Just moved to the UK (Leamington / Kenilworth, Warwickshire). Where to buy used but quality, solid wood furniture?


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26 Sep 2023
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Hello gents,

I'm a long-time lurker and part-time woodworker (hand tools only). I think I even had a different account years ago!

As the title says, I just moved to the U.K. I'll most likely have a 2-4 bedroom (rented, at least for the first year) house to furnish. In my native Boston all manner of nice, solid wood (often mahogany!) furniture is available for $1-300 a piece. Usually in need of some repair, but shellac filler sticks can hide a multitude of sins :)
It's usually reproductions of colonial era (~1740-1800) furniture, made on a much larger scale starting in 1876 and through the 1940s (sometimes called "centennial" furniture). Machine-made dovetails and little hand work, but overall very solid pieces. The wood is usually of high quality, and they are very sturdy. Can be found on craigslist, facebook marketplace, etc. all over New England.

Is there something like dynamic happening in my (new) neck of the woods? Car boot sales, flea markets, church fundraisers, Gumtree, Ebay all come to mind. I assume there's plenty of old stuff around, and that it's still out of fashion...!

Where might a guy find it?

Try antique dealers they will have a selection of real wood furniture. They range from the basic house clearance guys right up to the top dealers and auctioneers.
Find a local small auction house, typically have a fair amount of brown furniture that isn’t in fashion.
If you phone house clearers and ask them where they sell as you want to buy they’ll probably point you in the right direction.
British Heart Foundation also have furniture charity shops which will have a mix of broken ikea and solid but unfashionable
depends if u really want old looking stuff......there are some oustanding designs but decent stuff cost a lot of money regardless what they say on the telly about brown furniture.......
going the old route ring round as many house clearance firms as u can......even if u need to travel a hundred miles.....esp Wales.....

I have a few old peices that fit in quite well with modern looking light coloured Oak furniture which I prefer now........
PM to follow.....
Much ‘brown wood’ furniture seems sadly unfashionable at the moment with people going for IKEA and similar stuff. I’d look at Facebook Marketplace, auctions, some charity shops and in particular branches of Emmaus which is a charity for homeless people who live on site in some centres and do work repairing and sorting. We have a big branch here in Suffolk - tons of furniture and stuff (lots pretty grim) but who knows what you’ll find.
You'll find plenty of junk.
There is a decent 2nd hand place in Warwick near the Nelson pub. They do all sorts of stuff, and when I last looked had a range of styles.
I'll look up the address for you.
As a previous resident of Kenilworth, there is one place called Kenilworth lions, which is a second hand store that is open on Thursday. It has a good stock of furniture.

Link here
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Local antiques warehouses as suggested earlier, also charity shops as there's limited demand for brown furniture. Also try the-saleroom.com and search for furniture. The search facilities are pretty basic, but you can have multiple searches and daily emails will arrive. If items are too far, delivery often possible. There are risks with not viewing in person, so get as much detail as you can. A simple search might be "oak AND side AND table". Some stuff very good value but as others mention, some items also cost!
Can often be found on Freecycle or in skips, keep your eyes open!
You have the advantage in that in the UK a lot of people love MDF and do not appreciate good solid wood furniture so as suggested look in secondhand / junk shops and auction rooms.
In contrast. What they call "mid century modern" is in vogue on the continent.
I had a piece to move on (ebay) and the buyer who was very happy with it and paid a decent price was regularly driving van loads over there where they sell for a lot more.
In contrast. What they call "mid century modern" is in vogue on the continent.
I had a piece to move on (ebay) and the buyer who was very happy with it and paid a decent price was regularly driving van loads over there where they sell for a lot more.
Yeah, I was lucky I got my ercol pieces before fashion made them worth what they should have always been worth again
Thank you all for the helpful replies. I've been very busy with moving, fighting bureaucracies, and general faffing about but it's almost time to actually start picking up furniture! I think I'll get decent examples of the necessaries in one swoop, and then be more careful about the remainder.

For those in the future, I've identified the following sources:
  • Charity shops
  • freecycle
  • Auctions
  • Antique shops
  • Facebook marketplace
  • Gumtree
  • House cleaners
Of these, auctions, facebook marketplace, and antiques shops sound the most promising at the moment.