The key to staying on a budget when buying furniture for your home is to take your time. Retail furniture stores are designed with the impulse buyer in mind. They know that you won’t be visiting their store frequently so a lot of care has gone into designing a floor plan for you to simply point and buy the items you like.
There are alternatives to buying new furniture. Depending on your taste whether it is contemporary, shabby chic, country-style, or an accumulation of styles, buying used furniture may be a way to stay within your budget. Well made furniture should stand the test of time and you may just find the furniture at a great price too.
Three ways to buy quality gently used furniture pieces within a reasonable budget include:
1. Estate sales, yard sales, and garage sales
2. Local newspapers / bulletin boards and Craigslist.org
3. Consignment furniture stores
Estate sales, yard sales, garage sales:
There are a number of reasons why a person may be holding an estate sale. The homeowners may:
o be downshifting their lifestyle
o moving far away
o be selling a second home and no longer need the extra furnishings
o have passed and their family has no need for the furniture
The advantage of an estate sale is that if you like the owner’s decorating style, you may be able to purchase an entire room of furniture at bargain prices. Like with yard sales and garage sales, estate sales will really be hit or miss. The disadvantage is that you never know what you will find at each sale which can be very time consuming.
If you do find a high quality piece of furniture that you want to reupholster, consider the real cost against your budget. Reupholstering quality furniture may be worth the time and expense if you know that this piece will stay in your home a long time. Depending on the age of the furniture, you may also need to rebuild cushions and replace throw pillows. This can really add up! For the expense of the new cushions, refinishing, reupholstering, fabric, materials, labor, transportation, etc. you may find it’s cheaper to buy a new piece. Definitely consider all of the costs before going down this path.
Local newspapers/bulletin boards and Craigslist.org:
If a person or business is liquidating their furniture and belongings, they will often choose to sell it via the local newspaper or through Craigslist.org. You may even find for sale ads on bulletin boards at work, grocery stores, and at churches. The seller will usually fetch a higher price for their furniture when sold through these avenues.
Craigslist has the extra advantage of being able to feature color photographs saving the buyer time of traveling around to different locations. If you are selling furniture, try selling it first through your local newspaper, local bulletin board, or on Craigslist since you will typically sell it for a higher price through these locations. If you were unsuccessful at selling your furniture through these outlets, then consider an a yard sale or garage sale. Your last option should be through an estate sale or consignment store since you will share your money with the people helping to sell your furniture.
Remember to donate any furniture that you are unable to sell through a reputable charity or organization. It’s important that you get a receipt for your donation for end-of-year donation write-offs.
Consignment furniture stores:
Consignment stores are a great way to buy furniture at a discount and save time. Of the three choices, this will be the most expensive way to buy furniture but it could save you a lot of time since it typically offers the most complete inventory options for furnishing living rooms, dining rooms, offices, kitchens and bedrooms.
You may find that local furniture consignment shops in your area have made arrangements with builders and interior designers who create model homes. As you know, model homes are beautifully decorated with high-end furniture to sell the home. When a builder has sold all the homes in a particular subdivision, the furniture is no longer needed. The furniture is oftentimes sold at furniture consignment stores for 50% off (or more!) the retail price.
Even gallery pictures for the walls are sold less expensively at consignment furniture stores. You will need to check the store monthly for new inventory as it changes frequently. To find a store in your area, simply do a search on “Furniture Consignment Store” + your zip code. Antique furniture stores may also appear in the listings.
Before purchasing your furniture, it is wise to have a budget in mind. It is advisable that you only buy the furniture and furnishings that you love because you will be seeing it everyday in your home. Often, people end up buying furniture because they need it now, but discard it within a year or two because they end up hating it. Buy for quality and because you really like the pieces. You will end up saving time and staying within your budget if you have discriminating taste when purchasing used furniture.