i should be mopping the floor: Finding Furniture to Refinish

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Finding Furniture to Refinish

It's pretty obvious...but I love to refinish furniture. Years ago, we were all kind of limited to unfinished furniture stores and an occasional garage or estate sale. These days, there are some pretty creative solutions to obtain pieces to refinish.
Finding Furniture to Refinish: Tips and Tricks to Score the Best Finds for the Best Deals!

I have some fun tips and tricks that I use to find the best pieces for furniture redoing. You may have to roll up your sleeves and get a bit dirty...but it's soooo worth it! Check out the fun below>>>
Finding Furniture to Refinish: Tips and Tricks to Score the Best Finds for the Best Deals!
Number one on my list? Flea Markets! I just love a good flea market. From dirt malls (yeah, that's what a lot of people around these parts call 'em) to the twice-a-year extravaganza that I LOVE in Round Top, Texas...I just love flea market-style hunts for pieces. In my opinion, you find the best pieces in the junkiest, out-of-the-way corners of 
these places.


Finding Furniture to Refinish: Tips and Tricks to Score the Best Finds for the Best Deals!
At these type of events, sometimes dealers want to sell pieces that they've refinished, too. Even if it's not your style, check the price. It may be reasonable enough for you to still put your own spin on it. I loved the above piece, but the drawers weren't totally my style. I didn't buy it, but I kind of wish I had! This was taken last spring at one of the Round Top tents.


Finding Furniture to Refinish: Tips and Tricks to Score the Best Finds for the Best Deals!   
Think outside the box. Think of how pieces can be repurposed instead of passing them by. The above little file box thingy would be too cute for craft or toiletry storage, too. It could be refinished in such a fun way.

Finding Furniture to Refinish: Tips and Tricks to Score the Best Finds for the Best Deals!
I love the above dresser, too! The size of it is just amazing. If I had brought a huge trailer, I would've loved to have taken it home! The only thing I would've changed is the top. I would have stripped it and given it a blonde stain...just to be a little different. I'm in love with its hardware, too....lordy!!


Finding Furniture to Refinish: Tips and Tricks to Score the Best Finds for the Best Deals!
This piece is probably a bit scary to some people...but I love this kind of finish. What I would've done with a piece like this is to add some beeswax to the edges and layered on and sanded off even more paint. Because I'm a paint layering fool, y'all.

Finding Furniture to Refinish: Tips and Tricks to Score the Best Finds for the Best Deals!
I added this photo to simply remind myself "when you love something...BUY IT". Went back a couple of hours later and it was long gone. Sniff, sniff. I had the perfect spot...and paint color. 

Finding Furniture to Refinish: Tips and Tricks to Score the Best Finds for the Best Deals!
This was the Round Top haul from last spring...so much fun was had with my friend, Amy!
If you're searching for a specific piece (I always find myself in that situation), flea markets aren't always the best for that. Unless you have a lot of space for storage, you can't always buy everything in anticipation for what you may or may not need in the future (although, holy heck, it's soooo tempting!). I also love to buy furniture off of Craigslist.
There's definitely some safety measures to keep in mind here. For one thing, not everyone is willing to haul heavy furniture to the back of the Walmart parking lot to meet you for a looksie. If you have to go to a residence, by no means go alone. And more than two people is a great idea, when possible. And when you arrive, say a prayer that they've moved it to their garage or driveway...I don't know why people are okay with inviting strangers through their home, but sometimes they are. If you're not comfortable with whatever situation is presented, a piece of furniture is definitely not worth risking your safety...there will be other pieces.

Finding Furniture to Refinish: Tips and Tricks to Score the Best Finds for the Best Deals! 
 Also, you can usually pay less if you come and get the piece yourself. We hauled the above coffee table out of an apartment in a different town. It was HEAVY. But it turned into a great piece. See its finished transformation over on my other blog here. By shopping Craigslist, I only paid $25 for this...and it is the heaviest piece (as in, real wood). I don't live in a very large town, but I'm within a quick drive of both Austin and Dallas (okay, so Dallas isn't a quick drive, but it's close enough for me). I peruse all three of these Craigslist lists (mine, Austin, Dallas), as well as all the smaller towns in between (Waco, etc.). I've probably bought the most stuff in Austin...that's where I'm from, so I'm comfortable driving down there and back pretty fast.

Finding Furniture to Refinish: Tips and Tricks to Score the Best Finds for the Best Deals! Here's a few things I wanted to point out regarding the above screenshot I did on a search for a buffet: 
1. Make sure to search in the "all for sale/wanted" category. People sometimes categorize things into places you'd never dream of. I personally find most stuff in the "furniture by owner" category, but there's also antiques and places like that which are good matches for things I look for as well. Sometimes the search will ping a garage sale, too, so you know that the item you are searching for will be available at a local sale. 
2. Search more than one term. Not everyone calls every piece the exact same thing. In this search, I also looked for "sideboards" and "hutches", too. I search every word and combination of words that would go with my item I'm looking for. 
3. Set a max price so you don't blow the budget. There's ALWAYS the perfect piece out there...and it's usually $200+ over my budget. If I never actually see it (by excluding it from a search), I won't be able to justify it because "it's just sooo perfect"! 
4. I, personally only search posts with a pic. That means the seller is serious and wants to move this piece. It also gives me a great tool to weed out the not-so-attractive pieces!  Regarding photos, though...I've scored two AMAZING pieces simple because they had poor quality photos posted and I don't think many others took the time to really analyze them like I did. So, look super close at pics...it may be a hidden gem! 
5. Set an alert and let Craigslist email you when another piece that you're looking for (within your price range) becomes available. This is a huge timesaver.

Finding Furniture to Refinish: Tips and Tricks to Score the Best Finds for the Best Deals! 
The above is a buffet I actually did score on Craigslist. It is over 100 years old and is one of my favorite pieces ever. You can see the transformation I gave it here.

Finding Furniture to Refinish: Tips and Tricks to Score the Best Finds for the Best Deals!
After flea markets and Craigslist, my other choices are garage sales and thrift stores. The above piece was from Goodwill...but was obviously from a garage sale (and didn't sell, so ended up at the GW...as evidenced by the masking tape price tag that was on the side of the table still). Goodwill can be funny for furniture...if it's a really nice piece, they often put it in an auction and often drive the price up with that scenario. But, a lot of the less desirable pieces end up on their floor. But, hey...I'm all about less desirable...because it's usually cheaper! And I can usually transform it into something much better. 

Finding Furniture to Refinish: Tips and Tricks to Score the Best Finds for the Best Deals! 
And lastly...don't forget about your family and friends who may have pieces stored away that they don't want to part with with just anyone. The above piece sat in my parents' storage shed for years before I found it one day. They had forgotten it was there and were only too happy to let me have it. With a little TLC, it's now in my dining room...see its transformation and after pics here. How do you find pieces for furniture refinishing?





2 comments:

  1. I had no idea you could set an alert on Craigslist! I'm definitely going to try that. I purchased my dining table through Craigslist and I have big plans for refinishing it.

    Btw, I LOVE the name of your blog! :)

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  2. I used to have a similar hobby with my furniture pieces at home, refurbishing them with a new coat of paint or a new layer of fabric. However, over time, the passion dies down when I eventually ran out of old furniture to refinish and give a breath of fresh air to. I think I need to scavange flea markets more often now or even Craigslist.

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