Do you love up-cycling old pieces of furniture and making them look new again? Or perhaps you are moving house and are on a tight budget? Buying second hand furniture is a great way to introduce unique pieces of furniture into your home, to create a look that is entirely your own. If you need budget furniture, you can't go past IKEA, Fantastic Furniture or A-Mart in Canberra, however if you are looking or something with some character and history, take a look at the following second hand outlets around the city. You are sure to find that perfect piece that you have been looking for - it may just take a little longer to find.
Take a chance at The Green Shed, in Symonston and Mitchell
The Green Shed is Canberra's "tip shop" - where perfectly good pieces of furniture, clothes, bikes, tools, books and more are saved before going to landfill. There are two main warehouses to choose from - Mitchell in the north and Symonston in the south. When you walk into the sheds, everything you see may be broken - it may be missing a handle or broken underneath, however if you use your imagination, a touch of glue and a lick of paint, a banged-up coffee table can get a second lease of life. If you find something you like, take it up to the counter (or ask a staff member to walk to it, if it is large) and they will give you a price on the spot - which is always reasonable, starting from $5. See here for details.
Op shops are the next obvious place for people to hunt down a second hand furniture bargain. Canberra is fortunate to have a wide range of op shops around the city and suburbs - some with furniture which have surprisingly steep price tags and some with more affordable prices. I have found that the op shops furthest away from the city are cheaper for furniture, so perhaps try them first on your list. If you want the biggest range, most of the Salvo's' around Canberra have large furniture sections, particularly Fyshwick and Mitchell, however it is worth looking at the small ones too. See here for a full list of Canberra's op shops - and don't forget to hop across the border and check out what Queanbeyan has to offer.
We accidentally discovered this interesting office furniture store, whilst visiting Amber Tiles just a few doors down in Yallourn Street, Fyshwick. If you are looking for a large desk for your study in particular - this ex-government, second hand furniture warehouse has office furniture galore. Check out the prices for new furniture before you go, so you can compare the prices and see if it is a good deal. On a side note, this store has made the national news recently for selling a second hand filing cabinet full of classified government secrets! See here for details.
Have you walked inside All Bids in Fyshwick to see how it works? It is a little like eBay, as you can buy second hand furniture online, however you have the opportunity to go and inspect the actual item first, before you bid. This way, you can have a closer look at what it is made of, how sturdy it is and how big it is, before you buy. They sell second hand furniture from embassies, government agencies, closed down businesses, ex-display stock and much more - you never know what you will find! See here for details. Also on the same street is The Auction Barn, with live and online auctions.
Look online and then track down the item number you are looking for, at All Bids
If you still can't find the piece of furniture you've been looking for, don't forget to have a look at Gumtree,eBay and Buy Swap and Sell Canberra and Queanbeyan. On the other hand, if you have found an exceptional second hand furniture shop that isn't mentioned here, please leave a comment at the top of this article. You can never have too many options.
Second hand furniture may not be for everyone, however if you love making something old look new again, there is no better way to enjoy your creation, than by using it every day.
Could this be your next project? (Photo taken at the Green Shed, Mugga Lane)