Re-use & re-purposing as a staging company

By Taylor Atkinson, Co-owner of Atwil Design

There has never been a better time to find amazing secondhand furniture, décor, and home accessories than right now. Between the Marie Kondo Effect, zero waste trends, and people decluttering while on COVID lockdown, there are an unprecedented number of ways to source beautiful, original, and tasteful home staging supplies.

As a zero waste staging company, we are always looking for ways to incorporate re-purposed, secondhand and salvaged items into our design. Incorporating one of a kind items, original artwork & craftsman furniture helps to set our designs apart. If you're not sure where to start or are feeling overwhelmed by the number of secondhand shops to choose from, here are our favorite places for secondhand home staging supplies.

OfferUp (and their corresponding app) is a great way to source original artwork, furniture and accessories. This website is great for finding near-new and original antique items in your neighborhood. Their “make an offer” system means you’re able to find a price that works for your budget and the seller.

Zero waste pro-tip: When you find several different items at the same time, you can save gas by arranging to pick them all up in one day. Apps like Waze can help you find the most logical route.

Estate Sales

Estate sales have long been a zero waste shopping beacon for people looking for quality pieces at a great price. Not only can you still enjoy classic estate sale traditions like standing in line at 6 in the morning to acquire that perfect mid century Eames chair, but today’s estate sales are posted online, so you can preview what will be featured and make sure it’s worthwhile to attend. Many of our the favorite home accessories come from estate sales. They’re often the source of many different eras of items, allowing us to find artwork and accessories that are perfectly matched to the era and styles of homes that we stage. Beyond furniture and décor, you can also find things that are useful in the warehouse like tools, shelving, and crates.

Seattle pro-tip: Our favorite estate sale company is Girlfriends Estate Sales.

Curated Antique Shops: A Look at “Oscar & Co”

There are so many independent stores that specialize in curating and salvaging unique items and furniture. Our personal go-to is Oscar & Co, a brick-and-mortar store in Kirkland, WA. Not only are the owners nice and easy to talk to, but they make their own throw pillows out of found fabric and other secondhand materials to create unique and wholly original refurbished furniture and accessories. We feel inspired just walking inside, even if we don’t buy anything.

Gift-Finding Hack: Antique stores like Oscar & Co are our favorite places to gift shop. You’ll always find something completely unique that the gift receiver will love (or just treat yourself to a little something!).

Secondhand Building Materials: A Look at “Second Use” & “Earthwise”

There’s no reason to limit your zero waste options when you’re building something new. Whether you’re looking for secondhand building materials, an eco-friendly remodeler, or just great design inspiration, stores like Second Use and Earthwise can help.

Zero Waste pro-tip: Not sure what to do with your old doors, cabinets, or toilets? Stores like Second Use and Earthwise are also a good place to consider donating to when you’re purging your inventory or remodeling your home. They also have great store credit programs, which is a good way to save money if you plan on purchasing things from their store.

The Side of the Road

Honestly, people give away free, perfectly good stuff on the side of the road all the time. We’ve found original craftsman furniture that would otherwise be sent straight to a landfill. With proper care and creativity some of tehse items have been salvaged and turned into some of our favorite and most unique staging items.

Seattle pro-tip: Know (and be able to spot) the difference between repairable and irreparable damage. While a fresh coat of paint or a little WD-40 can fix some issues, they’re not the solution to everything. When things are out in the elements, they’re more likely to have water damage, mildew, and mold…especially in Seattle. Sometimes it’s better to leave these items where you found them!

Thrift Stores

Thrift stores are a classic source for secondhand home decor like lamps, end tables, and tchotchkes, but we also use them for secondhand art supplies. Canvases from thrift stores can be re-purposed to make original paintings like this:

You can also original photographs and prints that would look great when paired with modern updated frames.

Zero waste pro-tip: Look for sales!

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