Thrift shopping stores, flea markets, and real estate sales can be overwhelming. With the sheer scale of things, how do you know where to start? How do you find gems in the midst of all the junk?
As a professional distributor who has been combing thrift stores for 30 years, I can help. If you’re ready to halve your shopping time, score bigger deals, or shy away from bragged discoveries that you can flip for cash, keep reading.
From hard-to-find household items to money makers from resale, everything featured in my “Thrift Shop Like a Pro” series qualifies as a BOLO (“Be on the lookout”) item. When you find it, buy it!
Featured Search: Lane Furniture
Last month, I accompanied a good friend to IKEA. Although in the market for all kinds of furniture, he politely declined my offer to stop at a few thrift stores and consignment stores along the way.
Several hundred dollars (and 10 Allen keys) later, he had an apartment filled with Scandinavian-inspired furniture. Sure, it was mostly particleboard covered in paper, but hey, different strokes.
If he had waited, he would have found something cheaper, more elegant, and better made—like Lin’s classic Acclaim collection furniture.
Designed by Andre Bus and introduced in 1958, cheer up traditional furniture elements paired like a border matching mid-century features like sleek lines and minimal embellishment. This hybrid approach helped reluctant Americans adopt mid-century style, and paved the way for more revolutionary furniture in the future.
Today, coffee tables and end tables are the most common on the second-hand market. But the full lullaby line also included:
- desks and chairs
- bedroom sets
- dining room set
- snack cart
Why do you buy it?
A better question is, “Why not buy it?” Lull has it all – cool modern Danish style paired with solid wood construction and just enough detailing to make every piece a fun piece. By exploring real estate sales, merchandise stores, and thrift stores, buyers can gradually build up an heirloom-quality collection.
Although some stores have absorbed the popularity and value of Acclaim, an unrestored end table or coffee table can still be found for $20 to $30.
Look for unsightly ducklings – pieces with coffee rings, sun damage or scratches. Reclaiming a hot lullaby table is easier than you think, and they make the perfect weekend project.
Acclaim’s blend of quality and style has produced a resale market worthy of praise.
This set of three living room tables in its original condition sold for $1,199 on eBay. And on Etsy, a restored Acclaim desk is listed for $1,650. Heck, even this spray-painted end table sells for $150 on Etsy. (Furniture specialists, let’s tell ourselves the next owner will bring it back right.)
What are you looking for
The easiest way to spot chant is to look for overlapping hinges of walnut and oak. Although they do not work, and do not go beyond the depth of the shell, the interlock makes each piece instantly recognizable.
The hallway furniture is well defined as well. On desks, chests of drawers, and chests of drawers, you can find the logo on the inner left side of the top drawer. Tables and chairs are marked on the underside.
Lane’s logo features a horizontal wooden spindle surrounding the words “Lane” and “Altavista, Virginia.” In some versions of the logo there is also a stylized image of a tall lane bordered by trees.
Although all of the pieces are very popular, Lynn’s “choice guitar” triangular accent table is especially prized by collectors. Other great sellers include:
- Rolling snack or bar cart
- 70 inch stool or cocktail table
- L-shaped “Boomerang” coffee table
- 3-Drawer Chest (sometimes referred to as a standard chest)
Pro type: Sometimes years of wax buildup can mask years of Acclaim. If you have a hunch about a piece, examine it closely.
For more tips like this, check out my article “10 Secrets to Finding Quality Used Furniture.”
Disclosure: The information you read here is always objective. However, we sometimes receive compensation when you click on links in our Stories.