Did you know that over 10 million tons of furniture waste end up in landfills annually in Canada and the US? Called ‘F-waste’, it is some of the most toxic materials discarded by businesses and households. We were flabbergasted to find out that an average office chair contains dozens of different materials and chemicals and an office cubicle represents anywhere between 300 to 700 pounds of waste!
For our homes, purchasing used furniture offers innumerable benefits for both you as a consumer and to our society in general, as it keeps waste out of landfills and it extends the lifespan of items that, in the past, would have been passed on through generations.
Habitat for Humanity has a handful of great reasons to purchase secondhand:
- It Saves Resources – Every piece of furniture you buy from a reseller means that the materials that would have been used to build it can be better used elsewhere.
- It Reduces Environmental Footprint – When you furnish with secondhand items, you are diverting good items from already overloaded landfills.
- It Costs Less – In 2018, Canadians spent $52M on home furnishings and furniture! So often, when we replace furniture, it is not because it is worn and needs replacing, but rather because we perceive it to be ‘out of style.’ Put into context, a new couch may look great, but wouldn’t a $2,000 vacation feel so much better?
- It Benefits the Community – Large furniture stores (hello IKEA!) rely on global supply chains and overseas manufacturing, whereas secondhand stores operate much more locally. Owners are usually independent and employ people from the community.
In the Lower Mainland, there are dozens upon dozens of fantastic community-based furniture re-sellers. Here are five that we have patronized and will always love popping into on a sunny day for a browse!
Wow Interiors – Kitsilano
Wow Interiors has a selection of Mid Century and Modernism designs influenced by Palm Springs and New York’s Soho. Partners Kirsten and Richard collect the pieces and seek out unique treasures. Their Vancouver showroom is a curated collection of luxury, modern, deco and vintage furniture, art and design objects. Wow Interiors is a great place to look for pre-loved home furnishings and décor. New items are featured on their Instagram, so check it often!
Attic Treasures – The Drive
Attic Treasures has been offering a selection of Mid Century Modern, Vintage, Antique and used furniture since 1988. Owner Lilian Reimer started collecting furniture as a hobby and grew her passion into a business. Located on Commercial Drive, Attic Treasures has one-of-a-kind pieces that can bring a room to life while giving pre-loved pieces a new home.
Mid-Century Modern Home – Kingsway
Mid-Century Modern Home has high-quality Mid-Century and Danish Modern furniture, lighting and décor. The Kingsway store is a one-stop shop for restored, refinished and reupholstered vintage items that are unique. Owner Jenny is very knowledgeable and is willing to go out of her way to make your experience at Mid-Century Modern Home great.
Gild & Co – Vancouver
Gild & Co is a vintage and antique furniture store that celebrates individuality and personal expression over the convenience of generic build-from-a-box home furnishings. The owners, Bonnie and Marc, offer beautiful and timeless furniture and décor that is high quality. The Gild & Co showroom, located in Vancouver, offers personal shopping appointments making it easy to find the perfect piece for your needs.
ReFind – Main Street
ReFind Home Furnishings is a Vancouver second-hand furniture store packed with mid-century, retro home decor gems. Owner Bart Taylor first opened the store in 2008 and strives to create a welcoming ambience in his store with no pressure to buy but instead appreciate the unique finds that ReFind offers. The store specializes in furniture, lighting and art from well-known and unknown artists, with approximately 90 percent of the artwork being signed originals.
Create unique spaces within your home! Cookie-cutter interiors look great in showhomes but when you are looking to convey your personality, break away from the usual, and add unique, one-of-a-kind pieces to really wow your guests.
- Helen Siwak is passionate about content creation, marketing, shopping secondhand, promoting a vegan lifestyle, and supporting organizations and activists fighting against the status quo. She is the founder and president of EcoLuxLuv Comms (Folio.YVR Luxury Lifestyle Magazine, EcoLuxLifestyle.co), and VEG Networking Group | firstname.lastname@example.org.