Thrifting furniture is hot. And with good reason. It’s budget-friendly, sustainable, the pieces are often of outstanding quality, and due to its previous life, old pieces add character to your interior with their patina. Here is the story of our first thrifting-experience.
When I came to Denmark about nine years ago, many of the Danes I met were already thrifting. In the beginning I thought it was just buying other people’s old crap, but one morning I found myself infected with the flea market syndrome too.
I’d been eyeing the purchases of our friends that were already spicing up their interior with great pieces, often thrifted in the most spectacular ways. And with spectacular I mean shipping it overseas, finding a designer piece in a dumpster, or just inheriting it from the family but then with amazing family history tied to it, a la: ‘it survived the war’, ‘my aunt carried it on her back for 20 kilometers’ or ‘we found my great grandmother’s long lost engagement ring in it.’
So one lovely day, about two years ago, when we’d agreed that we needed a little cabinet to hide some of the small clutter in our living room, we made the conscious decision to thrift it. Yep, it was a Big Day.
Don’t get me wrong, I’ve been ‘permanently loaning’ a lot of my father’s furniture, lots of it that he had thrifted himself over the years. So I was not against the concept of using pre-owned furniture, but to just go to a flea market myself with the intention of buying something sustainable had never really crossed my mind. We’d just go to one of the big warehouses and buy something new if we needed something.
But that had our interior lacking character, we thought, so we went to a large flea market and were set on buying a little teak cabinet.
Of course we fell in love with the first one we saw. It’s a cabinet designed by Poul Volther, a fairly well-known Danish designer. However, we were not ready to commit straight away, so we talked a little money with the seller, and moved on. And as we saw more and more furniture, we fell more and more in love with ‘our’ cabinet.
So we went back, only to find out that another guy had just bought it. We could just see his bald spot disappearing in the distance. Oh no.
We tried to find something else that day, but nothing was good enough. However, when exiting the flea market, we saw our cabinet standing in a big pile of furniture. It turned out that the bald spot buying it, was a professional antiques dealer and he had bought the cabinet to resell it in his shop.
This was going to cost us…
And it did. We had to put another 400 Danish crowns on top of what we would have given to the first guy. Not a bad profit for the dealer, he had not even begun to load it in his car. But we wanted it so bad. So we dug deep in our pockets and the cabinet has been shining in our living room ever since! And we will never get rid of it, just to remind us of our naivety on our first official day of thrifting.