The Advice I Tell Everyone After Furnishing My Home With All Second-Hand Buys

Second hand furniture online

In January this year, I moved into my own one-bedroom apartment. For the first time, I could get furniture that I knew wasn’t going to see some serious wear and tear by near-constant use by housemates, and that I knew wouldn’t be at risk of being damaged every time I was out.

It was an exciting feeling! But also, incredibly overwhelming. It took about four months to sell my old furniture (pieces that had definitely experienced that wear and tear) and buy new ones. And by ‘new’, I mean new to me, but from Gumtree and Facebook Marketplace.

In the end, without realising, I bought almost everything from those two platforms. I ended up loving the result — it was worth every anxious moment I had wondering when (more like ‘if’) it would all come together and how the hell the removalists were going to fit all the pieces up my narrow stairs.

I thought I’d share what I learnt about second-hand furniture-buying tips here — along with a few general moving-in-and-getting-new-furniture tips. If that’s you, know that there is light at the end of the tunnel. Moving in should be the fun part — it’s boxing everything up that’s not).

Talk to Everyone

I was telling my friend about my open-space kitchen, and he suggested the brilliant idea of getting a kitchen island. I ended up getting a second-hand one from IKEA.

While telling another friend about how I was thinking of upgrading couches, she mentioned two home designers that did great couches — MCM House and James Lane. A few days later, I saw a brand-new MCM House linen couch on Gumtree (still in wrapping, the person couldn’t fit it into their lift to get it into their apartment!), and ended up springing for it.


It was also a friend who noticed another friend selling linen chairs on Marketplace, which prompted me to her to ask her if I could buy them. Moral of the story? Talk to people about what you’re looking for.

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Do Your Research

Why did I buy the expensive designer couch, you ask? Well, it was half the price (originally $3,300, I got it for $1,650), and I’d done the research. I’d spent hours trawling Gumtree, Marketplace and online stores with sales to see which styles I liked and how much I could expect to pay for them.

As a result, I could make that decision to fork out the (still significant) funds confidently. I knew it was exactly the style I wanted, and because of that, I’ll have it for years to come. And for that, it was totally worth it.

Keep Your Eyes Peeled Online

Next tip? Stay on top of the listings, and search different terms for what you’re after. For instance, I discovered some people had listed their kitchen islands as ‘kitchen bench’ or ‘kitchen table’. In fact, my best hack is to look up ‘wardrobe mirror door’, in case you find one that’ll work as a floor-length mirror when leaned against the wall — usually for a fraction of the price.


Once I knew I wanted specific models of kitchen island and storage bed, both from IKEA (my apartment is 70% second-hand IKEA), I set alerts on all the different words someone might use when listing them. Again, I’d also done my research so knew how much they went for full-price and how much they should be second-hand.

Find a Reliable Removalist

Once I’d ‘bought’ something, next came the tricky part of organising a removalist to go collect. If you’re considering hiring your own moving van and doing it yourself, think about whether it’s worth the effort. A lot of the time, the person selling the furniture on the other end wasn’t strong enough to lift things so, unless you’re sure you can carry it all on your own, it’s easier to just get a removalist.

I tried to organise pickup of two items in one day, to save on cost. Through a lot of back-and-forth texting with the removalist and the furniture owners, I’d organise him to go to one location and pickup an item, then to another, and then to come to mine (up six flights of stairs — there was no way I could’ve done it myself).

When you hire a removalist to do the picking-up, though, you’ll have to be careful to check the quality of the piece you’re buying beforehand, as it could be in your home, paid for, when you discover it has a giant mark on it. Usually, though, people selling items online are pretty honest about its condition in the listing, and you can always ask them to take more photos. You can usually ask the removalist to check its quality, too, when they pick it up.

Splurge on Some New Pieces

My last tip for buying second-hand is that you should mix it up with some new in there, too. I couldn’t find a coffee table I loved on Gumtree or Marketplace — I wanted blond wood and minimalist — but I found a great option brand-new, so I bought it. I also bought a new bench for the foot of my bed — also blond wood and minimalist — from Kmart.

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Yes, buying second-hand is great for the planet, and of course, your wallet, but considering how much time you spend at home, it’s worth getting what you actually want so you don’t end up unhappy with the lesser option in a few years’ time.

Bonus tip: this is also my personal aesthetic, but I found that white or blonde wood pieces worked as a great colour palette base. Then, I added pops of colour in the home decor, like a tie-dyed pillow on the white couch, a pink

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