Posted by: Daryl & Wendy Ashby | May 7, 2011

Buying Furniture on a Budget

 

They say that clothes make the man; if that’s the case, then furniture makes the home. Since the living room is typically the most visited and lounge-worthy space in the house, you want to make sure that your furniture is a representation of your personality and style. Unfortunately, a well-furnished living room can cost quite a lot of money.

Outlets

Outlets are a great place to start when shopping for furniture. Not only do they offer a wide selection, they also offer reduced prices where furniture can be anywhere from 40 to 75 percent off suggested retail price. If you’re going to buy a new piece for your living room at an outlet, you might want to go with a couch. You won’t have to deal with unpleasant stains, or the possibility of reupholstering. Plus, the couch is the main piece of furniture in the living room. Additionally, furniture outlets are great for decorative pieces and accents. Candle holders, wall art and centerpieces are in abundance at furniture outlets, and will add a personal flair to your living room that you might otherwise miss out on.

Public Online Marketplaces

Shopping online for a great deal on a couch or a TV-stand may seem like it would save you tons of time, but it’s much easier to be hesitant and picky when you can’t see the item in person. Public online marketplaces are a great idea because they allow you to buy used and local. You can peruse the furniture section and sort by type, price and locations. When you think you’ve located a winner, simply send an email to set up a viewing appointment. There are prime times and locations for online marketplaces. Here’s a hint: try searching in a nearby college town come graduation day, you might find some great furniture at a great price.

Garage Sales

Patrolling your neighborhood for garage sales will not only save you money, it can also be a fun outing for a couple or family. There’s definitely something to be said for finding a hidden gem in a pile of rubbish, but you don’t want to dig through piles of garbage. Hitting up a garage sale in a high-end neighborhood will usually yield a higher quality of furniture. You can save on a barely used coffee table that might have cost hundreds of dollars a few seasons ago, or an almost-new lounge chair. There are several online resources for locating local garage sales, and mapping out your itinerary.

Thrift Stores

Much like garage sales, thrift stores are all about finding the diamond in the rough. Ask around and check online reviews to see which thrift stores tend to stock higher quality merchandise at an affordable rate. Thrift stores are also a great place to find vintage items. For instance, if you’re a music lover, you can buy classic records and frame them for your walls. Thrift stores also tend to have a large selection of books and movies that you can use to stock that living room bookshelf or entertainment center.

Public Auctions

If you have watched TV lately, you will know that public auctions are an increasingly popular way to find hidden treasures in unexpected places. Public auctions are usually specific to the type of item you are looking to acquire. There are public auctions for everything from cars to collectibles, so you have to make sure you’re in the right room. Furniture is placed at auction by people seeking to clear out their home, sell items after a relative’s passing, or re-sell items they have found for profit.

There are plenty of deals to be had, but be warned, many people attending these auctions are seasoned professionals. Some regulars may attend auctions weekly, and may be able to spot a good deal from across the room. This can lead to overly inflated prices as bidders vie for the prized piece. However, quite a few deals go unnoticed in favor of highly collectible show pieces, leaving you to gain high-quality pieces at far less than you would pay in stores.

A recent trend on the auction market is the selling of personal storage units. Every year, hundreds of people abandon their storage units, causing them to become the property of the rental company. These companies invite the public to look at the opened unit for a few minutes before the start of bidding. If you can spot the pieces you’re looking for, this can be a great way to find cheap furniture. Or, if you’re up for an adventure, you can bid on a unit even if you can’t see exactly what’s inside. It’s a gamble, but you might end up with a whole lot more than you expected. Also, be sure to bring a van or truck, at these auctions, removal is up to the buyer.

Furnishing your living room doesn’t have to cost a fortune. Spending more time shopping around online and secondhand will allow you to spend less time draining your bank account. Be savvy, and remember to incorporate your personality!

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