Determining the value of your furniture isn’t easy – it’s not like there is a Blue Book or real estate comps to give you a clue. If you don’t have collectible, designer items or time for a thorough appraisal, it’s tricky. So, having bought and sold tons of furniture, I thought I’d share a few tips.
Surprisingly, the price you paid for your furniture isn’t the best barometer. Of course, quality and condition are important but popularity is probably the most relevant. There are great pieces of quality furniture that have lost value because they are no longer popular. A good example is the TV armoire, entertainment center or upholstered pieces in colors that are no longer “in vogue.”
The good news is that there are many vintage pieces that are still quite popular. Upholstered pieces in neutral fabrics, streamlined looks, expresso finishes, small side tables, chests are popular today. Cottage, Country French, Mid Century Modern are styles that remain desirable. To determine whether your furniture is desirable, look at decorating magazines, furniture stores, and popular culture.
Once you determine that there is a market for your items, you can get a general sense of the value by researching resale prices. Be careful of relying on nationwide or international on-line resale sites, since they have an enormous pool of purchasers. It is best to limit your research to the market where you plan to sell. Use your research to give you a general sense. Since previously owned items can be one-of-a-kind, there is no definitive answer.
Finally, don’t feel lost or frustrated. I’ve seen some sofas re-sell for $5 and others for $800. Sometimes you simply cannot predict. If you use your research, your gut, and feedback from potential buyers, you’ve done a great job.