While it’s easy to complain about the rising costs of real estate, the price of your home is really just the tip of the iceberg. Once you buy a property, you’ll need to purchase all sorts of items for the interior – wall hangings, window treatments, storage systems, and yes, furniture.
On the upside, searching for and purchasing these items can be a lot of fun. One huge downside, however, is the fact that the cost of furniture can be downright outrageous. Whether you’re buying a sectional sofa or a new bedroom set, you can expect to fork over a tidy sum of cash if you’re buying quality pieces.
Fortunately, it is possible to save money on furniture if you’re willing to compromise. You may not be able to save on the world’s most expensive furniture brands, but if you’re willing to shop around, compare prices, and make a few trade-offs, you don’t have to spend as much on your furniture as you did on your home.
Keep reading to learn more about where to find affordable furniture and some of the best stores to consider.
Best Tips for Finding Affordable Furniture Stores
- Check big-box stores: Many people know where to find the furniture stores in their town, but they fail to consider just how expensive dedicated furniture stores tend to be. Instead of shopping at furniture stores only, consider going to big-box stores like Target, Costco, and Wal-Mart. These stores carry your typical household items like brooms, paint, and even groceries, but they also have an incredible array of furniture from headboards and tables all the way to custom storage solutions.
- Ask friends and family: An Internet search can be helpful, but it also pays to get recommendations the old-fashioned way. Asking friends and family where they got their furniture (even via a Facebook post) is a great way to find more affordable furniture stores or less well-known outlets.
- Buy furniture online: Online furniture stores can be more affordable because they don’t have the overhead costs associated with brick-and-mortar locations. Many of them offer free returns and sometimes free shipping too, which can ease your mind when buying furniture sight unseen.
- Search reviews on Yelp: You can use user-review site Yelp to read reviews on a variety of businesses, including furniture stores in your area. Not only will this help you to discover smaller (and possibly cheap) furniture stores that might not come up in an Internet search, you’ll also be able to tap into the knowledge and experiences of other customers – so you know whether it’s worth your time to actually check out a given store.
- Don’t rule out thrift stores: Well-made, wooden furniture can last for decades or even centuries – and if you’ve ever seen Antiques Roadshow, you know that a good piece can actually grow more valuable over time. Take care when buying upholstered pieces used (or anything that can harbor mites or bed bugs), but check yard sales and thrift stores for affordable or downright cheap dining room tables, dressers, end tables, chairs, bookcases, storage chests, benches, and other items.
Eight Affordable Furniture Stores
Below are several affordable furniture stores that get positive reviews and have a history of satisfying customers with great prices. Depending on where you live, some names will sound familiar, but others may be new to you.
Location: 45 states & Puerto Rico
Not every single state has a HomeGoods, but they all should. HomeGoods is owned by TJX, the same company that owns T.J. Maxx and Marshalls. Similar to those stores, HomeGoods offers all kinds of quality and luxury furniture items at majorly discounted prices.
If you’re in the market for organizing products to go in your home or pieces of furniture that double as organizers, HomeGoods is great about that, too. They have tons of different throw pillows, tasteful furniture, and even rugs. A few years ago, I even bought a nice wool rug from HomeGoods for under $200.
It’s impossible to compile a list of affordable furniture stores and not include IKEA. The Swedish home store has long been known as an affordable-but-on-trend option for people on a budget.
In fact, 75 percent of the furniture in my house is from IKEA. While many people talk about moving on from IKEA and buying more “grown-up” furniture, I think IKEA is the perfect option for a growing family — partly because kids are so adept at destroying furniture and everything else.
You can get everything under the sun at IKEA, from living room furniture to bedroom sets to kitchen cabinets, as well as lots of discount decor items. There’s an entire cottage industry around hacking IKEA furniture to make it more luxurious or unique, and most stores have an area where they sell floor models and scratch-and-dent items at an even better discount. You never know what treasure you might find!
Location: Nationwide (except Vermont)
Target, which often partners with designers to create incredibly attractive furniture at affordable prices, is a favorite big-box store among the frugal-but-fashionable set. I’ve owned a number of bookshelves from Target and my children’s nursery is decorated with Target items.
The best part about buying furniture at Target is that they have such a large selection of furniture on sale, too. Online, just use the drop-down menu to select furniture and then select furniture deals to see all the current pieces on sale.
What I love about Overstock.com is that so many of their products have reviews from customers. Obviously, this especially important when it comes to buying furniture online. After all, you can’t sit on it or feel the fabric yourself, so it’s hard to know exactly what you’re buying. These reviews allow you to see how other people feel about the products you’re interested in.
