Top Ways to Save Big when Buying Furniture

by Kathy Wilson

Buying furniture for your home can be an expensive undertaking, even with creativity as your tool. Here are the top ways to save big bucks when creating new digs for your home.

Furniture is the place most people start when decorating a home. A little planning will go along way in making you happy with your most major decorating purchase. Make sure you know what style and scale you want for your room, even before you start looking. If you are hoping to make an English cottage, but you pick up a modern sleek sofa just because it was on sale, you are never going to be happy, and your money is wasted.

I suggest always buying your furniture in solid neutral colors. You can always add and change pillows and throws, but if you get bored with that bright plaid or floral, your only options will be expensive slipcovers.

Don't necessarily run to the furniture store when you are ready to shop. Check your local newspaper; people are always selling good quality furniture for a fraction of the retail price. Even if you have to rent a U-Haul to get it home, you've saved hundreds. Also, see if your area has a furniture consignment shop. Again, a lot of money can be saved. Yard sales are always good places to look, but get there early for the best selection. Furniture always goes fast! Finally, if your budget is tight, try to get one piece of good quality furniture for each room, and make it a focal point. Eyes will be drawn to that piece, and your "make do" pieces will fade into the background.

Finally, master the art of disguise. Paint can work wonders for a yard sale coffee table. (I once got a solid oak coffee table for $10 because it was scratched. I puttied the scratches and painted it, and it has lasted years!) Linens can be draped over sturdy cardboard boxes as end tables. Platform beds can be built with plywood or mdf and cinder blocks. (Bed skirts and comforters will hide all that.) Cover a damaged work table with a throw rug, add wood trim and paint those boring kitchen cabinets, or drape a stained sofa with soft throw blankets and fluffy pillows.

Don't feel just because your budget is limited that you can't get some bang for your furniture buck. Use these guidelines to deck your house out, add nice pieces in time as the budget allows, and you won't have the credit debt at the furniture store keeping you awake at night.

Kathy Wilson is an author, columnist, and editor of The Budget Decorator. For thousands of free home decorating ideas on a budget, visit her at and be sure to sign up for her free newsletter while you're there!

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