Ultimate Guide for Buying at a Furniture Consignment Shop

As sustainability and conscious consumerism continue to gain traction, buying second-hand furniture on consignment has become more popular than ever. The history of consignment shops is long in Canada because they are an excellent place to find unique, high-quality used items at reasonable prices. In this ultimate guide to buying furniture at a consignment shop, we'll explore everything you need to know before embarking on your consignment furniture journey.

What is a furniture consignment shop?

What is a furniture consignment storeA consignment shop is a store that sells previously owned items. Consignment stores differ from thrift stores, which typically sell a wide range of second-hand items, including clothing, books, and home goods. Consignment shops are more specialized, and furniture consignment stores will have a carefully chosen selection of high-quality furniture, rugs, artwork, home decor, and other home furnishings.

How does a consignment shop work? One excellent feature of a furniture consignment store is that its inventory typically comes from the local community. People who want to downsize or redecorate their homes bring their used furniture to a local consignment shop for resale. The store evaluates each item's condition before accepting it into its inventory, selecting only high-quality used pieces. Once the pieces are chosen, a contract is made between the parties to allow the store to resell the consignment furniture, with a portion of the sale going to the store and the rest to the consignor.

For those who want to sell their furniture, a consignment shop is a great way to profit from unwanted pieces. For those who want to buy furniture, a local consignment store offers a wealth of unique, gently used furniture at a reduced price compared to the original retail cost.

What to look for in a consignment shop

Rather than go to your favorite search engine and type "furniture consignment shop near me," do a little research and careful evaluation to find your area's best furniture consignment store. Here are some factors to consider when evaluating and selecting any furniture resale outlet:

  • Reputation: Look for shops that have a good reputation in your community. You can ask for recommendations from friends, and family. Also, top consignment stores will have online reviews on Yelp, Google, or Facebook that you can scour to see what other customers say about their experiences.
  • Quality of Inventory: Look for stores known for a diverse range of clean, well-organized items in good condition. If the store has a website, you can peruse the site to understand the variety and quality of its inventory. However, adding used furniture online can be time-consuming, so the inventory might only be a small percentage of the items on a showroom floor.
  • Variety of styles and products. The store inventory should have a wide variety of styles, such as traditional, modern, and vintage, and include various types of furniture and home decor.
  • Pricing: Consignment shops typically offer lower prices than traditional retailers, but prices vary from shop to shop. Look for a shop that offers fair and reasonable prices for the quality of their items.
  • Location and Convenience:Look for a furniture consignment store that is conveniently located and easily accessible. It should be easy to drop off and pick up items.
  • Customer Service: Be sure to check reviews and ask around to ensure the store has a reputation for being friendly, knowledgeable, and helpful.

Considering these factors, you can choose a consignment shop that meets your needs and preferences. Research and diligence can help you find a reputable shop with high-quality inventory and fair policies.

Advantages of buying furniture at a consignment store

Beyond offering excellent value for your money, there are several advantages to buying second-hand furniture from a consignment shop, including:

  • High-Quality Furnishings:Consignment stores evaluate furniture before accepting them into their inventory, selecting only top-quality used pieces. This means you can find high-quality furniture in good condition that can last you for many years.
  • Variety: Consignment shops offer various furniture styles, from antique to contemporary, at reasonable prices. You can find pieces that fit your specific style and taste, making decorating your home with distinctive and affordable treasures easier.
  • Unique Finds: Consignment shops offer unusual, one-of-a-kind pieces that are often hard to find elsewhere. You can find furniture with character, history, and a distinct style that can add personality and charm to your living space.
  • Better for the Environment: Buying second-hand furniture is better for the environment, as it gives unwanted furniture second life and keeps it from ending up in a landfill. By buying furniture on consignment, you are supporting a more sustainable community and reducing your own carbon footprint.
  • Supports Local Community: Consignment stores and the consignees who benefit from them are usually local, so buying from them supports your neighbors and keeps the money within the local economy.

Overall, buying furniture on consignment offers an excellent opportunity to find unique, high-quality items at affordable prices while supporting sustainability and the local economy.

Preparing for your consignment shop visit

Prepping for a furniture consignment shop visit can make the difference between a productive shopping experience and a time-wasting one. Just like you should research before choosing what consignment stores you will visit, you should also do your homework before visiting any second-hand furniture store.

  • Know What You're Looking For: Before visiting the store, clearly understand what you are looking for. Consider the style, size, and colour of the furniture you need. A clear idea of what you want will help you avoid getting overwhelmed and make your shopping experience more efficient.
  • Measure Your Space: Measure where you plan to put the furniture, including doorways and hallways. This will help you determine if the furniture you are interested in will fit in your space.
  • Set a Budget: Determine how much you are willing to spend before you go to the store. This will help you stay within your budget and avoid overspending.
  • Dress Comfortably: Wear comfortable shoes and clothing. You may need to spend a few hours in the store, so you want to be comfortable while you shop.
  • Bring a Friend: Shopping for furniture can be overwhelming, so consider bringing a friend or family member to help you make decisions and provide feedback.

