Used Living Room Furniture

how to score cheap and cute second hand furniture

We all know that used furniture is the cheapest way of furnishing a home. Free is actually cheapest, but there aren't many of us that can say that all the pieces we've ever wanted have just fallen into our laps. So we'll just go with second hand furniture being cheapest (for what we want). The smaller the budget, the harder it becomes to get our hands on pieces we covet, but I'm going to share a little bit with you today my process for getting my hands on used furniture, some things I've learned to expect, and what I've scored that's second hand in my living room (and spoiler alert - It's a lot!).

How I Score Cute and Cheap Furniture:

I set a budget, stick to the budget, search multiple sources and don't get too picky. It can be easy to see a piece that we've been searching for but see it's twice as much as what we know we should be paying for it. Not that it's not worth twice as much, but that we have a limit to what we can afford and we need to remain realistic while looking at things we want. Keep looking or attempt to negotiate if you're brave. And if they won't come down, go back to looking.

I check out a few local thrift stores a few times a month, check in on the OfferUp app, and have alerts set up on Craigslist. That way I've covered more ground and have a better chance of finding what I want.

And then I try to be as broad as possible. If I'm looking for a mid century style dresser, I try to broaden my search to include things like "old" "vintage" and "wood." People don't know what they have more often that not. Those are the people you want to buy from. And if you're looking for a particular style of mid century, you're limiting yourself, so be prepared to wait.

What to Expect with Second Hand Furniture:

Sometimes thrifted furniture can have a smell. Most smells can come out though so I make sure it's not coming from upholstery, it's not due to it's condition (bad smell from mold for example), and I have an idea of what I'm going to do to fix it before I buy it. Most pieces I've picked up smell like normal furniture after a wipe down. Others I've had to leave in the garage for a couple weeks but then it's fine again.

Upholstery may need replacing or a professional cleaning. You'll still score a fabulous piece for cheap, but bear in mind that this also comes out of your pocket so budget for it.

Spiderwebs are abundant. If you're squeamish, try to find someone that would love to do you the favor of brushing them off for you in exchange for lemonade (or whatever, I love lemonade). But make sure there are no bug eggs because you don't want to introduce critters to your precious home.

My Living Room's Used Furniture:

My Sofa

have a seat! the puppy doesn't bite and I promise it's okay to move the pillows!

I found my sofa through a vague Craigslist ad. My sweet friend went with me and let me use her truck to pick it up. When we arrived at the address I was sure I'd arrived at the wrong place because it was a church! But it was the right place, and priced at $25!
My End Table

thrifted craigslist side table perfect toy storage with pretty brass details

The first piece I found through OfferUp was this end table. I love the brass detail and trim on the doors. That combined with a ton of storage within sold me. I paid $20, but it's a solid piece with good detail so it'll last a long time.
My Coffee Table

have a seat! the puppy doesn't bite and I promise it's okay to move the pillows!

This retro little table has such a fun story. I found it through Craigslist, as I do with most pieces. The seller wanted $20 and I was quite alright with that since I know there are loads of resalers in the area who would also snatch it up at that price but to resell. The lady and her husband were some of the nicest people I've met! She mentioned she had several other people contact her but followed through with us because we contacted first. Seriously, that never happens. And she sent me home with several of her mature houseplants!
My Arm Chair

Entering a casually boho eclectic decorated space the living room of a 1950's brick ranch

Everyone loves this piece. I love this piece. And for $50 it was one hell of a deal. The upholstery needs some TLC but I'm actually happy about that because I have a destructive little boy. Later in life I'll have it reupholstered, but for now it's stylish and in a condition that can take a few pen marks.
My Bar Cart

gold vintage bar cart full of lush plants the perfect way to use a bar cart with little kids around!

This was a mother's day gift for me in 2014. The seller wouldn't budge on price but it wasn't a terrible deal at $120. The gold is in pretty good condition and I love it as a plant stand.
My Credenza/Media Console

vintage credenza gone media console looks so good with all those rescued brown glass bottles!

The second most expensive piece in our living room in this credenza. I found it through a Craigslist ad but it led me to a thrift store. It's beautiful and it great condition. The caning inserts are all untouched and the wood has very few scratches. It has provided so much storage as the left 2 sides has drawers and the right 3 have a single shelf. This piece was $95.
My Wicker Chair

wicker low back peacock chair

I like chairs. But who doesn't? Hashtags like #moschairjunkie and #chairfeaturefriday prove that! I snatched this chair up for $20. It needs minor cosmetic work but I am such a sucker for imperfection so I've left it.
My Wicker Plant Stand

rattan wicker foot stool used as a plant stand

For $10 this slightly saggy foot stool became a fabulous little plant stand. I love that it raises up my thrifted plant inside it's thrifted planter enough to be a statement.
My Elephant Plant Stand

white elephant plant stand stacked lucite lamp, be still my heart!

I scored this white elephant plant stand through a Craigslist ad for a thrift store for $30. It was originally glazed ceramic with hand painted designs. I wanted white at the time so I painted it, but I may strip the spray paint off one of these days when I stop being lazy about it. My taste changed a bit but I still love it as is. The foot stool beside it was also scored through Craigslist, for $10.

bentwood rocker paired with mexican blanket serape. love the contrast!

And finally, this bentwood rocker came home with me because it was listed with a bentwood foot stool that I wanted but the seller wouldn't sell them separately. So for $50, I've got both. I like the rocker but don't love it so I'll get around to cleaning it up for resale soon.

I hope you've found this post interesting and useful! What kinds of furniture have you scored thrifting? Are you shy from buying upholstered pieces or do you go for it?

If you have questions about second hand furniture, leave them below and I'll answer them as best I can!

Give this post a share! Your friends will love it and it helps me out a lot!

a great overview for second hand furniture purchasers!



  1. I have a friend who buys storage units and I have got quite a lot from him all second hand furniture a coffee table 10.00 I painted the legs dark grey and stained the top, a beautiful 1020'2 buffet for 20 bucks another coffee table 10.00 I use in front of the window by the front door for plants but I love that it has 2 places for shoes and 2 drawers for storage, I went o a yard sale scored a round table and 4 chairs for 25.00 it was black which is what I wanted so I just put a fresh coat of black paint and top coat on it
    I love thrifting but with a friend in storage buying business I get first choice of furniture some I keep most I paint and resell
    Thank you for your post

  2. used furniture is definitely the way to go! you've got so many great pieces in that room :)

  3. Thank you Gretchen! I never realized how much thrifting I did until I sat down and inventoried the space!

  4. Yes! That is a fabulous set up you've got! I need to find a friend who does that (or convince one of my current friends to do it!).

  5. My best score was a high-back upholstered arm chair for $10. It was well-used by a smoker with pomaded hair! I scrubbed the arms and upper back where the head rested. I am sure I could sell it for a profit but it is so cosy to curl up in!

  6. A very awesome blog post. We are really grateful for your blog post. You will find a lot of approaches after visiting your post. Furniture Upholstery Dubai


Let’s hear from you!