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julie nolta design
Julie Nolta

Hi, I'm Julie, Chief Executive Empress

of my little apple green design studio.

Welcome to my blog!

When I'm not out visiting a client or searching for just the right  product for a project, I can probably be found in my happy little studio (painted the perfect shade of green), busy drawing up new ideas for a cool kitchen or a "spa-licious" bathroom. I like to share the fun stuff I find along the way!


apple green studio

Tips for consignment store furniture shopping

consignment furniture shopping

Have you ever thought about shopping at a consignment store when you’re in the market for a piece of furniture?

If you enjoy the thrill of the hunt, you can find great deals on things like living room and dining room furniture, rugs, artwork, and accent pieces. These stores carry new and lightly used furniture that is generally of a higher quality than what you might find at a thrift store. And frequently there are some big name brands available!

I met with some clients last week who are downsizing to move into a much smaller place in a retirement community. While we were talking about what they were going to take with them and how they were going to get rid of the rest of their things, I suggested that they might be able to sell some of their larger furniture items at a consignment store. And we might also be able to find a few nice pieces that they’re going to need in their new place.

Portland has a few very impressive furniture consignment stores, and as I was making a list of places for them to check out, I thought YOU might be interested too.

So, I’ve slapped together a few tips for you about furniture shopping at consignment stores. Here ya go:

Take your measurements

If you’re looking for something specific, know the measurements of your room and the maximum size of the item you need. And also take note of the widths of your doorways and hallways to make sure that new vintage credenza will fit in your room, and won’t be too big to get in the house. Take this info with you, plus a tape measure, to avoid expensive mistakes!

Here’s a hilarious video clip from the old TV show, Friends, about what happens when you buy a sofa without taking a flight of stairs into account. "Pivot!" :-D

Bonus tip: If you have a floor plan, email it to yourself so you’ll have it on your phone while you’re out shopping.

Pop in occasionally

Consignment stores get new stuff in all the time, so check in once a week or so if you’re looking for something specific, or even if you’re not. You never know when something great might show up. You'd be really sad to miss out on something like this special little number:

consignment store shopping tips

Keep an open mind

Try to think creatively about the items you run across when you’re out shopping. It may be a challenge to find the absolute perfect thing you’ve got in mind, but there may be something similar that could be re-purposed that will fit the bill nicely, and in a more fun and interesting way.

Here's a couple of cute little vintage pieces that take on new life with just a coat of a whimsical paint color.

consignment furniture shopping

consignment furniture shopping

Know your limits

You might find just the piece you’re looking for, but it’s the wrong color. Or covered with the wrong fabric. Do you have the time and patience and know-how to paint it or re-upholster it or repair it yourself? Is it worth the money it might take to refurbish it? If you answered "no" to any of these questions, you might want to re-think dragging that thing home.

If you love it, buy it. NOW.

If you see something you think you can’t live without, don’t wait around or go home to think about it. Chances are good that it could be gone by the time you get back.

Here are a couple of amazing orange chairs I spotted at Consignment NW last summer on one of my Field Trip Fridays. I would have tied them on the top of my car right then, but I knew I didn’t have a spare inch for them in my little condo. I loved those chairs and I still sigh over this photo just a little.

So there you have it - - 5 1/2 tips for shopping for furniture at consignment stores. Next week I’ll have a list for you of some wonderful places around town where you can sell some of your gently used furniture to make room for all your new consignment finds.

Want a shopping buddy or some help finding the perfect piece of furniture for your room? Get a hold of me and let's chat about what you need. :-)



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