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Where to buy good quality furniture with very little money?


Sherri in MI
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We need a sofa in a bad way, dh wants a sectional.  I want something comfy for everyone and pretty.  What I'm finding while searching online is a lot of junky ugly (to me) furniture that is really expensive.

 

My tastes are eclectic but run along traditional (but with fresh touches), neo-Victorian, English country lines some American country, if not too rustic.  Cheerful and soothing, not too staid, but not froo froo either. 

 

I used to like Ethan Allen and Thomasville and Bombay Company but that was ages ago & I haven't had time to check them out recently - they've probably all changed.  And of course I can't afford them - never have been able to! :)  I want something pretty, but that we all can be comfortable in. 

 

We are using our tax refund, which isn't much & has to go a long way:  redo our entire apartment & buy homeschool books & supplies.

 

So any ideas?  Where to get good furniture (new or used) for a real steal? I don't even know where to look. 

 

Surprisingly, Target has some attractive living room chairs for good prices.  No sofas.  We need a sofa we can all lounge on (all 3 of us & a beagle).

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I just bought a used sectional off of Craigslist. While I know there is a risk there, I can generally get a good idea of what I am getting from the pictures and the emails and I don't have any trouble walking away if something doesn't seem right when I go to pick it up. For 1/5 the cost of new, and while I am not working and we are watching our pennies while my husband is in school, I can take on a few risks. You have to be patient and direct and knowledgable about going resale prices to find good deals on Craigslist though.

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I always wanted a really nice bed frame.  When I went to the furniture stores, they were all so outrageously expensive, and some were - despite the price - cheaply made.  We found a warehouse nearby that carries "unwanted" furniture from a local furniture chain.  It had discontinue pieces, scratched, incomplete, non-sellers, etc.  We paid just a fraction of the price for ours, and it was just like new (no visible flaws).  It is a lot better quality than some we saw that were $1000.  We paid about $200 for it.

 

I recommend browsing online sites for any places like that.  It's a good way to get quality, expensive pieces for a fraction of the price.

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used - I'd look at Craigslist.  I just sold on craigslist a very-solid, 100 y.o. European dining set for a small fraction of what it "might have been worth" if sold by an antique dealer

 

new - we usually buy sofas from Room and Board (while not inexpensive, it may not be as much as a place like Ethan Allen; we've been very happy with the quality - 6 kids and our sectional is going on six years or so).  New but cheaper - we bought a sofa from Sofa Mart (Furniture Row); it was inexpensive but the quality was less than desired

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I like auction houses and 'antique' galleries -- the kind that have multiple dealers. I have found the best prices by far at auctions. It is hit or miss whether or not there is something you like, and you never know whether it will go above or below the estimate. But you can get great deals. We have some places that display things, so you can go see them, but then have the actual auction on line. We also have a few towns in our area, within a two hour drive, that are filled with antique stores, more expensive than the auction, but better quality and cheaper than furniture stores.

 

But look at Ikea too for comparison. A lot of their furniture is ok.

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We bought some furniture off Craig's list.  If you watch where you are going you can get some huge deals.  Our leather couch was only ever sat on by adults (and didn't even look like it had ever been used).  It was in mint condition for about 20% of the cost of new.

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All of our furniture is either from Craigslist or Sam's Club.  Sam's seems to be decent quality for the price, and even better if you watch their clearance section.  I had my eye on a nice bedroom set a few years ago, but at $2,000 there was no way I was going to purchase it.  We briefly considered it when it clearanced for $1,000, but even that was too high.  We kept watching the clearance/returns area and eventually found the set, minus one end table which wouldn't have fit in our bedroom anyway, for $300.  We are very pleased with the quality.

 

 

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You might check out Costco's website.  I just got a flyer from them indicating they are having a furniture/home sale for the month of May. We bought a lovely dining room set from them several years ago.  My experience with Costco is that it is good stuff for a good price, but you just don't have a whole lot to choose from (there were maybe three other dining sets when we bought ours, and usually there are none!).  But if you like what they are selling, they seem to have good prices (though do your research; I'm not terribly experienced in such things!).

 

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I think every piece of "furniture" in my house came from CL. Even my sofa, bed and the kids beds. The mattresses were ours, we just put a topper on the bed frame we bought. I honestly never thought I would buy a bed from CL but I searched for some time before I bought the one I most comfortable with and the mattress was in really good shape and not one we could have bought new, with our topper on top it made it all okay. I love my bed! Side tables, storage shelves, kitchen table, school shelves, kids dressers....all CL. I think the only thing we buy new is the small stuff like items for the kitchen and accessory type stuff. We also have cats and buying used helps me to not stress too much what happens to them, the cats have done a number on the couch. Maybe someday we will be able to go to store and buy new. I don't know but I think if you look and you know what you want, you can find really good buys. Be ready, be quick and be ready to pick up fast! I find that is the key to getting the better quality items. Have a truck and way to get it all ready. People don't often want to wait to long when selling the larger items since it probably means that have something new coming and need it gone by a certain time.

 

We also have a college town really close and if you keep your eye on the CL ads around the time the semester ends you can find some great cheap Ikea items. I wouldn't buy a couch from them but desk / school stuff is a home-run! We also have a retirement community not too far that posts ads for sale, they are usually very nice pieces for a reasonable price. Check your community too!

 

Good Luck!

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