Furnish your new home without breaking the bank

Jeff Peterson
Jeff Peterson
Published on April 18, 2018
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Walking into your new home for the first time may be a bit jolting. Unless it was vacant when you purchased it, the home will look completely different.

The walls will be empty, the floors exposed from corner-to-corner and the prospect of filling all that space may be overwhelming.

It’s also exciting. Finally, there’s no landlord to dictate wall color and you can furnish the home with whatever you want and can afford.

Ah, therein lies the rub, right? Affordability. After all, you’ve just shelled out a huge chunk of money to the lender, for the down payment and closing costs. If you’re like many homebuyers, there’s not much cash or credit left to do the things you want to furnish your new home.

This is where you can get creative, and I have some tips for you to get started.

Make a plan

We all know what happens when we go grocery shopping without a list. We impulse shop, right? Don’t let this happen to you when shopping to furnish your new home.

Go through each room in the house, making notes of your vision to furnish each room and what you’ll need to purchase, to bring the vision to life.

If you just can’t picture how you want to furnish a room, consider visiting a few new-home models for ideas. From wall colors to accessories, you can also find tips online at pinterest.com, realsimple.com and bhg.com. 

Shop “used” first

Before shelling out the big bucks for new furniture, consider shopping for used first. It’s the best way to find affordable yet quality furniture.

It’s important, however, to be able to look beyond condition to the “bones” of each piece.

If you like the style of a coffee table or chair, try to overlook the cosmetic, easily-fixed problems.

So, where to shop for these cheap wonders of the decorating world? Read on…

Garage/Estate Sales

No, they aren’t the same thing. Garage sales are the sale of a person’s or family’s “stuff.”

An estate sale is typically a bit more high-end and is used to dispose of a deceased person’s belongings.

Both types of sales, however, offer a variety of items priced less than you’d find at a retail outlet.

Items for sale at estate sales are typically in better condition, so expect to pay a bit more than you would for a similar item at a garage sale.

Don’t forget to take into account any additional costs for transporting your purchases home.

Find garage and estate sales in your area on craigslist.org, estatesales.net and estatesale.com.

Consignment Stores

The consignment store owner is the “middle man (or woman)” between the customer and the for-sale-by-owner. You’ll find higher prices here than you will at thrift stores and garage/estate sales, but most of the items have been well cared-for.

Thrift Stores

Most larger towns and cities have at least one thrift store, such as Deseret Industries, Habitat for Humanity’s ReStore, Goodwill, the Salvation Army and privately-owned thrift stores. Here, you’ll find items to furnish your house as well as accessories at deep discounts.

The tradeoff is condition – much of what you’ll find has seen better days.

Again, try to look beyond cosmetic issues to determine if an item is salvageable with new upholstery, paint or stain.

Online Shopping

Craigslist’s popularity depends on where in the U.S. you live. In some areas, it’s the go-to website when folks want to buy or sell something. With the addition of OfferUp, you can find items to furnish your home and décor bargains, without leaving your living room.

On Craigslist, you’ll find a rather extensive section under “For Sale.” A few years ago, the site started allowing retail stores to offer items, but you are given the ability to exclude those listings, which is ideal when you’re seeking bargains.

Etsy is a fun place to shop for smaller items with shipping charges that won’t break the bank.

You might also consider shopping on eBay, although the shipping charges for large items may make them less of a bargain than you had hoped.

Get around this problem by using the “Delivery Options” link on the left-side navigation menu and ticking the box next to “Free Shipping.”

Or, to find items to furnish your home, search eBay locally. In the same, left-side navigation menu, you’ll find “Item Location,” where you can search only for items located within a specified distance from a ZIP code.

Shopping smart can help you add dramatic changes to your new home when you want to furnish it, without spending a fortune.

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