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What you need to know about purchasing used sofas

Looking to purchase a second-hand sofa but don’t know where to begin? Here’s all you need to know about purchasing a used couch that could probably be a better decision than getting a new one.

In this article, we’re going to cover the reasons why you should choose a second-hand sofa, tips on how to choose the right one and where to get them

Why second-hand sofas?

Reduces carbon footprint. Carbon footprint means the amount of greenhouse gases released into the atmosphere by a person, a product, a device, activities, manufacturing process just to name a few, and these are expressed as carbon dioxide or CO2 equivalent emissions (CO2e). 

According to a study by Small World Consulting, you’re able to avoid 563 kilograms of carbon dioxide emission when you purchase a second-hand sofa. If you purchase a second-hand wardrobe, it could save 782 kilograms of carbon dioxide emission. Shocking, isn’t it? 

When you get an old couch, you’re also saving it from being thrown away. And, disposing of furniture, especially those made from wood or steel, is bad for the environment. Whether you burn it or bury it, they’re bound to release carbons and other pollutants into the air and soil respectively, and it can lead to water contamination as well.

So, the next time before you pay for that new, shiny piece of furniture, think of the old ones you could save and how that could possibly help the environment.

globe in hand
Image: Pexels

High-quality goods. If the antique furniture has already survived for the past decade or decades, it just shows that it’s made with great craftsmanship and is of excellent quality. Not all new sofas are made with the finest materials, a lot of cheaper sofas nowadays are made with particle boards. Although they are lightweight, they aren’t the most durable and are susceptible to moisture and humidity. 

For sofas that have withstood the years, there will definitely be signs of wear-and-tear on them. However, with a good old couch, the structure would still be solid. You might need to do some reupholstering or refinishing on the outside, but as long as the foundation is still strong, the sofa could still be used for years to come.

brown leather sofa
Image: Pexels

Low price. The price of an old sofa is definitely way lower than its original price years ago. In fact, it could cost about the same or less than a new sofa you find in stores. Quality-wise? The old couch is most likely unbeatable. They say “old is gold”, and it can’t be more true with antiques.

Of course, even though the price is cheaper, there are some other costs to consider such as repainting, reupholstering, and refinishing. Even with that, you’re paying a low price for an exceptional piece of furniture and it’s going to be worth it.

US dollar notes
Image: Unsplash

Unique inside out. Another good thing about picking up a second-hand sofa is that it’s one of a kind. It’s possible to find a similar one, but what are the chances of you meeting someone with a sofa that’s exactly the same, considering the fact that it was made decades ago? Furthermore, each sofa has its past, if you’re lucky, you’d be able to find out from its owner how far it travelled across the world to reach where you are and maybe some good memories that come along with it. 

If you do need to refinish it or redecorate it, your designs could add more quirkiness to the sofa too. Now that truly makes it your one-and-only sofa.

Vintage sofa in a vintage style living room
Image: Pexels
Things to look out for when purchasing an old sofa

So, you’ve decided that you want to get an old sofa? As the sofa experts, we are providing some tips on how to choose an old sofa so that you don’t get your hands on something nasty.

1.Inspect the material

What is the sofa frame made out of? It’s good to know whether it’s made out of specific materials like plywood, MDF (medium-density fibreboard) or solid wood, but if you don’t, that’s alright. Just take a look at the following steps to know what you should do.

Inspect the structure: real, solid wood is very, very heavy. If you’re able to lift it up easily, then it’s probably not solid wood. On the other hand, veneered wood is light as only the uppermost layer is real wood, whereas the bottom is made out of a cheaper material like fibreboard or particle board. 

Usually with solid wood, you are able to see dovetail joints, which means that they are held together strongly by glue. On the other hand, if you see nails and staples at the joints, they’re most likely made with lower quality veneered wood or laminate. 

You could also examine the patterns of the wood. If there are repeating grain patterns on the wood, it’s most likely veneer. Real wood would not have a consistent pattern going on, so that’s another way to determine if that piece is made out of real wood or not.


wooden table with a potted plant on top
Image: Pexels
2. Test it

It’s always better to pick out your new second-hand sofa physically, whether it’s at a used furniture store or a yard sale. Why we say this is because you’re able to actually test it out at the location before deciding whether you really want it and if it’s worth the purchase. 

Compared to how it looks outside (ugly patterns, signs of dirt and stains etc), the sofa structure is more important. So, while you’re there, sit on it with a thump as many times as you want, ask some friends to go and sit on it together, bounce up and down a little – just to see how well the chair holds. This is to ensure that when you actually put it to use, it’s able to withstand your active family members (children, pets etc) for many more years to come. 

If there are minor creaks, try looking for the source of it. Sometimes it may just be the screws that are loose, a simple tightening would be able to help reduce or stop the creak. Sometimes glue that is no longer adhesive will also cause your sofa to make tiny squeaks. If the frame generally looks and feels fine, just some D.I.Y. will keep it solid for the next few years.

