Furnishing a House on a Budget

Maybe you just bought your first home or you invested all your money in pre-move-in renovations. Whatever the case, you now need to furnish your home on a budget. The best way to do that is to buy used furniture. Some people assume “used” means “flawed”, but you’d be surprised by what treasures you can find. I’ve seen practically brand new items being sold at a discount and, if you’re willing to do a little work by adding a few coats of paint or varnish and new hardware, you can make an older piece look brand new.

Here are some tips for finding furnishings for cheap:

  1. Visit local yard sales. They are a great for getting furniture cheap, because the sellers are ready to get rid of it and are usually willing to negotiate. However, you can’t approach them all willy-nilly. You have to have a plan, because the good furniture goes within the first hour. A day or two before, you need to scan the yard sale ads in the newspaper and online, choose what you really need, and get there right when they begin.
  2. Check out online classifieds, like Craigslist. I’ll be honest and say I’m always hesitant to use Craigslist, because of news stories of people getting robbed when they go to look at something for sale. So, use your common sense. Try to meet in a public place. WilmingtonYardSales.com is like an online “yard sale” and has a lot of furniture for sale. If you are a bit eclectic and like antiques, I’ve seen some pretty neat things listed, like antique phone chairs and sewing machines. Many are even from thrift stores, which I find a bit safer than purchasing from an individual.
  3. Visit a local thrift store. There are a number of them located in and around Wilmington. Some benefit nonprofits, including The Salty Paws Thrift Store (animal rescue) in Wilmington and Hope Chest Thrift Store (domestic violence shelter) in Leland. They often have furniture and art at a deep discount.
  4. If you are young or not too picky, visit UNCW’s campus on the last few days of spring classes. I know this sounds crazy, but some students are either forced to leave perfectly good furniture behind because they can’t move it home or they flat-out don’t need it anymore. You can find shelving, chairs, etc. by the dumpsters or on the side of the road near the rentals around the campus. Of course, give whatever you find a DEEP cleaning. It’s a university, after all.
  5. If you’re handy, make your own! Palett furniture is all the craze now and there are plenty of websites online that show you how to make it. A good place to start is Pinterest.
  6. Ask your Realtor for help. At Coldwell Banker Sea Coast Advantage, agents are often sending out office-wide emails for clients who are selling or giving away furniture, and asking for items clients may need. So, they may be able to help you too.

You don’t need to be an expert to refinish furniture. Here are some tips for refinishing without stripping the finish and painting furniture. Most importantly – have fun and decorate your home for YOU. Don’t worry about what others think. You live there!

Have a tip for furnishing on a budget? Let us know in the comments below!

About the Author
Meghan Henderson
Meghan is the Marketing Specialist for The Cameron Team and a published author of two young adult books. She also creates digital and printable planners and trackers, as well as coloring pages for Larkspur & Tea.