There are more than five places to find inexpensive furniture, if you count the hand-me-downs of family and friends who help you set up housekeeping. They may offer items that do not exactly suit your taste though, and there may be strings attached. Here are some alternative places to shop without busting your budget.
Freecycle groups aren’t everywhere yet, but where they exist, they are a great resource. Freecycle participants keep usable goods out of landfills, and help people find stuff they need, free. To freecycle go to the website and join your local group. You may be surprised at the selection.
Craigslist ads sometimes offer free items as well, and so do local “shopper” newspapers.
People who shop charity stores like Goodwill or St. Vincent de Paul pay for what they get. However, the price will be low, and the purchase helps provide jobs and money to people who are finding their way in life after setbacks.
Selection at some charity stores can be poor. Usually, but not always, furniture in better condition goes to stores in better neighborhoods. Also, small local charities may offer better prices as well as better choices.
Flea markets, yard sales, and junk stores
Flea Markets are fun. They offer naked capitalism, where the free market prevails and bargaining is expected. Often furniture bought at the flea market will be in poor condition, and a purchaser will not know its history. For this reason, be cautious about anything upholstered, because it may harbor mold or insect life.
Junk and antique stores are often slightly more expensive than the flea market, but buyers may feel more trust in goods from an established shop. Yard sales will usually be even less expensive than the flea market, but shopping yard sales can be a long slog.
Ikea, West Elm, and more
Tramping through Ikea is a long slog too. However, there’s a Scandinavian cafe to keep you going, and a multitude of low cost options in furniture and home decor. The online store invites home shoppers, but they’ll have to make their own snacks.
West Elm is a similar store, with an American emphasis, and extensive online offerings. It carries a modern look with a natural feel. Be sure to look at the clearance items.
CB2 is Crate and Barrel’s inexpensive line, and EQ3 is a Canadian brand of affordable and livable furniture.
For high end at low prices, consignment shops are worth a look. This is pre-owned furniture sold by the original owners, who pay the shop owner a commission for selling it. Sometimes it’s in terrible condition, but sometimes it looks like the original owners are simply tired of it. Careful shoppers can buy Design Within Reach furniture at prices within reach.
Price is not always linked to quality. Furniture can be less expensive for a variety of reasons helpful to budget shoppers. Be sure to try out anything that looks good, or to find out the return policy if you are shopping online. Shop smart, and furnish your home for less.