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Second-hand furniture shopping in Cape Town
From vintage finds to modern basics
From vintage finds to modern basics
Just because it’s second-hand doesn’t mean it has to be bland.
It’s now not only cost-effective, but also fashionable to decorate with pieces found on second-hand trawls rather than those taken straight off the production line.
Refurbishing or repurposing outdated materials, a worldwide phenomenon known as upcycling, has given new life to the second-hand furniture trade; and, it also means old styles meet new materials, in turn, giving your home the potential to unpack itself around a unique piece.
And unsurprisingly, Cape Town is right on trend.
There’s a glut of used furniture out there, and these Cape Town stores have repurposed and re-invented the pre-owned merchandise; or, have simply just blown off the dust—leaving the revamping part up to you.
This is no junk store, but rather a décor heaven for interior designers and furniture-philes. The shop specialises in mid-century furniture with traceable origins: not only will they be able to tell you the original date of production, they’ll also have the designer’s name and the materials used on file. Depending on the nick, some items are refurbished. It’s antiquing for beginners. Their blog, Vampfurniture.blogspot.com, is regularly updated with new stock.
Best for: Retro furniture, vintage kitchenalia and that special piece that becomes a talking point in your home.
Price range: The timeless pieces aren’t cheap, but there are deals to be had.
Opening hours: Monday-Friday: 9:30am – 4:30pm; Saturday: 8:30pm – 3pm.
368 Albert Road | Woodstock | Cape Town | +27 (0)21 448 2755
This warehouse has it all; from household and outdoor furniture to office furniture and antiques. It may take some digging, but there are some real finds in amongst the run-of-the-mill goods; though, the furniture may need to be restored. 2ndHandWarehouse also buys second-hand furniture from the public, from ‘single items’ to ‘complete households’.
Best for: Those serious about going on a treasure hunt or buying furniture for an entire space in one go—whether it’s for an office or a kitchen.
Price range: Very reasonable, and you can shop online (2ndhandwarehouse.com) too.
Opening hours: Monday-Friday: 8:30am –5:30pm; Saturday: noon – 3:30pm.
Unit 4 Kestrel Park | Longclaw Drive | Milnerton | Cape Town| +27 (0) 83 410 6895
Strawberry & Lime
Expect Art Deco and vintage furniture re-upholstered with luxury fabrics. This kind of collection ensures a unique offering that interior stylists can’t get enough of. Their modus operandi is ‘furniture that reflects the quality, comfort and graciousness of the past, with a modern twist.’
Best for: One-of-a-kind statement pieces.
Price range: Well-priced, although some items can be expensive.
Opening hours: Monday-Friday: 9am –5pm; Saturday: 9am – 3pm.
76 Albert Road | Woodstock | Cape Town | +27 (0)73 904 6688
Owned by Mr Munro, this junk shop on Lower Main Road in Observatory will give you the feeling that you’re looking thorough someone else’s attic. The shelves are stocked with vintage finds galore: from old-school kitchen equipment to dusty paintings that may need to be reframed. Also available is more basic second-hand furniture, such as bookshelves, desks and tables.
Best for: Quirky objects from another time, whether it’s an ancient snow globe or antique spoons.
Price range: Affordable.
Opening hours: Monday-Friday: 9am – 5pm; Saturday: noon – 3pm.
131 Main Rd | Observatory | Cape Town | +27 (0)21 447 1852
‘One man’s trash is another’s treasure’; this saying couldn’t ring more true than at the outdoor flea market to beat all other flea markets: Milnerton Market. A stalwart on the white elephant scene, this roadside patch of pavement and its host of vendors has been trading junk and brightening up homes for more than 20 years. Another saying to keep in mind is, ‘the early bird catches the worm’; meaning, the sooner you get there the better luck you’ll have. Expect a cornucopia of goods, from larger items such as chairs and shelves, to retro bric-à-brac, and real antiques. Plus, household goods such as cleaning equipment and tools are sold here too.
Best for: Under-valued furniture and antiques; there’s major finds to be had, but you’ll have to sift through lots of rubble
Price range: Items range from dirt cheap to affordable.
Opening hours: Saturday and Sunday: 7am-4pm
Otto Du Plessis Drive | Paarden Eiland| Cape Town
The middleground between an auction and a removals company, this mobile business organises the public sale of home furniture for those either moving or emigrating. Hosted at different locations across the city, the Southern Suburbs and the Northern Suburbs, the sales are held most weekends, and usually the contents of an entire home are up for grabs at huge discounts. The items and their prices are posted online, so you can browse beforehand; although, this does mean that other people could also have their eye on your deal. Thus, it’s best to go early, so that you’ll be able to enter the sale with the first group.
- How it works: entrance to the sale is based on a lucky draw system. If you arrive 15 minutes before the sale starts, you’ll be given a random number from the ‘hat’, and when the sale starts, matching numbers will be pulled out of the ‘hat’. When your number is pulled, you can go into the sale.
Best for: Basic pieces to populate a start-up home and interesting finds.
Price range: Priced to go.
Opening hours: Visit Movingon.co.za for information on the next sale.
There are a number of second-hand furniture shops along this urban road. Put on a pair of good walking shoes and explore.
- Swop Shop (+27 (0) 21 591 5551)
- Pick A Bargain (+27 (0) 21 592 4644)
- Uncle Bob's Cash & Pawn (+27 (0) 21 592 1060).
Best for: Basics, which may need to be restored.
Price range: rock bottom.
Opening hours: The shops are open from 9am to 5pm weekdays.
Voortrekker Road | Goodwood | Cape Town
Space for Life
This shop imports furniture made in the 1950s and before from Denmark and Scandinavia, and sells the pieces either in their original condition or after some artful restoration or re-upholsery. Space for Life also runs an in-house interior design service, and the Tammy Lauren Collective (TLC), which turns old South African farm-type furniture into ‘accessible pieces of vintage furniture’, is also on the premises.
Best for: Retro furniture in impeccable condition.
Price range: Expensive, but worth the hefty price tag given the precision and care that’s been taken to import and restore the furniture
Opening hours: Mondays to Fridays: 9am – 5pm; Saturdays: 9pm – 3pm.
Shop 4 The Spearhead | 42 Hans Strijdom Avenue | Foreshore |Cape Town | +27(0) 21 418 1734
Antiquing in Kalk Bay
Take a stroll down Kalk Bay’s main road and enjoy a day of seaside bohemia and treasure hunting. Pop in at Quagga Trading (+27 (0) 21 788 2752) for weird and wonderful objects; then onto The Whatnot and China Town (+27 (0)21 788 1823) for kitchen furniture and décor; and finally, get lost in the rambling rooms of The Railway House (+27 (0)21 788 4761), where you’ll find a diverse assortment of collectibles – there’s everything from a '60s pinball machine to a hand-beaten copper bath.
Best for: Fantastical and rare antiques.
Price range: The popularity of this well-trodden path is reflected in the pricing; expect more mark-ups than mark-downs.
Opening hours: Monday-Friday: 9am and 5pm; Saturday and Sunday: 9am to 3pm.
Kalk Bay | Main Road | Western Cape
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