Hello homemakers! My key board has been a little silent these past few weeks as I’ve been working tirelessly to get this house unpacked. If you missed it, Andrew and I just moved into our beautiful (finished) renovation project that we’ve been working on all summer.
If you are a homeowner or renovator then you know that purchasing/renovating is one thing, but furnishing your home is another project entirely. Especially if you upgraded in square footage, which we surely did, you’ll probably find your home looking a little sparse.
After you’ve spent $$$ on a new house, the wallet feels light and let’s just be honest, furniture is expensive! And if you have an entire house to furnish you can see the numbers before the decimal growing and growing and soon you feel anxious and worried and it feels like you’ll never have a couch!!
But calm down.
There is a solution.
Part of the solution is patience, because waiting is the homemaking journey and you just have to stick out, but there is another way to get your house furnished faster and for less — you just have to know where to look.
Today I am going to show you how I furnished my entire home for way less than retail value. Hopefully this will inspire to look in a few places you haven’t thought of, and give you some inspiration for your home’s decor!
Duh craigslist, but seriously. Craigslist can be a Mecca of furniture findings. Yes there is a lot of crap, too, but occasionally you find awesome people selling awesome stuff for a wonderful price. We found the piano in our study for FREE! Andrew found this by pure diligence in searching Craigslist pages and with a little help from an app called Cplus for Craigslist.
Basically this app allows you to search multiple cities for exactly what you are looking for. It also has a feature that will “ping” you when a listing matching your criteria is added to Craigslist. That means you always get a jump on things that could go fast!
I’ve found that with Craigslist, timing is everything. I found our velvet chaise on Craigslist for $200 while doing a late night search on Craigslist for antiques. Remember to just keep searching and check in all the categories for what you are looking for.
My parents have been avid antique-ers my entire life, so I love going through antique stores. You can find some amazing things and even better prices. The two floral club chairs in my study came from my favorite antique store in Tulsa, River City Trading Post, and I purchased these for $180. For comparison, the chairs that I wanted for this room retailed for $900, so I think I made the right decision. The key to buying antique furniture is to make sure the item is still quality. These chairs had no stains, no smell, no rips or tears, and were in great condition. A lot of antique stores are also willing to negotiate on higher ticket items, so ASK!
Facebook has been an amazing source of furniture and decor for me. We purchased our first couch via Facebook. This couch was a 2 week old West Elm sofa and we bought it for $400. We also bought 4 dining room chairs for $125. You may not know, but there are likely several Facebook groups in your community where people post listings of things they want to sell. And now, Facebook has the Marketplace where anyone can get on and post things for sale locally. This is similar to Craigslist, however, since you can see it’s a real human (and let’s be honest, do a little creeping) it feels a little safer.
On the flip side, Facebook is an excellent avenue to ask for things. For instance, our study has large book shelves which needed to be filled by old books. Instead of going directly to my favorite old bookstore and spending a small fortune, I asked friends if they had old encyclopedia sets they wanted to part with. I was able to fill my entire book shelf with some amazing old books at no cost to me! That my friends, is the power of the ask!
Estate sales are an excellent way to find good furniture for a lot less. Most every Estate Sale runs for 3 days and by the 3rd day, everything is 50% off. Over the years, I have found really cheap furniture and knick knacks. I recently have been picking up furniture for the new house and snagged my Ethan Allen Roll Arm chair (retail $1,300) for $185 at an Estate Sale. Here’s another trick to getting things cheaper — most Estate Sales will allow you to bid on an item, meaning you can offer less than the ticketed price. At the end of the sale, if the item you bid on has not sold then the person with the highest bid “wins” the item at the discounted price. It’s not a guarantee, but you might get lucky. I find out about Estate Sales through Facebook and email lists that I have joined over the years. Once you find a dealer you love, you’ll find yourself going to their sales over and over again — trust me.
At the end or beginning of a new season, a lot of furniture retailers will mark down their old inventory to make room for the new which means you can snag a floor sample for a lot cheaper! We did this with our Anthropologie sofa in our den. This sofa was on sale as a floor sample, plus an additional 30% off. It had been used in the dressing room at the store for a few years, but was in great shape, had no stains or sun damage and was a couch I really wanted. Pottery Barn and West Elm do quite a few floor sample sales as well. I recommend following your local stores on their social media channels so you can see when they are having a sale then make your move!
To be honest, I’m not really a DIY girl when it comes to furniture. I wrote a post on how I determine When to Buy and When to DIY and most of the time I choose to buy when it comes to furniture. The exception to this rule for us, is dining tables. Andrew has built 3 of our 4 dining tables and each time he just gets better and better! Tables are relatively easy to build and you can find good tutorials on Pinterest (maybe even one on this blog in a few weeks!), so if you are going to try to DIY a piece of furniture a table wouldn’t be so bad. Our new dining table cost about $250 to make. For reference a comparable table from a retailer would be around $800. Always go into a DIY knowing exactly what you are getting yourself into, so your hard work will pay off!
This is kind of a joke, but also it’s true. My mom has given us so many things that she no longer used. Both rugs in our Study came from her and they are two of my favorites. If you have a mother who has similar taste, ask if she has anything she doesn’t use. That’s how I started decorating and now as my mom replaces some of her old things I inherit them. I realize this does not work for everyone, but I really do owe my mom many thanks for giving me so many of her old things. Thanks momma!
These are my tried tested and true methods for finding furniture that doesn’t break the bank. Someday I’ll probably go through and replace some of these older pieces, but for now this is what works great in my home. I do believe in quality over quantity, but there are times when I would rather pay less to have something in the space than stare at a blank canvas for years. You have to decide what’s the most important thing, and go with your gut! And if you hate something later, use one of the above methods to sell it to someone else : )
Was this helpful? Are any of these methods ones that you use?
*All photos in this post are courtesy of Jeremy Rydin Photography. Thank you Jeremy for the excellent shots!