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New house – new furniture?
My husband and I bought a little old Victorian house last year right after we moved to England. Super cute, but definitely in need of some renovation projects. But such a big job is well worth it. Home ownership is an investment and everything we put into it is ours to enjoy for a long time to come!
At the same time, we’re trying to approach the whole thing as sustainably as possible. It’s our first renovation project and I already have to say: renovating is pretty unsustainable! We have to tear down a lot of things that were messed up before. We had to remove the wooden floor in the kitchen and bathroom completely, unfortunately, because it was simply not maintained well enough and rotten in a few spots. The bathroom was renovated quite strangely about 10 years ago and now we are putting in a new one that will hopefully last forever. All this creates quite a lot of waste and unfortunately, due to Corona, we couldn’t always be on site or sorting out or looking over the project regularly to maybe save some waste here and there and recycle more.
But slowly we are learning more and more about sustainable renovation and decorating. For example, we bought sustainable wall paint, we were able to get hold of a second hand kitchen that we will install soon and when it comes to furniture and decoration we rely 90% on second hand.
The downside of new furniture:
- either it is too expensive (sustainable wood, handmade, etc. simply has its price, which is more than justified)
- or they are cheap but not sustainably produced and do not last long
- new furniture is usually extensively packed in styrofoam or bubble wrap
- Transparency: In terms of furniture and decoration, it is sometimes difficult to trace the supply chains exactly.
The advantage of second hand furniture:
- Saving money: our taste is apparently very expensive. I like to get inspired by looking at sites like made.com, cb2 or Anthropologie – but the prices are mostly too expensive for me personally
- I don’t always know where the piece of furniture originally came from, but at least I know that the last owner or owners enjoyed the piece and the items have a “story” to tell
- Sustainability: Everything that does not have to be produced again and remains in the cycle and saves resources – i.e. energy, water, materials, CO2 – and that can have a big positive environmental impact!
That’s why we always look for a second-hand option for everything for the house first – whether it’s porcelain tiles, lamps, pillowcases or even larger furniture. Now that all the stores are closed, I love looking around Facebook Marketplace as well as Gumtree (the UK equivalent of eBay Kleinanzeigen!).
Our latest exciting find: this wicker bamboo dresser, discovered on an online portal here in the UK. This is what the dresser looked like before:
Yes, a little worn, old-fashioned, with chipped paint and a somewhat clunky shape. But I saw potential!
- touch up the paint
- replace the glass top shelf
- add new feet
- replace knobs
- and of course an intensive cleaning!
For second hand furniture, I recommend not only cleaning it thoroughly, but also spraying the drawers with lavender oil, for example, to combat moths or similar pests.
In terms of paint, we just bought a few testers. I needed them anyway for another project, and then matched the perfect color with two shades of white.
Instead of the glass top, we bought a thin wooden board and stained it a dark color.
The feet we found here, here are a few similar:
To do this, we had to install a couple of wooden boards at the bottom of the dresser so that the feet would sit well.
We bought the drawer knobs here, here are some similar ones:
You can also watch the whole process in my YouTube video here:
Here is the result. What do you think, how do you like it?