Does brand new always beat second-hand?
Apparently, brand new furniture sales are going out of fashion in UK homes, with more of us turning to second-hand sources. So is the reclaimed, retro look your thing or do you prefer to buy new?
Are you sick of the words ‘the age of austerity’ yet? It definitely seems to be the phrase of the year so far, and one I’m already getting a bit bored of hearing bandied about.
But then it popped up in a little press release about how ‘millions of homeowners are looking to embrace the age of austerity by furnishing their property with second-hand furniture, electronics, white goods and other household items’ and I perked up a bit.
It’s not that I’m pleased that everyone has to (apparently) tighten their belts this year, or that I don’t get excited when I get a shiny new gadget. But I am keen on mixing old with new, and finding beauty in things with age.
Older products that still live
And I’m not alone. Our deputy head of home research, Ali Eastwood, recently sang the praises of older products, like a 58 year-old fridge that’s still working perfectly.
‘I’ve worked in product testing at Which? for nearly 10 years and, while I’m always excited to find out about new home products being released, the romantic in me loves to hear about these valiant old workhorses still in regular service,’ she enthused in a previous Conversation.
And your positive responses came flooding in – from Beehive03′s 43-year-old Kenwood Chef to Stigw’s 1984 Philips microwave, both of which are in daily use and ‘still going strong’.
Reuse and re-love
So there may be some truth in Santander’s research, which suggests that more than one in four home furnishings are now purchased second-hand, borrowed or handed down. They reckon only 58% of homeowners now choose to buy their living room furniture brand new.
One look around my house confirms this – much of our furniture has been found from old skips, Freecycle, charity shops and vintage fairs. And I have to say, all these places had rich pickings up until a few years ago, but it does require some serious dedication to get ‘a find’ nowadays.
While I’m sad that more people are getting to the best stuff first, I’m equally glad that older items are regaining their value, being reused and being loved. If this is the age of austerity then bring it on.
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