One of the things that has taken me years to learn is the fine art of buying great furniture at deeply discounted prices. It seems like it’s either choose quality and hefty price tag or cheap materials and a wallet happy price. It doesn’t have to be either or though!
While Ikea certainly has a place in my home and heart outfitting your whole home solely in their furniture, especially the cheapest stuff, may leave you needing to replace it in a few years. Personally, we’ve found that Ikea furniture doesn’t hold up well to being disassembled and reassembled multiple times or moved so keep that in mind when you buy.
Ikea is both good for my wallet–see cheap furniture prices on things like bookshelves, it can also be bad for my wallet–see the 50 odd things we didn’t come to Ikea to buy that we suddenly desperately need.
The best defense against spending too much at Ikea is to go in with a list. Yes, I know I sound like a broken record, but it’s true. If you have kids they can help, put your kids in Smalland and only allow yourself that one hour (or hour and a half) to get all your shopping done.
Best bets: Family friendly furniture, affordable kids furniture, all kinds of accessories, and lighting.
While not accessible to everyone, furniture outlets by Pottery Barn, Restoration Hardware and other high-end furniture makers can save you a small fortune on quality pieces. Furniture from these stores varies in quality so make sure you understand the lingo of furniture and what kind of materials are used. Pottery Barn in particular has some furniture that features softer wood which is easier to dent and scratch.
The only problem with outlets? These places are hit or miss. On one visit you may walk away with just a pillow cover that was priced right whereas another week you might find huge discounts on furniture.
The best deals are found on pieces that have been sitting on the floor too long, or that they need to move in order to make room for new inventory. Combined with a sale this can result in 75-90% savings on a solid piece of furniture that will last you a lifetime (or two).
I’ve shared info about our recent couch purchase before, but we ended up purchasing the perfect couch for our family room (originally priced at $3300) for around $800 (with tax). Not super cheap, but given the depth of the sofa, and quality of the materials it was a steal and within our budget.
Best bets: Spend more on the places you use the most-your couch, dining room, desk/office, and bedrooms.
Floor samples are offered as new furniture lines are being introduced to stores. Some stores only discount 30%, while others may mark down furniture 50% off or more!
Be sure to check out any floor sample throughly because they are typically final sale items. Also be aware that you often have to pick up these items yourself, and put them back together if they had to come apart to move.
Best bets: Tables of all kinds, bedroom sets, and outdoor furniture.
Work it for a discount
Many years ago I worked at a local Pottery Barn store part-time. It was a way for me to get out of the house, and earn a little extra income. What I learned while working there was that a good portion of the employees work at Pottery Barn and similar stores to earn a discount. Whether it’s a former stay at home parent looking to furnish their house, or a newlywed with a house to fill, employees are often there for the major discount (and the extra income). Every retailer is different, but many offer 40-50% off retail prices, with a smaller % off on sale or discounted items. Pottery Barn in particular was great to work for because I was able to use my discount at Pottery Barn Kids and Williams Sonoma as well.
Just be forewarned if you think it is easy, it’s not. It’s an on your feet job that requires a lot of energy and the ability to deal with all kinds of customers. It also doesn’t pay extremely well, but you may find the discount is worth the effort.
Best bets: Pick a store you love, and work it.
Consignment, Goodwill, Craig’sList, Garage Sales, and Flea Markets oh my!
Shopping used is a great way to find quality furniture at rock bottom prices. It just take sa bit of hunting, some negotiating skills, and the ability to see potential. You can find all kinds of furniture and accessories that are unique.
The list of places you can look is fairly endless!
- Thrift stores
- Habitat for Humanity ReStore
- Consignment stores
- Antique stores
- Craig’s List
- Flea Markets
- Yard/Garage sales
- Estate sales
What could be better than free? Not much, especially if you find something that’s a good fit for you that can be made over easily. Over the years I’ve picked up free items from Freecycle, friends and family who are moving/getting new furniture, Craig’s List, and yes even the curb.
The thrill of finding or receiving something free may be a difficult thing to say no to, but make sure what you are bringing home you have a place for in your home.
Best bets: Anything and everything.
Build it Yourself
Whether you’re a novice or consider yourself a carpenter you can build your own furniture. You can find free plans online and learn all about building your own furniture at places like the amazing Ana White’s site.
Best bets: Start simple if you’re new to building. Wood furniture such as desks, built-ins, beds and more are fairly straight forward to build.
What’s your advice for finding quality furniture at an affordable price?