Buying Unfinished Furniture

By Karl

One of the most obvious benefits of buying unfinished furniture is the avoidance of much of the nasty prep work. No stripping or scraping is required; you can jump right in to the fun, creative part. Both custom unfinished furniture and more affordably mass-produced items are available.

There are other reasons to buy unfinished furniture as well:

  • Better quality. Unfinished furniture is real wood, not composite. Because there is no dye, stain, or paint masking the wood, you can see if there are any blemishes or defects that might weaken the piece.
  • Easily match you existing décor. If you’ve already refinished an item and want to match it, it’s unlikely that you’ll be able to do so by choosing pre-finished furniture at the store. Unfinished furniture allows you to mix and match stains for the perfect result.
  • Unfinished furniture almost always costs less than pre-finished furniture of similar quality. And, buying furniture unfinished allows a custom look without the expense of having a piece custom-made from scratch. Choose the style, the wood, and the finish yourself; with so many options available, you’re likely to end up with a one of a kind product.
  • Attention to detail. If you finish a piece yourself, you know the finish will be done right. Items finished assembly-line style rarely look as good as hand-finished pieces.
  • Pride of ownership. There’s something incredibly satisfying about pointing out a chair and saying, “I did that myself.”

Where to Find Unfinished Furniture Stores

Unfinished furniture outlets can be found all over the country. Quality and price depend, in part, on your location. Check your yellow pages for listings, or visit the Unfinished Furniture Association’s website.

Craft fairs and farmers markets rent space to individuals and groups. You may be able to find a local craftsman or an Amish or Mennonite group selling their wares. If your taste runs to the unusual or rustic, these types of venues might be your best bet!

Sometimes traditional furniture stores are able to order pieces unfinished. It never hurts to ask, especially if you fall in love with the style of a piece but hate its color.

Mail Order/Internet

If your community doesn’t have an unfinished furniture store, you can browse catalogs or search online. Try to choose a company within a couple hundred miles, if possible, to keep shipping costs down. Or, look for one of the many companies that offer free shipping.

Unfinished furniture stores frequently place classified ads in the back of woodworking, craft, and home decorating magazines; you can usually order a catalog by calling an 800 number.

Online, search for “unfinished furniture + your city”, “unfinished furniture+ your state” or simply “buy unfinished furniture online”.

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