Hi everyone, Kate here for the final round in the Secondhand Sprucing series. Today we’re looking at some inspiring home office makeover ideas from creative DIYers. Setting up a small home office in your home requires two essentials — a desk and chair. Beyond that a lamp and a storage solution for files are an added bonus.
Desks are easy to come by if you keep your eyes open. Just look what can happen when you dedicate a few hours to revamping a discarded secondhand desk.
Desk chairs are often the ubiquitous and mass produced swivel varieties. If you’re going to spend hours of your time working in one place, introduce a dash of panache to your office space with a reupholstered or repainted desk chair.
Finding a great desk or chair can happen if you head out early to garage sales or get lucky when stopping by your favorite thrift store. With Craigslist, it’s just a matter of finding what you need in your area when you happen to be online. Craigeasy is a helpful tool for narrowing down what you’re looking for with an image search. Thrifting is always a treasure hunt, and you never know what you’re going to find. Here are a few of my best tips for shopping thrift stores for great secondhand furniture finds.
Know the Sales Days. Find out when your local store has sales and show up early. It’s typically set on their calendar or after a big donation weekend. I’m in the habit of stopping in every Monday or Tuesday to see what’s new after locals declutter or purge their home with a weekend drop off.
Seek the Diamond in the Rough. Shopping a thrift store can be hit and miss, and you never know what you’ll find inside. It just depends on what is in stock on a given day. Typically, the good stuff is buried under the bad. Don’t be afraid to get your hands dirty and shuffle things around to find something worth buying.
Time is Money. Always consider the time and cost of refurbishing a piece. If it is one that will need to be completely restored, stained or painted, factor in that time and energy into the purchase price.
Full Inspection. Give anything you contemplate bringing home a full inspection. Often, the staff will have already weeded through unusable items; nevertheless, take the time to thoroughly inspect the item. With furniture, pull every drawer and open every door. Look for signs of quality construction, like solid wood drawers and dovetail joints.
Be Willing to Walk Away. Half the time I enter a thrift store I see absolutely nothing I could use. I see pieces I could refurbish, but I resist the urge to bring them home if they serve no purpose. After a quick look, if you don’t see anything that will work for you, come back to shop another day.
Beware the Cooties. So many people freak out at the thought of bedbugs, mites, or strange odors. This concern is legitimate, as there have been outbreaks of bedbugs in many urban areas, so always take precautions. If you bring home fabric, be sure to wash it in hot water to kill any germs. Resist the urge to buy anything upholstered that you’ll sleep or sit on unless you plan to have it professionally cleaned or reupholstered before you bring it into your home. Examine every piece of furniture for any signs of infestation or decay.
Odor Elimination. If your furniture find has a mild odor, perhaps due to a previous life in a smoker’s residence, there are several remedies. Baking soda, white vinegar, witch hazel, Borax, and Murphy’s Oil Soap all help neutralize odors in secondhand furniture.
Ask For a Lower Price. I am never afraid to ask for a discount on furniture beyond the listed price. The key is to talk to the manager on site, not just a clerk or volunteer working in the store. If they decline, the good news is your money is going to a worthy cause but it never hurts to ask.
Shop Without Kids. Just like any treasure hunt at a flea market or clearance sale, young children have little patience. If you intend to hit a few stores, leave those little ones at home with your mate or a sitter. That said, I think it does set a good example to take kids to thrift stores now and then so they learn the benefits of secondhand shopping; not everything in life needs to be brand new, and there is value to restoration and repurposing found objects.
Purge Often. You know how it is — both retail and secondhand purchases can quickly clutter your home; so get in the habit of purging your home of the things you don’t use or need and donate them to your favorite thrift store. Drop off your donation at the back door before you enter the front.
This concludes our five part series on Secondhand Sprucing. I hope you’ve enjoyed all the inspiration included in these previous four Secondhand Sprucing articles:
Thank you HGTV for having me as a guest here. I’m always a huge fan of what’s happening on the pages of Design Happens. You can catch up with me any time at my personal blog Centsational Girl.