Sunday, April 28

Hotel Furnishings On The Rebound

You can decorate your home or apartment with original artwork, listen to flashy stereos, watch movies on a HDTV and sleep on luxurious Frette linens every night. No, you don't have to live beyond your means or rob a bank. You can simply score some cheap decor and goods when the local hotels begin redecorating their rooms. No need to go begging at the back doors of hotels to get great furniture and accessories at rock-bottom prices. Before the business of renovations begin, hotels must first deal with the removal of  their out-of-date and worn furnishings to large liquidators across the country.

I know, I know. I can see you turning up your nose. After all, this is used furniture. Plus, most hotel furniture is pretty plain or pretty ugly, right? Not so fast. These days, hotels redecorate often — sometimes as often as every three years. They have to keep up with the latest trends in order to compete with the competition. For example, many hotels are now switching over to flat-screen TVs, so they're getting rid of a lot of old, bulky TVs — along with the massive armoires that held them. Most liquidators sell these armoires for under $100.00, sofas at $75.00-$125.00, chairs for under $40.00 and headboards are selling for $50.00. Yep, you read that correctly. In fact as I was researching for this article I found a liquidation center selling entertainment armoires from the Ritz-Carlton hotels for $99, that included the TV and a built in mini-fridge that was housed behind a door. Seriously.

This constant turnover means that the furniture is actually still relatively new when it gets retired, and it's not necessarily worn threadbare. Remember, these furnishings were cleaned almost every day, and repaired immediately if it got broken. It's in better shape than a lot of the furniture in my home. Plus, these liquidators clear out items from all types of properties, including five-star hotels. 

Interested? Here are some tips for smart surplus shopping:
  • This stuff is used, sometimes really used, so check carefully for dents, scratches and stains. Surplus furnishings are always sold "as is" and NOT returnable.
  • Check items carefully to make sure they are pest-free. 'Nuff-said.
  • Look for the unexpected. It's not all furniture and mirrors. Many hotel suites or extended-stay rooms feature appliances like microwaves, refrigerators and even stove tops, items that are perfect for dorm rooms or small apartments. And you can often completely furnish a small office with desks, office chairs and conference tables sold off from hotel rooms and business centers.
  • Look for the little things like irons, luggage racks, alarm clocks, blankets and even fine china. They are often priced so low that your jaw will drop. I'm talking prices lower than found at a yard sale! At those prices, it makes sense to stock up on a few extras that might come in handy as spares or when you have company.
  • Think creatively. Sure, those hotel drapes are ugly. But they often come lined with heavy-duty blackout fabrics that can be quite expensive at retail. Have a good seamstress rip out the blackout material and use it to line your own drapes. Refinish that boring table, reframe the mirrors, your imagination is the limit when it comes to finding new uses for old items.
  • Bulk discounts or special prices on "whole-room" purchases are available from many surplus outlets.  Check it out if you are just starting out and trying to furnish a small apartment.
  • If you want luxury, ask for it. Five-star properties usually remodel more often than more run-of-the-mill hotels, so they often get rid of goods that are in great shape. Most store employees are knowledgeable about which items came from which "projects," so they can lead you straight to the Ritz-Carlton artwork or the signature pieces from a cool boutique hotel. 
  • Don't do much shopping online. The stock at these stores is ever-changing. If you see a picture of a credenza on a store's Web site, it may be just an example of "typical" stock. Plus, most surplus stores will not ship items — you have to come get them.
  • Most stores don't deliver locally, either. Plan on bringing a truck, or ask the store to recommend reputable delivery services.
  • Inventory is not predictable. You may show up at the surplus store at a time when only the local two-star hotel has done any recent work. So if you are making a special trip to one of these stores, call ahead to make sure the available inventory matches your needs.

Here are a few of the major hotel surplus stores in the United States:
If you didn't find a liquidation center in the list above that called your name, Google it. There are quite literally hundreds of locations across the US. Happy Hunting!
Midwest Hotel Furniture Liquidators

    Used furniture, fine bedding and artwork from a luxury property are affordable and available to you, the average shopper. Check it out and give it a chance, hotel surplus shopping can be exciting and lucrative. 

    Give it a try....
    you'll be glad ya did!


    Photo Source: You Are Talking Too Much


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