Furnishing your home on a budget can be perceived as an exciting creative project, or a daunting and time-consuming chore. Unless you have the means to hire a decorator with the creative flare and resources to bring your style to life, the task gets left to you. So where do you start? Online? Thrift stores? The big blue and yellow Scandinavian store on the outskirts of town?
A good start when you're on a budget is deciding whether to buy new furniture, or pre-owned.
New furniture stores are plentiful. When buying brand-new, higher quality usually means higher price tag. DIY assemble-at-home furniture retailers are plentiful and low-cost. But the assembly is often time-consuming and frustrating, and cookie-cutter particleboard furniture is not unique or designed to withstand the test of time.
Buying Used - Thrift
Used furniture is readily available and much more cost-effective. Unfortunately, quality varies: "One man's trash is another man's treasure” often rings true. There's always the option to hunt through thrift shops, but it may take several attempts to find that nice piece of furniture amidst the discarded scratched, stained, or smokey items, and you're limited by stores near your location. Craigslist is a great resource for used furniture, but quality varies and picking it up can be uncomfortable and inconvenient. Be smart and watch out for scammers and creeps.
Nearly New - Consignment
If you're looking for a quality piece of gently used furniture, something that was not simply discarded or scrapped, a consignment store is your best bet. Consignment stores have quality standards. They carry pieces of value, often hand-crafted, and reject pieces that are too scratched or too worn. There are stores that specialize in nothing but designer and high-end pre-owned furniture. And the best consignment stores also list their pieces online, so you have the convenience and ease of shopping from home. These stores offer you high-quality furniture at a discounted price with the convenience of purchasing brand-new.
The key to furnishing your home on a budget is finding a balance between buying convenience, quality of the furniture, and cost. Consignment stores offer a great balance of all three.