By Heather R. Johnson
After years of living in cramped spaces with messy roommates, you finally have a place of your own with some space. You rejoice in the idea of your own living room, bedroom, and dining area, but there is one problem. You don’t have the furniture you need to really make the space your own.
Fortunately, there are affordable ways to furnish your home that don’t involve a hand-me-down sofa. When you know what to buy and where to look, it’s possible to outfit your home in style without draining your bank account.
Become a Savvy Discount Furniture Store Shopper
It’s always possible to find great deals at furniture warehouses and outlet stores, but it’s important to carefully examine the materials. Look for metal or solid wood tables, chairs, headboards, and bed frames. These materials last much longer than plastic, particleboard, and wood veneers.
If you find an advertised price that seems too good to be true, it probably is. “Sometimes the discounted price advertised is for a smaller version of the item you want, or it might be missing components you would want,” says Kassin Adelman, founder and CEO of IDF Studio, an interior design studio based in San Francisco. “If you see a great couch on display at a low price, it might not reflect the cost for the fabric choice used on that couch, or it may not include the optional chair or chaise at the end that looks like it’s connected.”
Take Your Time
Because you want your place to look great right away, it’s tempting to go on a weekend furniture blitz to get everything done. Resist the temptation. Create a home décor plan in advance that incorporates new items into room designs that use some items you already own. If you get overzealous and give in to impulse buys, you could end up with a table that doesn’t match anything or a chair that’s too big for its designated corner.
“Enjoy the process,” says Adelman. “Get the pieces you need, like a couch and dining room table, but wait to fill in the gaps until you know how you’ll be using the space and what you’d like to see every day.”
Don’t Underestimate the Power of Accessories
If you don’t have the budget for a new sofa (one item you shouldn’t skimp on), use accessories to add warmth and give your old pieces a fresh look. A new piece of artwork or throw pillows add color, while furniture slipcovers give old chairs and sofas a whole new look at a fraction of the price.
Don’t forget to think beyond actual furniture. A coat of white paint transforms a dreary room into a bright, artsy space. Table and floors lamps with soft white bulbs create a comfortable atmosphere.
Think Outside the Box
Good deals are available in many places. If online and brick-and-mortar discount stores don’t meet your budget furniture needs, scan online classifieds for quality furniture available at a steal. Salvage stores, thrift stores, and estate sales also offer deeply discounted furniture, although it might take multiple trips to find the right items to suit your taste.
As you think about where to shop, don’t overlook furniture rental clearance centers. CORT Furniture Clearance Centers offer quality, previously rented furniture at up to 70 percent off new retail prices. The inventory is subject to change daily. Stop in often to find the perfect pieces to complement and enhance your existing home décor.
Heather Johnson is a freelance writer based in the San Francisco Bay Area. Her experience includes legal, technology, home and garden, small business, real estate, health/healthcare, energy, and general interest topics. She has written for consumer, trade, and custom publications, as well as for companies and individuals, for more than 15 years.