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Buying refinished furniture: A great option for your home

By: Boho Babe



Buying Refinished Furniture Gets a Bad Rap: Common Misconceptions About Buying Refinished Furniture for Your Home


If you’re in the market for refinished furniture, you’ve probably heard a lot of misconceptions about it. Whether it’s from friends or family, it’s important to know the truth about refinished furniture so you can make an informed decision. Here are some of the most common misconceptions about refinished furniture and the truth behind them.


Misconception #1: Refinished Furniture is of Poor Quality

This is one of the most common misconceptions about refinished furniture. The truth is, not all refinished pieces are of poor quality. In fact, some pieces can even be of higher quality than new furniture. Many pieces that are refinished are made from high-quality materials and have been well-maintained over the years.



Misconception #2: Refinished Furniture is Unsafe

Another common misconception is that refinished furniture is unsafe. While it’s true that some refinished furniture may have been damaged or worn down over time before being redone, it’s not true that all refinished furniture is unsafe. Many pieces are in excellent condition and are just as safe as new furniture. If you know what to look for, you can easily spot quality repair work on refinished pieces and ensure your family's safety.


Misconception #3: Refinished Furniture is Uncomfortable

This misconception is simply not true. While it’s true that some furniture may be uncomfortable, it’s not true that all refinished furniture is uncomfortable. Many old pieces are just as comfortable as new furniture, and some may even be more comfortable due to the years of wear and tear.



Misconception #4: Refinished Furniture is Unattractive

This is another misconception that simply isn’t true. While a peacock decoupaged dresser might not be everyone's cup of tea, not all refinished furniture is that extravagant. Oftentimes painted or refinished furniture can blend seamlessly into modern decor and even add character to a home.


Misconception #5: Refinished Furniture is a Cheap Alternative

This is a common misconception, but it isn't always the case. While it’s true that refinished furniture can often be found at a lower cost than newer, high quality pieces, you can definitely find new furniture offered at lower price points. Refinished furniture is often priced by the time and materials used on each individual piece, keeping in mind the often higher quality materials the piece was originally crafted from. New furniture is often constructed from particle board and MDF, making it more susceptible to water damage and less resistant to every day wear and tear. Depending on your budget, it might be worth the price to invest in a high quality maker's piece that has been refinished.


No matter what you’ve heard, it’s important to remember that not all refinished furniture is of poor quality, unsafe, uncomfortable, unattractive, or cheap. With the right research, refinished furniture can be a wonderful investment.



So what exactly do you need to know in order to find that perfect piece?


Here are some quick tips to help you find high quality vintage and refinished furniture for your home.


1. Know what you’re looking for.

Before you start shopping, decide what type of furniture you need and the style you want. This will help you narrow down your search and make it easier to find pieces that fit your needs.


You can look on Instagram and Pinterest for inspiration if you don't know where to start. If you are adding to a room that is mostly complete, it is best to consider your color palette if you don't have a particular style in mind. Do you have a statement piece already? Are you looking for supporting pieces in your room that won't attract attention? If so, you might be looking for furniture that matches the base color of your room, rather than your accent color. If you are looking or a statement piece on the other hand, try to find one that works as an accent color in your space. You can use decor and other small pieces in your accent color to help tie your statement furniture piece into the room.


Maybe you are starting from scratch and have no idea what to start with. Our best advice is to look at what others have done, and pick a color palette you'd like to use in the room. This helps you narrow your choices significantly. From there, start with the largest pieces of furniture for the room. In a bedroom, this could be the dresser, or bedframe. This will help you envision the space better by starting slow. In a living space, this might be your couch or sectional.


2. Check for quality.

Now that you are in a store looking for furniture, it’s important to look for signs of quality. Look for sturdy construction, smooth surfaces, and any signs of wear or damage. Check the legs on the piece to see if they are loose or significantly scuffed, then check the surfaces for any deep scratches that are clearly visible.


Some damages can be repaired, so what you are looking for are damages that are not easily repaired, like a split in the dresser top or chipped veneer.


If looking for an upholstered piece, check for any loose stitching or rips along the corners. If you can, remove the cushions to see how they are constructed. In well-designed leather cushions, they will have a mesh section on the bottom to properly vent the cushion and prevent cracking.



3. Inspect before you buy.

Before you commit to buying a piece of furniture, make sure you inspect it thoroughly. Look for any signs of damage or wear and make sure all the parts are present.


One of the benefits of buying vintage or refinished furniture is their solid wood construction. Now, that doesn't mean that all refinished pieces you see will be solid wood, so here are a couple quick things to check on wood furniture.


First, you can look at the back of the piece to see if it is made of particle board or solid wood. To do this, pull the piece from the wall, and check where its sides and top are attached to the backing. If the wood looks fibrous, it is most likely particle board (see image 1 below). If you can see grains, it is most likely solid wood (see image 2 below). Often, only the top and drawer fronts of a dresser or nightstand are solid wood.



Next, you can check the drawer construction. Pull out the drawer and look at how they drawer front and side are connected. If it looks like a jigsaw puzzle, it is "dove-tailed," which is a superior construction, typically found on maker's pieces.



If it looks stapled or glued, it can still be a quality piece of furniture, but it isn't of the highest quality possible.



The last thing you can check for is a maker's mark. What is a "maker"? A maker is a furniture manufacturer, and often they marked vintage pieces with their logo to take credit for their work. Examples of this include Basset, Drexel, Ethan Allen, etc.



5. Don't be afraid to customize.

Don’t be afraid to change a furniture piece to better suit your needs. Have it painted, or add decoupage details, cut the legs shorter, or do whatever you need to make a piece that fits just perfectly in your home. Furniture is made to suit you, not the other way around. So, don't be afraid to make it what you need. If you need help doing so, we are more than happy to help you with custom refinishing services.



Find that One-of-a-Kind Furniture Piece By Buying Refinished or Vintage


Buying vintage or refinished furniture can be a great way to save money and get unique pieces for your home. Just make sure you do your research and inspect the furniture before you buy to make sure you’re getting a good deal.

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