Topics, Tips & Tools / Personal Finance

How to Save Money on Furniture

12 March 2015
Decorating your home should be an enjoyable adventure rather than stressing you out over finances. Buying good quality furnishings doesn’t have to bankrupt you in the short-term or cost you a lot of money over the course of your life. Whether you’re a student looking to buy your first pieces of furniture, or a parent creating a family home, there are ways for saving money when you shop around.  Read through our handy tips for getting good-quality items at discount costs, as well as making sure they’ll last as long as possible. 
Know How to Buy Second-Hand 
Buying used goods that are still in good condition can save you money. Especially if you know how to identify pieces that could be with you for decades. This essentially begins with knowledge of different types of woods and their various differences:
Solid wood – typically more expensive, items made from this usually look great but can be vulnerable to scratches and moisture rings. 
Veneers – these types of furnishings usually have an inexpensive core covered with thin layers of better-quality wood. This means items made from this are usually a bit cheaper than solid pieces. 
Particle board and composite wood – these materials are usually comprised of wood pulp, plastics and resin. It’s the cheapest type and can look decent, but don’t expect it to last decades. 
When shopping around for second-hand wooden furniture always inspect to make sure that the ends and corners have been joined. You want to choose these over items that have been glued or nailed in corners. Similarly, always check drawers and cabinets properly before buying to ensure they open and close with ease. 
When it comes to used items that feature cushions and fabrics, look for firm cushions, with removable covers matching on both sides that are easily washed. Firm cushions hold up better over time. When examining seat cushions, try to find ones that still seem firm and supported. This will keep them from developing that dip in your favourite spot. 
Shop Around and Negotiate 
When it comes to furniture there are many retailers who are willing to negotiate on price – especially on floor models or items that may have been superficially damaged with a scuff or two. One will have to do some asking around and legwork, but the rewards are definitely worth it. If you’re buying used furniture then bargaining is often expected by the seller. 
Consider Your Lifestyle 
Let your way of life determine what colours and fabrics you choose. If you have kids or pets, stick with dark colours and stain-resistant, tough, fabrics like linen or tweed. You’ll want to avoid the lighter colours that can get damaged by a small spill or accident. 
The Sales Person is Your Friend
If you treat the salesperson with friendly respect you may be able to get some really good info regarding deals on furniture in that particular store. Store employees are the most familiar with existing and upcoming store sales and product discounts. Introduce yourself to the sales people and managers where you shop, so that you’re more than just a face. They may choose to go out of their way to be sure you get the best prices and service.
Take Your Time
Buy a piece or two at a time and make your choices carefully. Do not rush. Definitely don’t buy low-quality just because it is cheap – it may not last long enough to justify the saving. When shopping for furniture, remember, you don’t have to replace everything in your home at once. You can spread out your purchases, so you only buy one large item for your home each year. If the item is good quality it could last you many years. This saves you money in the long run and gives you time to wait for annual sales, your next annual pay raise, or even your tax return money.
For more information on money-saving tips, read our article on “How to Save Money on Household Products”.