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Used mattresses and upholstered furniture are a plain and simple possible serious health hazard, not to mention creepy sounding, so it's best to avoid them. Not only can mattresses secretly be carrying bed bugs and lice but you also really have no idea what bodily fluids might be in or on them or whether or not those fluids came from someone who has a communicable disease.
No matter which upholstered item it might be, such as sofa, chair, or even an ottoman, they too carry the risks mentioned regarding mattresses but also the risk of critters such as cockroaches and fleas or even mice secretly dwelling inside. It's also possible that a temporary remedy to mask the odors of pets, urine or vomit has been used and in a short time you're going to regret the smell that will inevitably show up because those fluids seep down inside and are nearly impossible to remove.
Besides the above mentioned concerns it's more than likely that the mattress is too worn to give your body the sleep support it needs and that the sofa or chair are simply too used to truly be comfortable.
By Deeli from Richland, WA
We all know buying furniture at Goodwill or any thrift store will save us money. Not everyone has the time to find these precious few pieces. I watch so many shows on decorating, then put my twist on it. What I have found is you can take anything, even a old dresser you're not using, and put it in the kitchen (for linens) or add it to the living room to hold DVD's, other games, and things that need a home. Gives it a whole new look.
Night stands in the bathroom also work well and look great. They serve a purpose and are easy to find without investing too much money. So, always think outside the box, that is what makes your home yours.
The cheaper furniture, like from IKEA or Big Lots, can be beautiful with a little work. You can spray paint to change color, add fabric to door panels, or the change the hardware. You also can create an expensive look by changing the hardware.
Go online or to the library and look at how trimming the doors on a cabinet gives you a totally new piece. Think how you can take something you may not need in bedroom and use it in another way. Personally I don't like the "show room" look - make it yours. You'll have one of a kind furniture without the one of a kind price.
If you have, or find, left over nursery furniture it can be changed to fit elsewhere in your home. A changing table makes a wonderful side table or even a bar with a little work and imagination. That one table you have to hold a lamp in small child's room is one thing you shouldn't pass up. Take it and change the color. If it has hardware, change that. What a great addition to the bathroom!
Always look in the back of stores like Ross, TJ Maxx, and Kohls. My friends, great finds are hiding there at super great prices. In big box stores, usually these items are in the middle of the store. Check furniture stores when they sell what have been floor displays. All of this is brand new furniture, quite often name brand at marked way down prices.Hotels and motels have auctions when they redecorate. You can get beds, dressers, and night stands for little investment. Some even have desks. So make sure you do not make fast purchase. Saving money is so much joy. With a little work you have your own one of a kind look.
I got these ideas by reading magazines, shopping at thrift stores, and I love decorating shows. This is how I have redone my whole apartment. I get compliments always, with nobody knowing it was used, found, or refinished.
By Luana M. from San Diego, CA
Do you live in an apartment complex or close knit neighborhood? Start a barter bulletin board in a clubhouse or pass flyers or newsletter in the neighborhood. Times are hard and someone might have something you need in exchange for something they need.
Maybe you need a mattress and someone else needs a dresser, or a single guy would like a home cooked meal in exchange for changing the oil in your car; laundry in exchange for yard work. So many things like babysitting exchanges, car pooling exchanges, exchange rental movies for a night. Just put your mind to it and you will come up with something you can get for nearly free or the cost of your labor. Good luck!
By Tracey from Thomasville, GA
Moving again and I find myself touching up the finishes of our furniture pieces. Because they are old solid hardwoods, a bit of fine sandpaper and some furniture polish/oil touches up the nicks nicely. I think to myself that folks pay oodles for "distressed" pine from Ireland and elsewhere - whereas I have my own version! Think of that when acquiring furniture! Old solid wood pieces (out of oak, maple, pine, beech, walnut etc.) wear much better than modern veneers/laminates (which are very difficult to refinish) and are at about the same price or less!
I have gone garage saling for many years, but recently two other friends and I often go together. We give each other advice on items the other one is looking to buy and ideas about how to use different items that can be re-purposed. We have so much fun and it is a great way to spend a Saturday morning and sometimes the afternoons!
A few of my friends even swap furniture with me and each other. Sometimes we sell the item cheap (between our own sales) and sometimes we just swap pieces that we each need. It is a great way to change the look of your home and still know that you're not picking up any bedbugs or other unwanted pests.
As our life style changes, we move to different homes or as our parents move in and our children move out, swapping furniture is a great way to maintain a sense of creativity without spending much money. One word of caution, you should be clear about the permanency of the pieces and the alterations the new owner/borrower can make with each swap.
I also have gotten pieces from friends and relatives that they just wanted removed. Often times I will refinish or paint the item, add new fabric or hardware, even cushions. After I've used it for a few years, I may find something else to fill the purpose better and I re-sell it at my own sale. Much of the time I have made a bit of money on the item when I do sell it.
Swapping or buying at garage sales allows me to pick up a piece that I need to purchase new more easily and faster than if I bought everything as a new purchase. I also don't feel badly if a garage sale item I've re-done, gets ruined or replaced. I have to say my customers love my garage sales and often give me their names and numbers to call next time I have a sale. I usually get close to my asking prices and sell larger items fairly soon in the sale.
