The design and overall functionality of a home is never complete without furniture. No matter how small or big your home is, its entirety will be made up of several pieces of furniture which you can use as seating, as bedroom furniture or as somewhere to eat while in the kitchen.
But as you may already know, furniture is one of the biggest expenses that any household can have. Here, we will give you tips on how you can save money when buying furniture, and which types of furniture pieces are available in the first place.
Home Furniture: The Basics
Simply put, furniture is a movable object which is meant to support various activities such as sitting, sleeping, eating or as storage. Unlike a few generations back when furniture referred to those stuffy, uncomfortable sofas usually seen in your grandmother’s living room, furniture pieces these days can be beautiful works of art. More than just functionality, comfort and practicality, furniture is designed with utmost aesthetics in mind.
Depending on the type of furniture that you are looking forward to furnishing your home with, the materials that they can possibly be made from are: plastic, glass, wood, fiberglass, bamboo, rattan, wicker, metal or a combination of one, two or all of these. The general types of furniture pieces found in most homes and offices are:
- Chairs (rocking chair, wingback chair, dining chair, stool, etc.).
- Bean bags, chaise lounges, Ottomans, recliners, couches, benches, daybeds and futons.
- Beds (daybeds, bunk beds, canopy beds, hammocks, sofa beds, etc.).
- Changing tables, desks, folding tables, washstands, work benches.
- Bookcases, cabinets, closets, cupboards, nightstands, wine racks, armoires, wardrobes.
- Sets for the bedroom, dining area and vanity area.
This is just a partial list of the individual items which can be classified as furniture. Whether it is used for the home or for the office, what’s important is for them to be aesthetically pleasing, functional and comfortable when used.
How to Save Money on Furniture
After learning about the basics of furniture, let us take a look at the ways that you can save money when buying one:
The best way to save money on furniture is: to not buy it in the first place!
This may sound odd, but begging for a close relative’s or friend’s furniture sometimes works. Let’s say that you have this friend who is into interior decorating. She has a love seat which you find to be truly interesting in terms of design, comfort level and aesthetics. You frequently mention to her how much you love the design of the seat.
Once your friend decides to get rid of the couch, she will actually remember how much you like it – and maybe give the furniture to you for free! All she will ask is for you to create a second home for her couch, and you are on your way towards owning but not buying a piece of furniture that you really like.
Restore the furniture that you already have
Let’s say that you are in the process of redecorating or remodelling your home. One of the biggest mistakes that you can make is not taking a look at the items that you already have.
If you have a nice Victorian chair with a sagging foam seat on top, it probably just needs a little loving care. With new upholstery and some fresh paint, you can turn the Victorian chair from old and drab to something new, fun and exciting. The best part is, you can have furniture that looks brand new, but actually cost you next to nothing to restore.
Know where to look for the best-priced furniture pieces
Furniture pieces of any kind are actually considered as big-ticket items in most stores. If you would like to purchase a new one for the apartment that you are furnishing, or for the redecorating project that you are planning for your home, how would you know which places to look? Which stores offer the best-priced furniture pieces?
Just as it is when shopping for anything that’s online, you should beware of fake sellers. There are stores which market themselves as sellers of antique chairs, tables and other furniture. Once the items get delivered to your doorstep, you might be disappointed to see that what you ordered online looks nothing like what is indicated on the website.
If you must shop for furniture pieces online, make sure to do so from reliable stores like Amazon.com and the like. If possible, you should also take advantage of bulk shipping. This means that if you are ordering two or more items from the same store, you would not have to pay twice the shipping fees.
Other stores where you can look for the best-priced furniture pieces are outlets, clearance centers, consignment stores, or furniture stores which are holding ‘Blowout Sales’. You can also look for furniture shops which are going out of business – since they would most likely hold sales with 70% or more price slash offs for their big ticket items.
If you are shopping for brand new items from traditional stores, make sure to time your purchase during the months of July, as well as the end of December to January. The middle of the year is when most stores conduct inventories so their rule would be: Out with the old, in with the new. This means that as a consumer, you can get great prices for furniture pieces as a result of the on-going inventory.
During the end of December up to January, a lot of customers will also be coming in the stores to look for furniture pieces. End-of-the-year sales are usually held during these months. If you are looking for outdoor furniture, the best time of the year to buy is from August to September, when Labor Day sales are at their peak.
How about buying used, or slightly used furniture?
If you’re an entry-level employee and you are looking for items to furnish your new apartment with, there is absolutely nothing wrong in buying used furniture. In fact, you can easily stumble upon slightly used furniture pieces – most of which are sold online. Since furniture has a long lifespan, you can easily buy ones which will give you plenty of years in service.
The frames, wooden chairs and headboards are the items that you could buy on sale, or from second hand or consignment stores. However, for the personal items like the mattress, it is best to purchase them brand new.
Do not go overboard when furniture shopping
One of the biggest mistakes made by those who are looking for furniture pieces to buy is going overboard while finishing the task. Again, it never fails to stress that furniture pieces are expensive, big-ticket items. Buying one piece at a time is actually a wise decision for you as a customer, because you can sit down and think about whether that sectional sofa will give you the best value for your money.
It is never a good idea to become an impulsive buyer, especially when talking about furniture pieces like sofas, bed frames, headboards, cabinets and the like. Even if you want to furnish a room all in one go, it still is a good idea to take your time in buying furniture pieces – one by one.
When buying brand new furniture, consider how much it would cost to maintain the piece
If you bought wicker outdoor chairs instead of plastic ones, remember that you would have to spend some money in making sure that the wicker material stays in tiptop shape.
If you would like to purchase a wooden sofa with soft cushions, you would have to buy wood treatment solutions or furniture cleaner that is specially designed to clean wood. Depending on the material that the furniture is made of, there are certain upkeep costs that you would have to take into consideration as well.
What if I would like to buy outdoor furniture?
Visit yard sales, flea markets and even the garage sales of neighbors. These are where you can possibly find gems like a swing set that you can use on your patio. If you are looking for an outdoor dining set to place in your garden, yard sales are your best option in finding affordable yet beautiful pieces.
Other tips to remember if you would like to save money on furniture
When buying any kind of furniture, don’t forget to negotiate. Befriend the sales clerk who might offer you great discounts for the furniture piece that you have been eyeing since you walked into the store. Use your credit card for large purchases.
If possible, look for zero interest, no down payment or instalment deals. Just make sure that you will not go over budget when using your card to pay for your big-ticket purchase. Buying furniture items on a wholesale basis might also entitle you to great discounts.
By following these tips, you can save a lot of money when buying typically expensive furniture pieces.