Furnish your home sustainably, and on a budget, with this handy guide on where to buy second-hand furniture online, as well as some top tips to keep you right.
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When it comes to furnishing your home with the planet in mind, there are heaps of sustainable furniture brands out there. These brands offer pieces made from recycled, reclaimed or earth-conscious materials. In terms of budget, though, some brands can be quite spendy.
If you don’t have the budget for these brands, then worry not. The most sustainable – and the most budget-friendly – way to furnish your home is to shop second-hand. Even if second-hand options are limited near you, there are now heaps of places to buy second-hand furniture online.
Whether you’re looking for a larger piece to give your living room a facelift, or a smaller set of drawers to complete your bedroom – it’s never been easier to find quality pre-loved pieces at a fraction of the original cost. And in some cases, it won’t even cost you a penny.
Where to Buy Second-Hand Furniture Online
Here are my favourite spots to pick up preloved pieces online.
You can use these quick links to jump to information about each shopping platform, or you can keep scrolling for the full details.
Etsy may be a great spot to pick up art from crafters around the world. Yet many people forget that Etsy is also home to a wide selection of vintage and upcycled furniture.
Searching for that perfect piece can feel overwhelming, however, the filter is your friend. Use this to specify your budget, colour, and style (from ‘Hollywood Regency’ to ‘Industrial & Utilty’ and everything in between). You’ll soon be able to hone in on exactly what you are looking for.
Each piece is available for home delivery, so if you don’t have access to transport, this makes it an easy way to shop for preloved pieces.
For vintage furniture online, Scaramanga is a great place to look. It’s home to a wide variety of original and unique pieces of furniture suitable for every room. From antique wooden trunks and chests to cabinets, cupboards and mirrors, these are just some of the vintage treasures you can find nestled on its virtual shelves.
What’s to love about Scaramanga is that, unlike some other vintage retailers, it does not sell any new furniture, or anything mass-produced to look old. You’re only getting the preloved stuff.
And while some preloved pieces can come with faults that need rectifying, with Scaramanga that’s all done for you. Where necessary, the piece of furniture has been expertly restored using skilled craftspeople and carpenters, before being listed for sale.
Any restoration carried out is done so sympathetically. In many cases, restoring a piece of furniture entirely to its original state would result in it potentially losing its character, history and appeal. This means some pieces of furniture may have some imperfections consistent with their age and original use to maintain their charm.
Each piece of furniture will be delivered to your door in full working order, cleaned and polished, and ready to last a lifetime.
Buy Nothing Groups
If you are looking to find second-hand furniture online for free, then check out your local Buy Nothing group.
This is a free-to-join platform where people can give things away for free that they no longer need, or lend and share items with their neighbours has grown into a global movement. With over 7.5 million Buy Nothing members, and 128 thousand Buy Nothing communities around the world and counting, it’s an incredible force for good.
The Buy Nothing Project rules are universal wherever you are in the world. Namely no buying, selling, or bartering of any kind. Every object listed in your local group must be given freely. You’re not even allowed to mention the monetary value of an item you are giving away.
The easiest way to find your closest group is to use the app – available free on both Apple and Android. If you don’t want to download the app, you can scroll through the list of UK towns and cities available on the website.
The charmingly old-school site Freecycle is another handy place to find second-hand furniture online for free.
This grassroots and entirely nonprofit community of people is all about reuse, and keeping good stuff out of landfills. And, as the name suggests, the Freecycle network is all about giving and getting stuff for free. This means everything listed on the site must be given away for free – there are no exceptions.
You can find your nearest Freecycle Group on the Freecycle website. There you can join (for free, of course!) and browse local listings. If you see something that suits you, you can reply and then arrange a pickup time and location.
eBay can be a great place to pick up second-hand and vintage furniture for sale by homeowners and collectors alike.
This online marketplace offers three different buying options, depending on the seller. Some sellers choose to list their items in eBay’s online auction, where you need to bid on a piece that ends at a fixed date and time.
Other sellers list their items in eBay’s online auction, but offer a “buy it now” or a “best offer”. This is where you can end the auction early by paying a fixed price, or a price that you and the seller mutually agree upon.
And then other sellers bypass the auction format completely and just offer a fixed “buy it now” price.
If you are looking to give eBay a go, then do check out my top eBay buying tips here. It is specific to clothing, but many of the fundamentals remain – whether you’re buying a pair of trousers or a chest of drawers to hold your trousers!
Do check that when you are buying furniture, that the seller offers postage options. eBay does allow for local pickup, so not all sellers offer delivery.
Gumtree is another great place to find second-hand furniture online. This long-running classified ads site has heaps of local listings for everything you could ever need. From sofas to beds, drawers to wardrobes and more, if you need a piece of furniture at preloved prices then it’s well worth a look here.
My favourite section to peruse is the Freebies section. Here you find the items local to you that people are looking to pass on, without any need for payment.
In most cases, you’ll need to arrange to collect the item. Some sellers will deliver the item to you in exchange for a delivery fee. As such, it’s always worth asking the seller if transport is an issue for you.
Facebook Marketplace is one of my top spots to find preloved furniture pieces in your local area. Due to the popularity of Facebook, I’ve found that its marketplace carries the widest range of second-hand furniture online around.
Whilst some pieces come at a cost, some people list their furniture for free. They might be in a hurry to get rid of the item – whether that’s simply needing to make some space, or due to an imminent move – so this makes it a great spot to pick up a freebie or, at the very least, at bargain preloved prices.
If you know how to use Facebook, then using Facebook Marketplace is simple. The seller will post a photo and description of the item they are selling. All you need to do is to drop the seller a message, via Facebook Messenger, to show your interest, or get more details about the item.
For items listed for free, it can be quite competitive. It’s a case of getting in quickly and being able to collect the item.
When you respond to the seller, ask if the item is available, and tell them when you can collect it. Most people listing furniture for free want rid of the item as quickly as possible. This means if you can collect that day then you’ll be viewed more favourably than someone who wants to collect the item the following week.
If you’ve not used Facebook Marketplace before, then do familiarise yourself with Facebook’s information on how to shop and sell safely and avoid scams.
Top Tips For Buying Second-Hand Furniture Online
Now that you know where to look, it’s important to keep yourself right. Buying used furniture online is relatively easy, but there are a few tips that you should follow:
- It’s a good idea to check that the piece of furniture hasn’t been recalled by the manufacturer. Check for product recalls on Gov.uk. If the item has been recalled, then ask for proof that the item has been replaced or properly repaired.
- If you can’t inspect the piece of furniture in person, don’t be afraid to ask the seller for more details or photos. If the item is damaged in some way, ask yourself if it is fixable or decide if it’s something you can live with.
- Look out for woodworm holes. These can be visible from photos, so don’t be afraid to ask the seller for proof that this has been treated. Don’t be embarrassed to specifically ask if the item has or has had woodwork, or ask for more photos.
- Check measurements carefully. You don’t want to get something home and find it doesn’t fit. Returning second-hand furniture isn’t always an option offered by sellers, so it is important that your measurements are precise.
- Be cautious of scammers. If something sounds too good to be true, then it’s probably a scam. If you are shopping on Gumtree or Facebook Marketplace, then be on your guard. If someone asks for money upfront then report this to the site.
- If you can’t collect the item, make sure you factor in transport costs. Have an idea of much a taxi (for smaller items of furniture), or a person with a van (for larger items) might cost to hire to ensure that the all-in price is something you can afford.