So you are young and getting ready to make your own home for the first time, whether an apartment or your first house. Of course, you want to decorate to impress as well as to express your taste. You also want to make a welcoming, comfortable place for yourself and your guests. You'd like top of the line furnishings, but they cost so much and you don't want to end up getting into debt. You can buy cheap furniture, but it really doesn't hold up well, and there you are a few years later, buying more, spending more.
If you haven't already thought about it, consider furnishing your home with used items. It may take some time and shopping around, but you will save yourself thousands of dollars in debt. If you look at garage sales, on-line, and in thrift shops, you will find a huge variety of used furniture, decor, and furnishings. Many thrift shops have half-off days, saving you even more. The variety is much greater than shopping for new. You can find vintage furniture that has many years left in it, and will be different than anything in your friend's homes. You can find the priciest furniture and appliances dead cheap.
A woman I know has a very beautiful home, impeccably decorated. It looks like she spent a boat-load of cash on it. Recently I asked her where she bought her beautiful new couch. Well, she told me that she got it, and almost every piece of furniture in her house, for free! She knows the garbage day for every ritzy neighborhood in the area, and drives through regularly. She decorates her own home, gives pieces to family members, and even sells things to make a pretty good nest egg. I loved her enormous, energy efficient refrigerator, and thought I could never afford it. Hah! She bought it from a used appliance dealer and paid $225. She puts the money she saves in the bank and takes some really nice vacations with it.
Her home, my home - decorated from the trash and from thrift shops. The furniture is good and solid, attractive and comfy, and we saved an awful lot of money. If you shop around, check on line, and learn a few garbage routes, you too can save a lot of money.
By Copasetic 1 from North Royalton, OH
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Used hardwood furniture is such a good deal in comparison with most low-cost furniture at places like Target & Ikea that I am amazed that more people don't go for it. After all, furniture that survives beyond being old becomes collectible & eventually antique! Just acquired an $8 side table at an estate sale, sturdy, whole wood = @$100 in Pottery Barn new.
I too have furnished my home with lots of used items but have stopped recently due to the bedbugs scare. This is very real, and once you have them in your home they are very difficult to get rid off. I hope everyone will be very careful about this. They are in homes from all walks of life as you can bring them home in your suitcase after a hotel or hospital stay and have also shut down department stores at times.
The university has a real hard time because as soon as somebody throws furniture out that has a problem somebody else drags it to their dorm.
This is a great post, and really good advice to people setting up, but when I first got married 25 years ago the only way I was going to get any furniture was to be given or buy second hand pieces.
Times have changed and it is not all progress!
I think this idea is really great and I am all for it but everyone truly does need to be aware of the bed bug epidemic. I was just speaking to a dear friend on the phone today who is an avid reader and the librarian at her library was telling her about how the library had to finally tell one person he could no longer check out books. It turns out that the local health department traced down outbreaks to the bed bugs that were being spread came from that persons borrowed books. The library had to destroy all the books he had ever borrowed. :-(
If it's not something you can really thoroughly wash inside and out before bringing in to your home it might be a good idea to not purchase second hand or retrieve from curb side. Even some pest exterminators won't do the job of trying to remove those critters from your home because they can't guarantee they can get rid of them.
Love your article!! My mother used to do this when she was alive and she taught me about thrift, so I have done this for years. I bought a beautiful dining table for $12.00 at a used furniture store. It was very large and heavy, it even came with an extension leaf. The store simply wanted it gone because it was taking up too much room. I had a large dining room and the table fit perfectly.
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