a good 'ole fashioned yard sale?  Facebook is a great source for finding yard sales and some will even share a preview of items for sale.   Many times I've seen an item previewed in an online yard sale facebook group then ran out bright and early to snag it on the day of the sale.  That's how I scored the gorgeous vintage theatre chairs I shared the other day.  Besides Facebook yard sale groups you can also search yardsalesearch.com for upcoming yard sales in your area. 
Vintage theatre chairs
Vintage chairs from Facebook Marketplace / Lockers were FREE

If you are lucky enough to have auctions in your area then I HIGHLY suggest you check them out.  I live about 10 mins from a local auction house that holds a weekly estate and consignment auction.  I have been able to score some great finds, including old doors, unique vintage items and a beautiful vintage Bates throw that I kept for myself.
Vintage bates through found at an auction

Now that we've talked about in store brick and mortar options, let's talk about buying furniture and decor online.  Buying online can be a little tricker, but knowing what to look for and what questions to ask can help you weed out the junk and find some really great pieces. 

What to look for when buying used furniture online

Solid Wood- You want a good solid piece of furniture so stay away from laminate and particle board.  The only exception I make is when purchasing MCM pieces as most have a laminate top, but solid bases. 

Dovetail drawers- This a type of construction that refers to drawers being constructed of solid wood where a dovetail joint joins the front and sides of the drawers.  They are super sturdy and easily recognizable by a jagged jig jaw type pattern at the outside corner of the drawer.

Look for dovetail drawers

What to ask for when buying used furniture online

Smoke free- I always, always, ALWAYS ask if a piece comes from a smoke free home.  Don't feel bad asking or denying a piece because it comes from a home that has been smoked in.  It's virtually impossible to remove smoke from furniture and the time and effort it takes to do so is never worth it. 

Solid wood- As mentioned above, if a seller does not specifically state the type of wood in their description then always ask.   There's nothing worse than having intentions of refinishing a piece only to find out its not solid wood. 

Dimensions-  If not stated, always ask the dimensions of furniture. Sometimes pictures can be deceiving and you don't want to be surprised by the size of an item when you've gone out of your way to pick something up. 

Condition- If you plan on repainting or reupholstering a piece then the condition may not be as important, but it's worth asking if there are any rips, stains or faded areas in upholstery or scratches, gashes or damaged areas in furniture.

Price- Unless the description states that the price is firm, I usually always ask if the price is negotiable or offer them a little less, especially if an item has been listed for awhile.


Facebook marketplace

Out of all the online sources, Facebook Marketplace is by far my favorite and the one I visit the most often.  It's easy to narrow down your location, the distance you are willing to travel and search for specific items.  I also find that Facebook Marketplace has the best inventory out of all the online sources. 

Buying furniture on Facebook marketplace
Just recently, I scored this $25 dresser and matching nightstand and it's one of my favorite Facebook Marketplace finds to date. 
Dresser found on facebook marketplace

Dresser makeover found on facebook marketplace

I've always been a little sketchy of Craigslist, but I don't dismiss it when searching for a specific piece of furniture.  Just like Facebook Marketplace, you can put in your location then narrow down your search area.
searching craigslist for used furniture and decor

Letgo.com is easy to use and allows you to search for specific items and navigate categories and items for sale easily.  When you click on an item you are interested in you have the options of "Is this still available", "is the price negotiable" and "what condition is it in", which makes it super easy to respond and gather information quickly.
Searching Letgo for used furniture and decor

Just like other online sites, Offerup.com lets you narrow down your search location, but also has "save", "make an offer" and "ask more information" options.  Searching offerup for used furniture and decor

As you can see, there are a ton of brick and mortar and online options for finding affordable, good quality furniture and decor.  You just have to be patient, search often and realize you won't get everything you want.  I've often been disappointed when I've missed out on amazing items, but scoring other incredible deals always makes up for the things I've missed out on. 

tips and tricks for scoring big at goodwill

Thrift store essentials for the thrifty decorator



  1. How do you unsubscribe from this site. Cannot find the button.

    1. There is an "unsubscribe" option at the bottom of every e-mail. If you can't find it, you can e-mail me at Katie@littlehouseoffour.com and I will gladly remove you from the mailing list.

  2. thank you for the tips on buying from goodwill and on line. i am looking for furniture and the prices at name brand stores is appalling.

    1. Aren't they? If I'm patient, I can find exactly what I'm looking for at thrift stores. The best part is, these thrifted pieces are some of my favorite items in my home.