However, if you notice the wood starting to splinter terribly and the frame seems crooked and off, it’s better to leave it and look for another sofa.

Image: Pexels
3. Smell it

As weird as this might sound, you have to do it in order to know that you’re getting the right piece of furniture. 

It’s only normal for an old sofa to smell like its previous owners’ space. If it just smells like dust or old furniture, that’s okay. Airing it out will help to clear off the smell. Products with scented oil can also help to give it a fresh scent.

However, you need to watch out for smells like mould, smoke, cooking oil or pet urine. If you do happen to sniff out these bad odours, please do not make a purchase! These smells are trapped in the sofa cushions and are almost impossible to remove. Sometimes, a foul odour can also be an indication that the couch was not regularly cleaned which can also lead to a breeding ground of bedbugs, yikes!

After investigating like a hound, you would be able to know which sofa can be purchased and which ones should be avoided at all costs. Even though the method is unusual, but that’s how you make sure used furniture is bug-free.


cat sniffing flowers
Image: Pexels
4. Fabric

Sometimes you take one glance at a sofa and decide that it’s just…too ugly. It could be the really outdated, ancient pattern; or the black and brown stains that look too stubborn to come off. 

If your cushion is slipcovered – that’s super good news! That’s because getting a beautiful slipcover to revive the tired, old couch is as easy as 1, 2, 3. Have you seen our slipcovers before? 70 chic and stylish fabric styles await you on Comfort Works. Order up to 8 free fabric samples to touch and feel the fabric before you decide on the one that would beautify the old sofa that you still really like. Do check out this post to see what kinds of sofa we can slipcover and what kinds that we are unable to. 

However, if the old sofa that you have your eye on is upholstered, there would be more steps to the process. You can either get it upholstered by a professional, or you can do it yourself by hacking your sofa.


Where to get them?

If you can’t seem to find something you like at any physical stores, there’s also many online outlets that you can get second-hand couches from. Take a look at these amazing online shops that offer great second-hand sofas in the USA.

1. Kaiyo

Kaiyo is an online marketplace for the trading of pre-owned furniture that are of high quality. They make selling and buying so easy! If you’re a buyer, you don’t need to worry about purchasing any “bad” furniture because they inspect, clean and deliver it to your doorstep! All you have to do is pick what you like from the website, make your payment, then sit back and wait for the day your sofa gets set up at your place. You can find a variety of used sofa beds, loveseats, chaises, sectionals and other furniture on Kaiyo.

2. Chairish

Chairish offers many curated, vintage pieces from high-end designers and brands. Their prices are higher than other second-hand furniture sellers, but they’re worth it due to their unique designs. Furthermore, their quality is guaranteed. Another advantage of using Chairish is that you are able to return the furniture within 48 hours if you’re not satisfied with it. How great is that?

3. 1stDibs

1stDibs is a well-known e-commerce website where you can acquire a lot of high-end designer furniture that come at premium prices. While this may sound like it may hurt your pockets, some one-and-only vintage pieces dating back to 1974 could just be worth its value. This website is also popular because of its antique art, decor, accessories and even second-hand fashion items. While you’re shopping for a second-hand couch, you might end up picking up another treasure too!

4. AptDeco

If you are in the Northeast or San Francisco Bay Area, AptDeco is probably your best choice when it comes to purchasing used sofas with convenience. Buyers make a purchase online from verified sellers, and AptDeco would arrange the delivery to your home. It’s pretty much like any other online shopping, but this time it’s with second-hand furniture from top brands such as West Elm, Sven and Crate & Barrel. Oftentimes, they have really great discounts that cost only half of the original retail price! Its rising popularity means that you are able to find more old couches that you like in the near future.

5. Facebook Marketplace

Connect directly with buyers on Facebook Marketplace on your own from start to finish of the buying process. This gives you more freedom when it comes to inspecting the real product as you are able to arrange with the sellers a viewing for the sofas that you’re interested in. This is a great opportunity for you to check out the sofas to ensure it is still fine to be used by you for the next few years. Many users have been able to find great furniture from Facebook Marketplace. Remember to use the tips mentioned above as a guideline to choosing the right second-hand sofa. 

Hopefully, with all the information that you have, you’re able to find the second-hand sofa that you like and are able to create lasting memories with.

If you do have an old couch that needs to be revived, take a look at our fabric options and see how Comfort Works can help you beautify your living room. Perhaps you wouldn’t have to purchase a new sofa then.

Transform your sofa

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Kuwait Buy and Sell
Kuwait Buy and Sell
5 months ago

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5 months ago

Hi there,

Thanks for your kind words – and thanks for sharing.

Cheers 🙂