I bought a dining room table off of Overstock, and I’ve had it for almost two years now. I’m really happy with the quality and craftsmanship, and I’d buy another table from them in a heartbeat.
Overstock also has free shipping for orders over $50, and shipping for orders under $50 costs just $2.95 — yep, even for furniture. You can’t beat that. If you’re worried about returns after buying furniture at an online store, be sure to check the return policy for each item you want you buy and contact Overstock if you have any questions.
Wayfair.com is another online-only home goods store, but with a touch more worldly whimsy than Overstock. Items are deeply discounted and largely on trend — in fact, Wayfair partners with big names in home and design, from This Old House to Ellen. And once again, scoping user reviews can steer you in the right direction, helping you choose between hits and misses.
Location: Southern and Northeastern United States
On a recent trip home to Baton Rouge, I stumbled into this store called Nadeau, drawn in by the colorful furniture in the window. I was surprised to see so many affordable and gorgeous pieces of furniture and excited to learn that they have a store where I used to live in New York City (and several other cities across the U.S.)
The prices do vary by location and seem to be more inexpensive in the South. Ultimately, the furniture here is cheaper than at Pottery Barn, more expensive than at Target, but really unique and interesting. I loved it, and I’m sure you will, too.
Big Lots has 1,493 stores nationwide. They’re a closeout retailer, which means they resell items that other stores weren’t able to get off the shelf. In addition to having an array of household goods, they also sell furniture.
If you love a good deal, I encourage you to check out their furniture clearance section on their website, which shows current deals on a variety of items from lamps to larger pieces of furniture. The deals constantly change, so keep checking back.
I know people who have purchased beautiful leather sofas, entertainment centers, and end tables from Big Lots. Not only did they love their purchases, but they got a lot of bang for their buck. The only downside that comes with selecting furniture from Big Lots is the fact that inventory can be unpredictable and sporadic.
Bob’s Discount Furniture
Location: Northeastern United States
Bob’s Discount Furniture is a chain of furniture stores with locations all over the United States. While the retailer offers great deals on all types of furniture, the best part of the Bob’s website is actually their outlet section. Check this section regularly to find sofas and other pieces at significant discounts. While I’ve never purchased furniture from Bob directly, I have many friends here in the New York area who have with no complaints.
Other Ways to Save at Furniture Stores
While shopping at stores that offer deals on furniture is a smart way to save money, there are other ways to save that you may not even realize exist. Before you start shopping for a new sofa or dining table, make sure to consider some of these out-of-the-box ideas:
- Look for defects: You can buy floor models at many furniture retailers, but you may have to buy your items directly off the sales floor. If you’re okay with this, keep your eyes peeled for defects, chips, or cracks that don’t bother you are aren’t very noticeable, because each one could earn you a discount.
- Skip delivery and pick up your goods yourself. Many of these companies offer furniture delivery, but if you have a big enough car, it’s worth it to pick up the item and bring it home yourself and save significant cash.
- Ignore financing offers. Many stores will offer you 0 percent APR financing, and while this might seem like a great deal, most people don’t pay off their furniture in the allotted time. Then, their interest rate jumps and they end up paying far more than they wanted to. So it’s always best to save up the money ahead of time and pay for your new furniture in cash. Some stores may even offer a discount for an all-cash purchase. And if you need financing, you could always consider a credit card that offers 0 percent APR on purchases.
- Sign up for a store credit card, get the discount – and then cut it up. Many stores will offer a one-time discount worth 10-20 percent off your first purchase with a store-branded credit card. This option is rarely worth the trouble for most items, but if you’re about to buy $2,000 in furniture, those savings can be worth braving the considerable downsides of store credit cards. Just be sure to pay it off in full right away and cut up the card.
A Final Note
Furniture, at the end of the day, is just stuff. It’s great to have beautiful furniture and a nice home, but it’s okay if your furniture is mismatched or not catalog-perfect — especially while you’re young or have little kids. I personally am so glad I bought my couch off of Craigslist, because my kids have spilled tons of things on it in the two years they’ve been alive. I probably won’t purchase an expensive sofa for a very long time, if ever.
Also, remember that furniture is marked up significantly, even at more affordable stores, so it’s often worthwhile to wait for holidays or sales to try to get the best prices. Buy floor models whenever possible and try to save on shipping or delivery costs by picking it up yourself.
Lastly, the best tip I have for you is to be patient. You don’t have to fill up your home with furniture all in one shot. It’s okay to add to your home slowly over time, picking up a side table here or an additional bookshelf there. Add art and trinkets as you travel and experience life. Don’t feel like your home has to look like a magazine photo right now. This, above all else, will help you to let your home and your style evolve over time without breaking the bank.
What is your favorite way to save on furniture? Please share in the comments below.