|WHERE TO FIND AFFORDABLE FURNITURE|
As much as I extol the virtues of recycling used furniture to keep decorating costs down, I must admit, some pieces are best purchased new, such as mattresses. It's also wise to purchase new (or relatively new) baby cribs and other children's furniture, to assure they meet current safety standards.
I confess, I searched for a previously owned sofa for years until finally giving up and purchasing a new one. In addition, many budget decorators just love the look and feel of new furniture, and we should all have things that we love in our homes. But you may be asking, "If I have a very limited budget, will I ever get new furniture? Am I destined to live with my parents' hand-me-downs forever?" Of course not! There's plenty of affordable new furniture out there. You just have to know where to look. Some of the best places to look include the following:
Outlet centers. I had a burning desire for a sofa from Storehouse Furniture that went unfilled for years due to my limited budgetthat is, until I located their outlet center in a town nearby. There, in the clearance room, I located a large, comfortable sofa in the perfect color, discounted substantially because of a small defect on the back. (I never even fixed it because the defect is up against the wall!) So if you find something you love at a furniture store but it's out of your price range, don't give up just yet. Check your local telephone directory, check the Internet, and ask around. You might just find an outlet store near you with the very same piece for less, or you may be able to buy the piece directly from the manufacturer.
Warehouse stores. If you only head to Costco and Sam's Club for groceries, you might be missing out! Membership-required warehouse stores often carry some furniture and home accessories, often at big discounts over retail stores. The drawback: If you love it, be prepared to buy it immediately. Once they run out, they might never get it back in stock again.
Furniture stores. Of course, it's logical that you would try shopping for new furniture at furniture stores. But what I want to offer is some "hows" of furniture store shopping. First, make sure you know when the sales hit. Often, salespeople can tell you when their store traditionally holds sales and what types of items are usually marked down. Obviously, the best time to shop for bargains is when these stores have tent sales and other specials. But all sales may not be advertised, so be sure to ask to be put on a store's mailing list if you're in the market for more new furniture. Also check your Sunday paper for stores that are going out of business or moving. And no matter where you shop for new furniture, always try to bargain, at least a little. I never knew this could be done until I watched my husband bargain $50 off a sofa that was already on sale at a store that's part of a well-known, national chain.
Unfinished-wood stores. It might sound like too much trouble. But then again, it's a good way to end up with furniture with the exact paint color or stain you want. Another great thing about unfinished furniture stores is that many will do custom pieces for you at no extra cost, so you can get precisely what you want at a decent price.
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