Faux wood furniture
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    Auction Finds

    Reader asks about value of bedroom furniture

    Friday at Auction Finds is readers’ questions day. I try to guide readers to resources to help them determine the value of their items. I’m not able to appraise their treasures, but I can do some preliminary research to get them started. So, these are market values based on prices I find on the web, not appraisal for insurance purposes that I suggest for items that have been determined to be of great value.

    Today’s question is about the value of a mother-in-law’s bedroom furniture.


    I have been trying to identify my mother-in-law’s bedroom furniture for a while now and the second picture of the dresser on this page is almost exactly like it. It is the first one I have found in months. Can you give me any more information about this piece? Anything would be greatly appreciated. I am having a sale next weekend, and I am desperately trying to price it or decide if I want to keep it.

    faux dresser

    A faux wood dresser, possibly from the 1970s.


    The reader was referring to a blog post I wrote three years ago about faux wood bedroom furniture that was up for sale at an auction. I also recounted my experience of buying this cheap furniture when I was fresh out of grad school and had little money to spend.

    The furniture was laminated wood with a faux finish, and wasn’t expected to last very long. Had I known about auctions those many years ago, I probably could have gotten lovely antique pieces for around the same price.

    In fact, I can probably get some antique furniture for the right price now because much of it doesn’t sell very well at some of the auctions I attend. One auction house in particular has to practically give it away. I’ve seen others, however, with high quality pieces that get pretty high bids.

    As for this reader, if your mother-in-law’s furniture is faux or imitation wood, it’s not very valuable, so you’ll be lucky to sell it.

    I’d suggest that you check the drawers (inside and outside) to see if there’s a manufacturer’s name. If so, you can Google the name to see if you can find similar pieces by the same maker. Another thing to check is the construction of the drawers. Are they dovetailed? That’s where triangular joints of the drawers are fitted into each other without nails. That’s one sign of well-made furniture.

    faux wood nightstand and dresser

    A bulky nightstand and dresser made of faux wood.

    You should also determine in what decade the furniture was purchased. The furniture in my blog post appeared to be from the 1970s. If your mother-in-law’s furniture was purchased during that era, I’d suggest Googling “1970s bedroom furniture” to see what results come up. Or “1950s mid-century bedroom furniture” if it was bought during the 1950s.

    Quality mid-century modern furniture (from the period 1933 to 1965) made by a major manufacturer can sometimes sell for more. There seems to be a good market for mid-century modern these days, so much so that one of my regular auction houses holds sales for it every few weeks.

    If the furniture has sentimental value (and you find it is valuable), you should keep it if you need an extra bedroom set. If you don’t want to keep it or cannot sell it, consider donating it to Goodwill or Salvation Army or another charity as a tax donation.

    Reader’s reply:

    I do know that it is real wood. The problem with most of her stuff is that it is really rare. We have been dealing with this for over two years. After looking at your picture again, I realize that the grain in the dresser is totally different, but the drawer and cabinet handles are what attracted me.

    Thank you so much for your response. I finally did find a tag on the nightstand of the set today, but so far it has not helped me much, but I will get there.

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