Using these simple and fun ways to shop will not only save you money, but you will have a lot more places to shop (like at your girl friends' homes, lol). Scheduling your garage saling with friends is also a cheap way to spend a day with your friends. Have fun!
By Susan from Elkhart, IN
One way to save money on furniture and such, is to go dumpster shopping. It's not as bad as it sounds. In spring, many university students are moving out of their apartments.
It's great to have useful, durable and attractive furniture but even low quality furniture can be expensive. Here are some tips for saving money on furniture.
Is your entertainment center too small for your new BIG TV - recycle it to your computer room. Makes a great place for storing all those computer CDs, supplies, FAX, printer, etc. Keeps everything neat and organized.
When you are out just about anywhere, keep your eye out for signs posted items for sale by grocery stores, restaurants, retail stores. As many places remodel, they put the old fixtures up for sale.
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Frugal furniture tips and ideas. Post your ideas!
I always hit the local thrift shops and focus more on the shape and style of a piece then the color or condition. I can paint and hammer a nail so I'm good. If I find something that fits my home I bring it back and paint and distress it, upholster it or whatever treatment I feel suits it as long as the lines are the same as the rest of the furniture in the room.
I have found really great furniture at the local Good Will Store. People donate when they are tired of a certain set of furniture. And I always spend within my budget.
The wood of this was very ornate which was what attracted me to the chair in the first place and looked weathered by the sun, so I didn't need to strip any finish off of it. I got some Old English from my mom and slathered it on and it looks beautiful!
To get the polish down in the cracks I dampened string with Old English and worked it down in the crevices where the rag failed to go.I think it's what some people call a Captains chair - the end chairs of the dining room set that have arms on it.
The 2nd chair was pretty much a BREEZE. The seat had scratched torn black leather and one part of the ladder back was broken, so I got it sawed off even with the other one and glued wooden drawer knobs on.
Those I later painted with a rose textured spray. The rest of the chair with the ornate spindles I painted a softer pink. I replaced the seat cover with a piece of upholstery swatch that was rosy and finished the edges with a 1/2" green velvet ribbon that I secured with upholstery tacks This chair had some bentwood which was screwed to the seat and the back. I hid the screws with white silk ribbon roses from the craft dept. that I easily glued in place.
I had no real reason to have these chairs at the time except for the actual project of doing them. I now use the cherry chair in my front room (which I would LOVE for you to see. I have it in an outdoor theme with a deep green paint on walls and a cabinet and black painted limbs from out at the nature reserve near here. 2 of them I painted black and cemented in green pots from the dollar store. I had one hanging from the ceiling that had a little birdhouse chimes hanging off of it.
The other chair is now at my sisters. When she saw it she LOVED it so because it was almost her birthday I gave it to her. She said at first how cute it would look at her vanity. I haven't been to her house to see it but I bet it does look good.
I have seen those giant fiber-optic cable reels used as tables and a sheet of plywood with two sawhorses used as a table or computer desk. You can also use two stacks of cinder blocks with boards between them as a bookshelf of sorts.
I have been known to use large sturdy boxes with a length of fabric (or sheet or whatever) thrown over them for a decorator table in a pinch. I covered the front by setting plants on the floor and just used it to display a bouquet or something until I got a real table.
Years ago I bought two antique trunks that had been painted black for $20. I have used them ever since as coffee tables/hidden storage. They work with everything and can be used as much more than just tables. I use folding tables from Wal-Mart for our extra T.V./VCR in a spare room and another one to hold my serger in my sewing room. They work well for lightweight stuff, I paid about $30 apiece for them. They last for years.
Another thing you might try is tell ALL your friends and coworkers you are looking for furniture cast-offs. I did that a few years back and found a coworker who was about to haul to the dump two antique chests of drawers and two antique nightstands! She was clearing out her mother-in-law's estate and didn't need them and just didn't know what else to do with them. And one other time about fifteen years ago, I saw an old wooden dinette set outside the back door of a neighbor's house. I watched for several days and it was never moved. Finally, my husband walked over and asked the man who lived there if we could have it. Turns out he was going to haul it off. We redid it and found out in the process it was an antique Duncan-Phyfe table with lion's claw feet and the chairs were Duncan-Phyfe Rose Back Chairs. :)
In my family, we just care for and look after what we have and buy only when it cannot be avoided. In other words, we make do. Most of the furniture in my home is now used by the fourth generation! We also appreciate what we have so there's no need to replace.
We keep our ears open for people moving (we were blessed to buy a solid wood entertainment center and 27" tv and dvd player for 300 after a fire!) We also do trading, either services or goods. A lot of the furniture we have is from clearance at furniture stores, or were dings or on display. But once we buy, we keep it for as long as we can. Even the Walmart stuff! I have sterlite containers I use for bedside tables, and an old trunk I use for an extra seat in the living room. I like to use milk crates as "decorator" tables, or under them, for the storage capabilities. If it can not serve that purpose, I don't want it in my house!