Should You Use Inherited Furniture or Sell It?

Often people who inherit furniture are put in a quandary.  Should they keep it or sell it? How will they make it fit?  Does it improve their home or make it look bad?  Here’s a guide to making the choices necessary to keep from overwhelming your home with too much furniture.

What’s It Made Of?

Much of today’s new furniture is made of laminate.  This is typical of the do-it-yourself style of furniture sales today.  You buy a bookshelf, desk, bed or bureau in a box.  Then you put it together with a little cussing. This type of furniture looks good for a while, but it doesn’t measure up to wooden furniture.  If the furniture you inherited is made from solid wood, it may last long enough for you to give it to your grandchildren.

If you check the online marketplace, you’ll see that it is hard to sell off good furniture and get a decent price.  You will make about as much selling your laminate bookshelf as you would a wooden one. This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t keep the wooden one. It does mean that you should be able to sell off your laminate furniture and make a tidy profit.

Finally, it may not appear to be useful, but you need to consider if it has a value that goes beyond how it looks this moment. Wooden pieces can be restored to their previous beauty.  Old, well-made chairs can be restuffed and recovered, making them handsome additions for any home.

What Does it Do?

old wooden table

Perhaps it is well made, but what does it do?  There are old-fashioned pieces that perform roles that aren’t needed anymore. A handsome free-standing closet was needed when houses were built with very little storage space.  Bunk beds are great, but does a single guy need them?  The jelly cabinet looks interesting, but it’s too thin to substitute for a china cabinet.  A double bed is beautiful, but, like most people today, you prefer a queen or king.

Today many people are also finding that certain types of shelving units are nearly useless. These were built for televisions and/or to organize CDs, DVDs or VHS tapes. Perhaps old bureau drawers are too shallow to handle the many items in your modern wardrobe.  In these cases, the furniture piece doesn’t need to be your problem. It will only clutter your living space.

How Big is It?

Of course, there are some pieces that are just too big.  Long and tall, the piece makes the room look small.  Too big and wide, it crowds the space. Or, it won’t fit through doorways.  These pieces are a natural thing to say no to.

Then there are small, oddly shaped pieces that simply aren’t useful. They are too small for what’s needed today.  A small, one-drawer side table, for instance, is a poor replacement for a larger three-drawer side table.

What’s the Rush?

sell furniture

Maybe you don’t have to decide now.  Inheriting furniture can bring some emotional baggage with it.  Perhaps this is from your dear grandmother’s house, and it brings back memories. Or, your parents are downsizing and have offered your childhood bedroom suite. You may make the wrong decision if you are upset.

Some people sell off their inherited items and then regret it. Others move the whole lot into their house and spend years trying to get rid of furniture that’s in their way. You also need to consider the feelings of your roommate, partner or spouse.  It’s their home, too. There may be some delicate negotiations as you figure out what to keep and what to sell.

Is there really a rush? A 10 x 30 storage unit provides you with all the space you need to keep the excess furniture (and anything else you want). Eventually you’ll need that childhood bedroom suite for your child or you will realize how to use your grandmother’s furniture.


If you decide not to keep any or all of the furniture you inherited, you can sell it or pass it to other family members.  Make sure to price your pieces. Occasionally there’s a real gem among otherwise ordinary furniture.


I am Vera Watson. Drawing The House is a dream that was conceived when I saw a niche in consumer guide on almost everything in our homes. My main aim is to help you save money by testing the products you need and recommending you the best of them all. I believe in the family as an institution and the first way to make a family happy is providing the best for them.

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