blue antique chairOn one of my occasional trips through furniture consignment stores here in the Houston area, I came across a beautiful cherry reproduction piece made by a well-known furniture house and when I looked at the price, I almost dropped my purse – $400 for a piece that would cost four times as much in a retail store.  Did I buy it?  You bet! I am also checking out another one which is Wayside Furniture House because my friend recommended me to go, she said they have a lot of cheap things that they sell

Furniture consignment stores have been the go-to place for designers for many years.  They frequently browse through them for picking up traditional furniture and classics as well as the unusual pieces you won’t find in retail stores.  Where else would you find a federal-style sofa for an unbelievably low price?

Designers also frequent these stores for the smaller unique treasures they can find, like little accessories that add character to bookshelves and tables.

Stores like this were originally considered second-hand furniture stores or junk shops but now they have been spurred on by designer interest and they are increasingly pulling in public support for their upscale goods by the affluent. They have also become upwardly mobile in the past five years.

Furniture consignment stores are no longer about outfitting dorm rooms, or newlyweds furnishing their first home (although they still receive these shoppers), estate items have made their way into these shops.  Interior designers and antique dealers are often the first ones in the door when estate items are added to the sales floor.

Because of this, these shops are carefully reviewing what they take in to sell to satisfy the growing demand for better merchandise.

The word “selectivity” is often spoken within the walls of today’s consignment-shop owners; they admittedly state that they are picky and that they say no to some really great pieces because they simply do not fit into the store’s concept.

Within these stores, the benefits for consignor and consignee are mutually beneficial.  The consignor provides a clean, safe place where the items are usually insured, to sell someone’s household goods at a mutually agreed upon price which in turn saves the consignee the hassle of selling at a yard sale or in an auction where anything can happen – and usually not in favor of the seller.

According to Entrepreneur magazine, this arrangement has become more popular in the past five years and has predicted that it will continue.  The average person is more informed than they used to be through the availability of online stores.  They can now do their research and are much more aware of the value of certain items when they get ready to purchase.

So who sets the price on these eclectic pieces?  At most stores, the price is determined by them but the consignee’s opinion is always taken into consideration – negotiations can be tricky and a little delicate but both parties can reap the rewards if handled properly.

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