Furniture shopping is stressful, especially when you’re on a budget. The temptation to buy something cheap from a big box store is strong, even if you know the furniture won’t last long. We’ve been there, we’ve done that, and we’ve left it by the dumpster just like you have. But, there’s a solution: reclaimed furniture, which is often double the quality at half the price. There are plenty of reclaimed furniture stores in the Rocket City to fill your Huntsville apartment with affordable finds.

Text by Annika Bastian

Antique mall featuring reclaimed furniture.

So What Exactly Is Reclaimed Furniture?

Reclaimed furniture is the new must-have, but the name can leave people in the dark. The term “reclaimed furniture” refers to chairs, tables, drawers, and other pieces that receive tender loving care for a second shot at life.

Often, the pieces are over fifty years old, sometimes over one hundred. They’re built with solid pieces of wood, as opposed to plywood, particle board or cardboard, which makes them both lighter and more solid. Also, dovetail joints usually hold the pieces together. These joints hold up better than screws. As an added bonus, they’re gentler on the wood, too.

Craftsman shows off dovetail joint.

How Does Furniture Get Reclaimed?

Craftsmen who reclaim furniture have a discerning eye for pieces that are prime candidates for a makeover. In fact, they’re often called “pickers” for their ability to “pick” through used and antique furniture. Often, pickers examine fifty-to-a-hundred-years-old pieces to find they’re sturdy enough to go for a hundred more. Craftsmen give their reclaimed projects fresh coats of paint and minor fixes to chips, loose hinges. They also replace any lost parts.

Picker examines mirrored antique chest.

Where Can I Find Reclaimed Pieces?

Reclaimed furniture can sometimes be found at specialty shops dedicated to the art, like Preservation Co. in downtown Huntsville. However, many craftsmen sell their pieces in antique markets. University Pickers welcomes over 100 small businesses in its space. Many of their vendors offer unique pieces furnished with Southern charm and produced in their local community. Flucy Lucy Antique Market also offers vintage and reclaimed furniture. Plus, their pieces are all locally sourced, supporting local artisans.