Graduation: IKEA, Antiques & Hand-me-downs

May is the month for college graduations and thousands of young people will be setting up households of their own across the country. If you are a student, you may not realize it, but it can be cheaper in the long run to buy quality antiques than it is to by less expensive furniture. Why? Today’s discount furniture might last three or five years, but then it has to be replaced. Antiques were made by craftsman and will last for generations.

With college loans to be repaid, and that less-than-adequate starting salary, some of you will depend on family ‘hand-me-downs’ for basics like a bed, dresser or desk and kitchen necessities. While discount furniture can be purchased online, very often items can be found for less money and lots more personality and craftsmanship at local antique stores and garage sales.

Take furnishing a bedroom for example.

At IKEA— a Hemnes black bed runs $249. A matching dresser sells for $249 with a mirror for another $50 – a total of $550 for a basic bedroom set up.

At the Winchester Wishing Well, an Antique and Gift store, in Winchester, Tennessee a solid pine bed was on sale for $160 and a tall highboy dresser, including a mirror could be had for $325 – for a total of $485. While the antique pieces did not match, they have so much more character and personality and the veneer on the dresser has deep and warm wood tone missing from some of the more modern offerings.

Just a few miles away, at Reminisce Antiques in Tullahoma, Tennessee (931-461-9973) antique beds were available at a wide range of price from $40 to over $1,000 but all of them were unique and beautifully carved. A five foot high oak bed, with carved embellishments was priced at $675 but the store frequently has sales and mark downs to make way for new items. Reminisce Antiques also had many lovely antique dresser and mirror combinations for about the same price as the IKEA example, but again, at least for my tastes, with so much more personality.

Even a single piece of antique furniture for a young man or woman starting out can add warmth and personality to that first apartment.

“We often have parents or grandparents come in to buy something for their children,” said Betty McCormick at Reminisce Antiques. “I think they really want to get something of quality that their child can have forever; and it makes a wonderful graduation gift.”

The Wishing Well Antique store’s owners make several purchasing trips a week and offer to find that “one of a kind” piece. Their motto is, “just ask.”

A few hours spent shopping the flea markets and antique shops, could pay off in longevity, style, personality, and long-term price.

Finally, with so much concern for our planet, buying a used piece of furniture or two could help both preserve trees as well as hold down the volume at our landfills.

Basic bedroom furnishings
Hemnes black bed $249.
Hemnes dresser $249.
Mirror $ 50.
Total $550.

Winchester Wishing Well
Solid pine bed $160.
Tall highboy dresser
with mirror $325.
Total $485.

Reminisce Antiques Tullahoma, Tennessee
Beautiful antique beds $40.-$1,000.
5′ high oak bed with carved embellishments $67.
Lovely antique dresser with mirror $299.


Reminisce Antiques
101 N Jackson St
Tullahoma, TN 37388
(931) 461-9973

Winchester Wishing Well
112 1st Ave NW
Winchester, TN 37398
(931) 968-0532

You can also find furniture on line. For example, I found a very affordable and attractive table by clicking on WorthPoint’s auction tab.Thomaston Place Auction Galleries is auctioning furniture and other items in their 2008 Spring Fine Art, Antiques, Jewelry & Rare Coin Auction May 31st and June 1st.

DINING TABLE – Early 19th c. Sheraton mahogany drop leaf dining table. Rectangular top with turned legs terminating in ball foot. 28 3/4″H x 42″L x 19 1/4″W, with 12″ leaves, old worn surface. Low Estimate: $250.00 High Estimate $350.00

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