The vintage lover who furnished her Leeds flat entirely from second-hand shopping

When it comes to buying furniture, vintage enthusiast Tiffany Mazza says if you don’t love it - why bother buying it?

Thursday, 4th November 2021, 7:08 am

Foregoing IKEA flatpacks and quick high-street offerings, Tiffany furnished her Leeds flat almost entirely from scouring second-hand stores.

It wasn’t just her love of older aesthetics that led her to go vintage but also cost and environmental reasons too.

Even better, she says, is that all her furniture is also really good quality, having been designed to last - this includes the bottle green three-suit sofa she bagged for a bargain £30.

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Tiffany Mazza has furnished her Leeds flat almost entirely from scouring second-hand stores

Tiffany, 32, a marketing and designer manager, said: “I like the visual interior styles of certain periods, especially the 60s and 70s.

“However, I was also a student for a long time and when I was moving around apartments, I noticed that there's a lot of stuff we buy that is just rubbish.

“You bought it but you don't love it, you just bought it for a purpose.

“So when I decided to move into my flat I thought I would try to only buy stuff that I really, really love and was well made.”

“You can get fantastic lampshades from Emmaus for £1 and you can dye them or add a bit of thrill on them

Plenty of stores now sell 'vintage-style' furniture, but Tiffany says you can often find the ‘original’ in second-hand stores at a better quality - and better price.

She said: “These pieces are already in existence and they're probably sat on either eBay or in places like Emmaus Secondhand Superstore where you can pick them up for a lot cheaper. You don’t need to get them remade.

“It's fashion at the end of the day. There are very few things, apart from technology, that is new.

“Everything else has been done.

Pictured are Pink Depression glass candle sticks, 1 for both, Pink Depression glass vase for 1, and green stemmed glasses 2 for four - all from Emmaus Leeds

“You see it with fashion faster than with furniture and interior design but I think a lot of stuff, particularly from the 60s and 70s, comes back in fashion every so often.”

“A lot of second-hand stuff is obviously well made because if it's lasted from the 60s and 70s, it's already 50 years old so it stands the test of time.

“Although places like IKEA do a great job, especially for people who need it, there's no comparison between something that you can screw together yourself and something that a carpenter has made.

“Plus even more expensive items, such as popular collector's items, are still markedly cheaper than a lot of new furniture.”

It took Tiffanny a long time to fully furnish her flat and she had to be patient while she hunted the perfect pieces.

She said: “It has been a long labour of love.

“I didn't have a bed for ages, just a mattress, and I didn't have a sofa for a long time too but I've managed to sort of step-by-step get all the bits.

“I've got a creative eye. I have things in my mind that I've seen that I like and it was a case of finding the right pieces.

“However, I would say that it's constantly evolving as well, I never look at the room and think it is finished.

“In terms of styling, some people can be quite limited by what they think is in fashion or what they think should go together but for me, it's more about if I love it.

"Do you want your interior to be a reflection of yourself or a reflection of something that you see in the shop?

“I want to find things I love and eventually I'll find a way of arranging them to look good together.”

She added: “I got a three-piece sofa from eBay at an unbelievable £30.

“I absolutely love the sofa. It's a vintage 60s bottle green sofa, in great condition because they were made really well even back then.

“Another piece in my living room is the sideboard that I got from Emmaus and it's, again, a beautifully made piece of quality wood furniture. I just left it as is, there's some little scrapes or little dents, but overall in good condition.”

Some of the bargains she has bagged while trawling second-hand stores include vintage frames, glassware, and some upcycling projects.

Tiffany said: “I bought afantastic bedside table for five pounds. It was just a little cabinet and I painted that matte black and added some nice gold handles on it.

“For five pounds you can't go wrong and now it's a nice feature piece in my bedroom.

“You can get fantastic lampshades from Emmaus for £1 and you can dye them or add a bit of thrill on them and they end up looking the same as something you can buy in John Lewis.

“What's nice about secondhand furniture and upcycling furniture is that you do get more unique pieces.”

And what are her top tips for other people who want to begin shopping second-hand?

Tiffany said: “Be patient about it and buy things step-by-step. You don’t need a complete vision to make things work.

“Your tastes naturally change and evolve over time so maybe it's better to be patient with your interiors, you don't need to have a whole room finished all at once.

“Sometimes you have to live in spaces before you feel happy with it."

“Your tastes naturally change and evolve over time so maybe it's better to be patient with your interiors, you don't need to have a whole room finished all at once.

“When shopping, definitely take time and look at the furniture, it can be a bit overwhelming.

“It's good to call in just for 10 minutes if you can each week and have a browse. Pinterest is great for inspiration too."

She added: “When it comes to your house, don't buy anything you don't love.

“If you don’t love it, you’ll get rid of it in five years.

“I think our throwaway culture is really problematic and generally unsustainable.

“It's not the worst thing to be in a state of working progress. That's life, isn't it?

“You don't have to fully complete everything straightaway, everything's a bit of a journey and interior design should be the same.“