Following these tips, you can prepare for a day of visiting furniture consignment shops and making the most of your shopping experience.

Types of furniture at a consignment shop

Types of furniture at a consignment shop

A furniture consignment shop can offer a wide range of furniture styles and pieces, depending on what items have been consigned by their owners. Here are some examples of furniture styles you might find at a consignment store:

  • Mid-Century ModernFurniture from the 1940s through 1960s with a focus on simplicity, functionality, and new materials,
  • Contemporary: Design style of the present moment that incorporates the latest technology, materials, cultural influences, and societal changes
  • Transitional: Offers a timeless look because it combines traditional and modern furniture elements. It is known for its clean lines, neutral colours, and simple, uncluttered design.
  • Traditional: Heavily influenced by 18th and 19th centuries stylings, it is known for ornate details and rich materials.
  • Antique: Furniture that is at least 100 years old
  • Rustic: Furniture made from natural materials like wood, stone, or metal with a rough-hewn or distressed finish.
  • Furniture from the 1920s to the 1970s 
  • Industrial: Furniture inspired by factories, warehouses, and industrial spaces, often featuring raw materials like metal and wood./li>

In general, you can expect to find a mix of styles and pieces at a consignment shop, making it an ideal place to find pieces that suit your individual taste and style. Of course, the inventory at a furniture consignment store is constantly changing, so it's best to visit frequently and get to know the store's staff if you have something specific in mind for your home.

Tips to mix and match consignment furniture styles

Because a furniture consignment store will have a wide variety of furniture and styles, it can be challenging to know how to place individual furniture together for a cohesive look in your home. Mixing and matching different furniture styles can be a fun and creative way to add personality and uniqueness to your home decor. Here are some tips on how to include different furniture styles in the same room while maintaining a cohesive look:

  • Find a Unifying Element: Look for a common element, such as colour, shape, or texture, that ties together different furniture styles in a room. This will create a visual connection between pieces and help them work together.
  • Consider Scale: Make sure the furniture pieces you choose are in proportion to the size of the room and each other. Mix larger and smaller pieces to create balance and visual interest.
  • Balance Out Contrasting Styles: If you are mixing two contrasting furniture styles, such as modern and traditional, balance them out by adding accessories or decor that complement both styles. This will create a cohesive look and make the room feel intentional.
  • Experiment with Different Textures: Mixing textures can add depth and interest to a room. Pair rough and smooth textures, such as a leather sofa with a plush rug, to create a dynamic and visually appealing space.
  • Be Mindful of Color: Consider the room's colour palette and how the furniture pieces will fit in. Use colours that complement each other, or go for a monochromatic colour scheme to create a cohesive look.

There are no hard and fast rules when it comes to using various furniture styles in one room. However, there are some general guidelines to keep in mind:

  • Avoid Clutter: Too many furniture styles in one room can create a cluttered and overwhelming look. Stick to a few styles and make sure they work together.
  • Keep a Consistent Theme: It is important to have a consistent theme or mood for the room. Mixing too many styles can create a disjointed look and feel.
  • Maintain Balance: Mix furniture styles in a way that maintains balance in the room. For example, if you have a modern sofa, pair it with traditional or vintage chairs to create balance.

Mixing furniture styles can add personality and uniqueness to your home decor. By considering scale, colour, texture, and balance, you can create a cohesive and visually appealing space that reflects your individual style. Be fearless, and remember to experiment and have fun with it!

What to look for when buying second-hand furniture?

When shopping for second-hand furniture, it's essential to scrutinize items before purchasing. While most reputable consignment stores will include any damage in the product's descriptions, look for any wear, such as scratches, stains, or wobbly legs. Check drawers and doors to ensure they open and close smoothly. If you're buying upholstered furniture, inspect the fabric for any tears, stains, or signs of wear. Ask the staff at the furniture reseller if they have additional information about the item's history or condition.

Here are some other factors to consider when buying furniture resale.

  • Quality of Construction: Inspect the furniture carefully to ensure it is well-constructed and sturdy. Look for things like loose joints that may indicate poor quality or damage.
  • Comfort: If you are buying upholstered furniture, such as a sofa or chair, sit on it to test its comfort level. Ensure the cushions are firm and supportive and the fabric is in good condition.
  • Functionality: Consider how the furniture will be used and whether it will meet your needs. For example, if you need a dining table, make sure it is the right size and shape for your space and can accommodate the number of people you need to seat.
  • Materials: Check the materials used in the construction of the furniture. Look for high-quality materials, such as solid wood, that will withstand wear and tear.
  • Price: Make sure the asking price is reasonable for quality, condition, and age. Research the retail price of similar items to ensure you get a good deal.

Considering these factors, you can ensure that you buy high-quality second-hand furniture that meets your needs and budget.