From food to clothing choices, there has been a growing consciousness to consume ethically and sustainably. This increasing consideration for environmental sustainability seems to extend to their furniture choices.
If you resonate with the phrase “good (environmentally sustainable) habits should start from home”, we’ve put together a guide on how to go green with secondhand furniture.
Why Buy Secondhand Furniture for Your New Home?
Waste and ethical labour concerns
Repeatedly buying and disposing of ‘fast furniture’ in the name of chasing home improvement trends has contributed to our environmental and waste problem. In 2019, about 7.23 million tonnes of solid waste was generated in Singapore. Though 4.25 million tonnes were recycled, Semakau Landfill is projected to be completely filled by 2035.
To keep furniture production costs low, many businesses do a combination of these three things: use cheap (often underpaid) labour, outsource production to developing countries, use lower quality material. The distance required to transport furniture from factories to your home drastically increases its carbon footprint.
And more often than not, these complex international supply chains have a near-total lack of transparency. It has become difficult to make good individual consumer choices when most constraints are derived from how the furniture industry is structured at large. So what can we do?
Read more here.
Benefits of secondhand furniture
The three ‘R’s—Reduce, reuse, recycle—form the hierarchy of waste management. Ideally, we should collectively reduce and adopt an essentials-only attitude to home furnishing. However, we get that people like nice things. So, the next best option is to reuse existing pieces of furniture.
With secondhand furniture, you still reduce your carbon footprint as you maintain a circular economy and extend a product’s lifespan. Secondhand furniture is typically cheaper than new which is great for lowering renovation expenses. If you want to maximise your return on investment when you sell your property, purchasing secondhand furniture could help you strike a balance between achieving comfort and cost savings.
A common misconception that prevents Singaporeans from purchasing secondhand furniture is that it is unhygienic or about to fall apart. While this may be true in some cases — like if you are using your neighbourhood bin castoffs as the point of reference — many times, used furniture can be quite the opposite.
Let’s put it this way, if a secondhand item is in good condition, it is likely to be high quality having withstood the test of time. Some of these furniture pieces may also no longer be in production and have become one-of-a-kind. If you like, you can even use vintage furniture as statement pieces to jazz up a room!
There are tons of vintage and secondhand furniture stores in Singapore. If you’re not sure where to begin thrift furniture shopping, here’s a list you can refer to.
Where to Buy Secondhand Furniture in Singapore
1. Thrift House Marketing ($)
Walk through the narrow aisles of the Thrift House Marketing store and you’ll find cheap and functional furniture. Pre-loved chairs, tables and cabinets sourced from past office spaces come here to get a second chance.
Note: Thrift House Marketing is not active on social media. Do give them a call at 6296 2069 before dropping by their warehouse.
Thrift House Marketing Address: 69 Boon Keng Road, Singapore 339772
Thrift House Marketing Opening hours: 9am to 6pm (Monday to Saturday)
2. Junkie’s Corner ($)
Those equipped with a patient eye and knack for spotting items with upcycling potential should spend an afternoon at Junkie’s Corner. Continue on your treasure hunt by visiting the no-name shops along the rest of Antique Row.
Junkie’s Corner Address: 2 Turf Club Road, Singapore 287988
Junkie’s Corner Opening hours: 10am to 5pm daily
3. Hock Siong & Co. ($$)
If you’re looking for furniture with a touch of whimsy, Hock Siong & Co. is a good bet. This secondhand furniture sources from individual sellers, commercial show flats and hotels to provide you with reasonably-priced, unique alternatives.
Hock Siong & Co. Address: 153 Kampong Ampat, #01-03, Junjie Industrial Building, Singapore 368326
Hock Siong & Co. Opening hours: 9am to 5pm daily
4. Second Charm ($$)
Established in 2001, you’ll find refurbished retro furniture and decorative pieces at Second Charm. From Scandinavian to decorative French styles, you’ll be spoilt by their extensive selection. Custom orders are available on request.
Second Charm Address: 21 Kallang Avenue, #05-165, Mapletree Industrial Building, Singapore 3394121
Second Charm Opening hours: 11.30am to 5pm (Tuesday to Sunday)
5. Singapore Trading Post ($$$)
Think bourgeois, turn-of-the-century Asian charm. That’s what you’ll get at Singapore Trading Post. At their multiple stores, you can expect carefully curated collections sourced from India, Indonesia, Vietnam, and Myanmar.
Singapore Trading Post Address: Find the full list of outlets on the Singapore Trading Post’s website
Singapore Trading Post Opening hours: Find special festive hours for each outlet on the Singapore Trading Post’s website
Other Ways to Go Green with Your Home Furnishing
Secondhand furniture at online marketplaces and thrift stores
Aside from these secondhand furniture stores, Facebook Marketplace and Carousell has tons of pre-loved furniture for sale. Expats who are relocating overseas or locals that are trying to declutter and move house often trade, sell and/or give away used furniture. It is likely that you can get furniture in good condition from stores such as IKEA, HipVan, Crate & Barrel and Muji at low prices.
You can also pick up cheap thrift furniture at stores such as MINDS Shop, Praisehaven Mega Family Store (The Salvation Army) or Something Old Something New (SOSN). At these stores, you can donate your unwanted furniture too.
Read more here.
What to do when buying secondhand furniture
When buying secondhand furniture, always read the descriptions, look at similar listings to compare prices, and ask questions to find out why the seller is letting go of the item.
Move big, bulky items with affordable moving options such as Lalamove and GOGOX Singapore. Depending on how bulky and how far your item needs to be transported, expect to pay between $20 to $100.
Reducing your carbon footprint with secondhand furniture
Other ways to reduce your carbon footprint include looking into companies that upcycle waste products. Triple Eyelid creates furniture from broken pallets and crates. Bespoke carpentry label Roger & Sons has an initiative to turn local trees felled for urban redevelopment into statement pieces.
Ultimately, furnishing your home with secondhand furniture is one of the easiest ways to exercise eco-consciousness. Hopefully, this article has made it easier for you to begin your sustainable living journey!
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