The Dangers of Buying Used Furniture

April 20, 2023  ·  6 min read  ·  Reviewed by Sarah Zubowski

The dangers of buying used furniture is a topic that feels like it has been swept under the rug lately. With the sustainability movement and recent economic recession, buying used furniture is seen as a trend now more than ever, with thrift stores and antique stores becoming the new furniture stores for DIYers or those on a budget who are looking for a good deal. 

Although buying secondhand furniture seems to be a more sustainable and cost-efficient option, buying used furniture can actually cause more harm than good when it comes to upholstered furniture. Our furniture experts are here to reveal the dangers of buying used furniture, and discuss why going new the first time might be just as sustainable and affordable. 

What furniture should you not buy second-hand?

Before we get into the dangers, let’s discuss which types of furniture you should avoid if you’re shopping in a secondhand store. 

While buying a used wooden coffee table will pose little to no threat — assuming that the wood isn’t infested with termites — buying used couches, chairs, and any other upholstered pieces is a huge risk. 

Let’s say you wander into your local secondhand store and are wondering, “Is it safe to buy used bedroom furniture?” The answer is no. Buying a few side tables or a plain wooden bed frame might be safe, but mattresses and upholstered bed frames should never be bought secondhand.  

Here is the cardinal rule: If the piece of furniture is covered in fabric, leave it be. Reupholstering a used piece of furniture can be an expensive task and is often not worth it because of the health and safety risks. But why is buying secondhand upholstered furniture unsafe? Let’s talk about it. 

Three dangers of buying used furniture 

1. The furniture could introduce harmful hazards into your home

The biggest risk with buying used furniture is that you don’t know where the used furniture came from. You can’t be certain that its previous environment was clean and sanitary, which can put you at risk of purchasing dirty, smelly, and even infested furniture. 

Without proper inspection and information from the seller, here are some of the hazards that you can bring into your home with used furniture.


Mold often looks exactly like dust, making it difficult to tell if a piece of furniture is safe or not. Introducing mold into your home will bring on a variety of harmful health issues including respiratory infections that can make your space inhabitable. 


These little critters love to chomp on wood, making wooden furniture a perfect place for them to reside. While you may think you’re bringing home a new piece of decor, you’re also bringing home possibly hundreds of little insects who are ready and willing to eat away at the rest of the wood in your home. The risk isn’t worth it, especially considering that termite removal services cost a pretty penny — possibly much more than what you paid for the used furniture in the first place.

Bed bugs 

That’s right — bed bugs aren’t just for beds. Bed bugs also like to lurk in upholstered furniture and can turn your serene space into a living nightmare. How do I make sure my couch doesn’t have bed bugs? Although you can pay someone to do a thorough inspection, your money would be better spent on a new, high-quality piece that won’t expose your home to harmful insects. 

In our expert opinion, it’s safer to pass up on upholstered secondhand furniture altogether. The pros inherently do not outweigh the cons, especially since the cons are incredibly dangerous to you and your home.

2. The furniture will have a shorter lifespan

Let’s say that you do find a used piece of furniture that seems perfectly clean and free from all hazards. The unfortunate truth is that it isn’t going to last. Think about it: used furniture is donated for a reason. No matter how “new” or “durable” it may seem, furniture that has been previously lived on will have excessive signs of wear and tear coupled with compromised structural integrity. 

The bottom line is that you likely won’t be able to keep used furniture pieces around for more than a few years, costing you more money to replace them in the future. Good quality furniture is built to last you a lifetime and shouldn’t be treated as temporary decor. 

3. The furniture could be made with low-quality materials  

Just as apparel thrift stores are now littered with fast fashion clothing, secondhand furniture retailers are now having to accommodate an influx of donated fast furniture. With trend cycles moving at a ridiculously fast pace, consumers are more willing to donate their cheaply made fast furniture to make room for their newest pieces (that are also cheaply made fast furniture). 

While snagging that sleek Swedish-made couch at the thrift store may seem like a steal, the low-quality materials used to make these pieces will give out on you easily and can compromise your comfort. We understand that furniture can be quite expensive, especially if you’re shopping at large retail stores, but you will end up spending more money replacing secondhand furniture than you would be investing in a new, quality piece. 

If you are in the market for high-quality, affordable sustainable furniture, look no further than Living Designs Furniture. 

Living Designs Furniture provides affordable, handmade furniture for the best prices in Houston

If you want to steer clear of the dangers of buying used furniture, you can avoid these furniture buying mistakes by simply trusting the experts at Living Designs Furniture. 

Believe us when we say that it is more cost-effective and sustainable to invest in a handcrafted piece of furniture that is made with your needs and personal style in mind. When you truly love your furniture, you will be able to reap all of its benefits for years to come. There’s no need to replace it every few years.

As both the furniture manufacturer and retailer, Living Designs Furniture provides our customers with factory-low prices on the highest quality furniture in Houston. No other store can beat our craftsmanship and our prices. 

Visit our Downtown Houston showroom for yourself, and see all that we have to offer! Whether you want to peruse our in-stock inventory (currently 50% off!) or create your very own custom piece, we have your dream furniture right here waiting. 

More Helpful Articles by Living Designs Furniture:

Share on:

Related Articles