10 Ways To Buy Furniture And Home Decor On A Budget

Stacy Randall
by Stacy Randall
Credit: Shutterstock / romakoma

When you’re ready to decorate your home, one of the biggest obstacles is often your budget. You love the idea of high-quality furniture and home accessories, but you don’t have the dollars to make it happen. At least, that’s what you think. It’s possible to buy furniture and home decor on a budget without sacrificing quality or style.

Don’t try to redecorate every room in your house at once. Make updates over time, shop around, and give yourself more time to make choices. Before buying new, shop your own home or visit secondhand shops. Research items from different manufacturers for more affordable options, use cash, look for discounts, trade with others, and put your DIY skills to the test.

There are tons of ways to save money on furniture and decor if you’re willing to be patient and put in a little more effort. Plus, you may discover more interesting items when you use these tips instead of just making a quick trip to the furniture store.

1. Take Your Time To Envision Your Space

When you envision how amazing your room will look after giving it a fresh face, it’s easy to get swept up in redecorating madness. Suddenly, you’re buying paint, new curtains, furniture, accessories, and artwork as if it’s all going to disappear from the universe. But what’s the rush?

Yes, you’re excited, but if you start putting your plan into action immediately, assuming you even took the time to plan, you’ll regret it. Instead, take time to review your plan and ponder your ideas over a few weeks — preferably while you’re saving money for the project.

As you live with your idea a little longer, you may realize that certain parts of your plan aren’t very practical. It’s natural to make some adjustments to a design and reconsider various aspects before giving it the final stamp of approval. The additional time also allows you to research pieces to find the best options at the best prices.

2. Re-imagine The Things You Already Own

Once you have a relatively solid idea of how you want your space to look, it’s time to make a list of what you need. As you begin researching and comparing various pieces, walk through your home to see if you already own something that might work.

For example, that chair you were hoping would work in a reading nook in your primary bedroom (it didn’t) could be the perfect pick for your new home office. Be honest with how your current furniture and decor work in the various rooms of your home. If something isn’t quite right, give it a second chance in your new space before you dish out any dollars on something new.

If you have an item in one space that shows potential for your redecorating project, ask yourself if it could work with a few changes. For example, would the floor lamp that’s too large for your bedroom be the perfect fit and style for your new family room if you replaced the shade? Or maybe the stools in your kitchen would look fabulous in your renovated basement bar after a fresh coat of paint.

3. Don't Second Guess Buying Secondhand

After a quick shopping spree through your house, make notes on your list to decide what you still need. Depending on how successful your in-house expedition is, you may only need a few items or you might still need everything. But you’re still not heading to that fancy custom furniture store or high-end luxury home market.

No, you’re a savvy shopper, and you’re looking for furniture and decor on a budget, so you want to find second-hand shops. Or scroll through Facebook Marketplace or similar online selling platforms to see what deals you find. Other options are thrift stores, consignment shops, and even garage sales. (Pro tip: scope out estate sales in upscale neighborhoods).

The beauty of gently used items, especially vintage and retro pieces that are in great shape, is two-fold. You save money and get something unique. Instead of buying the same mass-produced items as everybody else, you’ll have a solid, quality piece that tells a story. (Just make sure it’s a love story and not a horror.)

4. Get To Know The World Of White Labeling

If you do a lot of shopping online, you may already know about white labeling. If not, the odds are good you’ve encountered it, but didn’t know it had a name. Basically, white labeling refers to the practice companies use when they take a product from one company and rebrand it as their own piece.

For example, let's say a manufacturing company makes a table and sells it to Wayfair, then they make the same table but Amazon buys it. Then, Target puts in an order for the same table. Each company then takes the table and sells it as their product, with their marketing and (here’s the important part) their price.

What does this mean for you? Well, white-label products are typically more affordable than private-label ones (albeit not as unique). And if you take time to shop around, you could find the same exact item for less.

Use a site like spoken.io to compare prices of the same products across multiple manufacturers. Sometimes, the price will be the same, other times it will only be a few dollars more or less. But you can also find some pretty extreme price differences.

5. Pay With Cash

Save your money and pay cash for your furniture and home decor. Doing this reduces what you spend in so many ways. First, you don’t end up paying dumb interest charges, which adds to your item's actual cost.

In other words, don’t buy a sofa for $1,000 using a credit card. Otherwise, you make minimum payments with interest, and it actually costs you $1,200 or $1,500 by the time you finish paying for it.

Plus, when you pay with cash, you put yourself in a better position for a discount. Many retailers will offer a small discount if you pay cash, since they won’t have to pay credit card fees on the purchase. It never hurts to ask.

You also open the door to many more shopping opportunities when you pay with cash. Some second-hand shops, garage sales, and online marketplace deals will only accept cash.

6. Do A Furniture And Decor Swap

Swapping items is an unconventional way to get some new-to-you furniture or home accessories. If you have a neighbor, friend, or family member who also wants to redo a space in their home, consider doing a trade.

Curate a small collection of pieces that you’re ready to part ways with and let your friends take a peek. Have them do the same so you can check out their items. It’s a prime example of “one person’s trash is another person’s treasure.” It could help you find the perfect piece for free.

7. Dig Into Discounts

Before you head to the store or hit the checkout button in your online cart, look for discounts. Use a browser extension like Honey or RetailMeNot to scour the internet for coupon codes and price drops.

Look at store websites to see if they offer any in-store or online coupons. Ask for a discount at the register. Sometimes, there are a few available, but the staff only does it if you ask.

8. Check Out The Back Of The Store

When you enter a store, head straight to the back and start shopping there. The back of the store is where most places stash their clearance and sale items. Some stores also have an Oops! Section. This is the section where damaged items live. However, sometimes the damage is miniscule.

Once a customer returns the item, if there is any damage, the store can’t put it back on the regular shelves. Therefore, they stick it on the “Slightly Imperfect” shelves and hope to still get a little money for it.

9. Skip The Extended Warranty

In 99.999% of cases, you don’t need an extended warranty. Most of the time, whatever it is you’re buying won’t have issues until the extended warranty time has passed or it’s altogether unnecessary. (You don’t need an extended warranty on your throw pillows.)

Use good judgment and weigh the pros and cons of the warranty before you purchase it. Consider the cost of how much something would be to repair or replace compared to what the warranty costs and factor in the likelihood of using it.

10. Put Your Creativity And DIY Skills To The Test

When you’re designing on a budget, sometimes it pays to have a few creative tricks up your sleeve. If you’re handy, then test your DIY skills to see if you can upcycle or re-imagine certain pieces. Maybe you love to sew, build, or draw. Utilize your talents to create something personal for your space.

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Stacy Randall
Stacy Randall

Stacy Randall is a wife, mother, and freelance writer from NOLA that has always had a love for DIY projects, home organization, and making spaces beautiful. Together with her husband, she has been spending the last several years lovingly renovating her grandparent's former home, making it their own and learning a lot about life along the way.

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