Monday, January 19, 2015

Homemaking on a Dime: Furnishing Your Home

Welcome back to the Homemaking on a Dime series! I am really excited to keep talking about how to be an awesome homemaker on a budget...two of my favorite things put together! This week we are going to talk about some tips for furnishing your home on the cheap. Furniture can be REALLY expensive, and if you have just moved or are re-furnishing a room, you'll quickly find how fast it all adds up. Here are some of the ways I have furnished our new home without going into major debt! 

Look for sales and wait
Waiting is really hard. But I have found that with big purchases like furniture, it pays off to wait. Before we moved into our new house, I knew that I really wanted some of these bar chairs from Target. After we moved in and found that we were more broke than we thought we'd be, I knew it wasn't feasible to buy 3 of them right then. I thought about buying one at a time, which would have been a good plan also, but I just waited. One day, I was shopping at Target and looked down the furniture aisle and saw a sign underneath the chairs saying that they were 30% off using the Cartwheel app! I knew that was the time to finally get them. Each chair being 30% off, plus saving another 5% on my red card meant that I basically 3 chairs for the price or 2! Waiting totally paid off in this case. It was kind of weird not having any chairs at the bar for awhile, but I saved so much this way! 

Hand Me Downs 
Hand me down furniture is the best thing ever. When we were first married, practically our whole apartment was furnished through hand me downs from our parents' various moves. Actually, I take it back, I think our entire place was...I honestly don't think we bought a single piece of furniture until our house. If you know a friend or family member is moving or re-furnishing, ask them if they have any furniture they are looking to get rid of for a small price. Most of the time, when people are moving, they are ready to get rid of all their stuff, so I'm sure they will be happy to have you take it off their hands. Our kitchen table was my mom's prior to us getting married in 2008, and I sat at it every day from probably 7th grade on when we got it. When my mom got married, her husband had a table, so she saved it for me, knowing I'd need one sometime in the near future. This FREE table has lasted my little family 6+ years (not including the time my mom had it, too)! 

Cover It Up
If you are able to find a piece of furniture on Craigslist, Goodwill, garage sale, etc. or from a loved one that is cheap or free, but maybe not the best looking piece of furniture, consider getting a cover for it. When we moved into our current home, we knew we had to furnish two living areas, and had nothing to do it with because the buyers of our previous house wrote our one large sectional into their offer. I was at my husband's aunt's house one day and she was showing me their new furniture. Later, I was thinking "I wonder what they did with their old stuff" because I knew they kept their things in good condition and it would be better quality than anything I could find on Craigslist or elsewhere, so I asked her, and she said they were keeping one piece and the couch was up for grabs! The only downside is that it was totally white, and we have two toddlers. That would be a total disaster waiting to happen, so I just bought a couch cover at Target that was something like 40% off and its perfect for our living room. 

Re-purpose It
If you no longer have a need for a piece of furniture, you could consider using it for something else. I have seen tons of ideas floating around Pinterest for things to do with old cribs. The possibilities are endless! This also works the opposite way--if you have a need for something new, see if you can repurpose something you already have. Try using a night stand as an end table or vice versa. 

Refinish It 
If you already have a fine piece of furniture, but its not that eye catching, or doesn't fit with your decor anymore, consider refinishing it. There are so many tutorials out there these days for painting furniture, staining, reupholstering, etc. This is also a great idea for Goodwill finds.I have done this with several items in our home. I bought an old dresser at a garage sale and turned it into an entertainment center (post will come on that someday).
I had searched here and there throughout my pregnancy for a nightstand for my daughter's nursery, and finally one random day I saw the perfect nightstand for something like $7 at Goodwill. It was totally ugly, but it turned out fabulously. 
(sorry for the poor quality before photo)

This ombre dresser was a Walmart dresser I had owned for years, and I wanted to use it in my girls' room when we moved. I simply used a few jars of sample paint in coordinating colors. Easy and cheap! 

Liquidation or Discount Furniture Stores
If you haven't checked your furniture liquidation or discount stores, you may be missing out! In most cases, the quality is not going to be as good as if you were shopping on Furniture Row, but you can't beat the price. With little kids and pets, we figure our furniture is not bound to last a super long time anyway, so we are really comfortable with paying a smaller price for lower quality in this stage of life. We bought our sectional for hundreds, if not thousands less than we could have gotten a similar style at a regular furniture store.

Other stores to check:
Target {Cartwheel app savings + %5 red card discount really adds up with bigger purchases}
Wal-Mart
TJ Maxx
Home Goods
Hobby Lobby  {things are often on sale,& if not, you can get a 40% off coupon on their site any time}
Overstock
Amazon
Local consignment stores 
Do you have any other tips for furnishing cheaply? How about stores to find inexpensive furniture at?
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