It is a sad fact of life that the economy is not good. Many good people have found themselves out of work and cannot afford the things they used to take for granted.
One way that I have saved myself a ton of money, yet have some very nice things is to buy old furniture and then restore it. This is time consuming and takes some knowledge, but it can be rewarding in two ways;
1) You can fill your house with top-end furniture dirt cheap.
2) You can purchase furniture cheaply, restore it, and then turn around and sell it at a profit.
This is a win-win situation for you. You can have very nice furniture as well as make some extra income if you learn how to restore used furniture.
The first thing you need to learn how to do to embark on this adventure is to figure out where to purchase used furniture. There are lots of different kinds of furniture you can specialize in, so I am going to speak in generalities about the type of furniture.
I like to begin my search with the classified section of the local newpaper. It has been my experience that people with old furniture use this medium first. I am looking for quality furniture that can be restored. You really don't need to be a furniture expert to know high quality furniture.
High quality used furniture will be heavy. Do not buy cheap, press or particle board and expect to be able to restore it. High quality wood can be easily sanded down, and then repainted or stained.
There are endless possibilites as far as finding the furniture goes. I have found some nice pieces at second hand stores. The key to finding the best pieces is to be relentless. Find all of the places in your area that sell second hand furniture and visit them often. If you become familar with the owner of the store, he will call you when he gets a piece in that he thinks you might be interested in. This is your goal, to have every second hand store owner in the area knowing your first name and interests.
I have only discussed two possibilities so far. There are many others such as craigslist or ebay.Craigslist is by far more useful to me because it is a local. When you are in the furniture game, transportation is an important consideration. I am always happier when I don't have to move a piece very far.
What I like about these two avenues is that you can look at photos of the merchandise before you even approach the owner. I am certain that I have passed on some very good pieces simply because there was not a great photo of it, but how else am I going to judge the quality. I don't have time to go and look at every single advertised piece. Another thing I have learned is that people who have good photos of the furniture they are selling tend to be more honest. They are not trying to hide anything.
If you are starting out at this with no knowledge whatsoever, you are exactly where I was when I started. You will learn what furniture is easiest to work with. You will also learn what furniture sells the best and which pieces sell for the most money. It takes time and you might even get stuck with a few pieces that you don't want.
I have discussed ony one aspect of this process. You also have to make any repairs to the piece, sand it down, and then finally, you must either stain or paint it. The final parts of the process will be discussed in later articles.