Stamp expert & buyer with over 40 years of experience.
Essential Terms for Used Furniture Buyers
Quality furniture is built by skilled craftsmen and is intended to be used for generations. But visiting a used or secondhand furniture shop can cause the average person a tremendous amount of anxiety. Not only do furniture manufacturers and dealers speak their own language, but unfortunately that language varies from store to store. Before going shopping for used furniture, consumers should acquaint themselves with these commonly used terms.
Antique - This term and "vintage" are used to describe older, used furniture. Different dealers may have different ideas about what constitutes an antique because there is no formal definition. Many consumers assume that all antiques are valuable and this simply isn't true.
Consignment Shops - Stores that sell items on behalf of sellers, while taking a cut of the sale price. Many estate liquidators send items to these outlets. Consignment shops are always receiving new inventory and frequently specialize in high end items.
Contemporary/Modern - This home furnishing style emphasizes a smooth, clean look and emphasizes function over form. Many offices favor this style because, although it's plain, it can be very stylish.
Outlets - Outlet stores specialize in selling discontinued, damaged and one-of-a-kind pieces that can't be sold in traditional retail outlets. Unlike secondhand shops, all of the items in an outlet store are new, albeit unusual.
Modular - Refers to furniture systems that can be styled in a number of different configurations. A maze of office cubicles is the most common example of this system.
Refurbished - A term that simply means an item has been cleaned up and repaired for sale. The degree to which it has been refurbished can vary from item to item. Antique buyers should be aware that refurbishing can impact the value of a particular piece.
The used furniture dealer industry can allow people to inexpensively furnish residential or commercial areas. Secondhand furniture can be purchased in different styles and using varied materials. Professionals involved in offering furniture for resale might choose to specialize in secondhand items exclusively. On the other hand, businesses might also offer used furniture at store discounts, alongside items newly received from the manufacturer.
Used furniture dealers can vary in the type or antiquity of the kind of item they offer. For example, the secondhand industry can specialize in offering modern or contemporary pieces at a particular shop. Tables could be bought for the specific office use of holding computers in cubicles. Offices might choose to purchase desks or chairs at such a commercial outlet. When furniture is sought for residential rather than business purposes, people might prefer to buy vintage pieces. Customers typically purchase antique pieces and leather couches for dining rooms. Homeowners also typically shop for living room items at such establishments.
In addition to types of furniture, dealers can vary in how they make these items available to the public. For one, dealers might set up on-site outlets where people can freely browse through various furniture items. Conversely, secondhand dealers could allow customers to search through their inventories on the Internet. These decisions can also determine how cheaply items might be offered to the public. Consignment furniture, for example, offers the original provider of an item the chance to recoup a percentage of its eventual sale. Additionally, dealers can choose between offering such items in its original state, versus the refurbishment of items to a pristine or near-pristine state. Even if secondhand dealers are strictly on-site, they may still establish an online presence in order to attract customers.