My top two strategies for choosing thrifty furniture

Its no secret that I take a lot of pride in decorating my home. From the furniture in the rooms to the art on the walls, I have always worked hard to keep my house functional and stylish, which can sometimes be challenging on a small budget.

Since the hubs and I were married 14 years ago, we’ve moved eight times – and that’s not counting smaller, temporary-duty military assignments. I’m sure many of you who have moved a lot can relate to the fact that furniture that looks great and fits well into one home may not work as well in the next one.

Over the years, I’ve had to get really smart and creative with how I decorate, particularly regarding my furniture choices. As a result, I’ve discovered a formula for success that has served me – and our bank account – very well.

These days, any piece of furniture I’ve got my eye on must have two main attributes before I even consider buying it:

  1. Affordability
  2. Versatility

1. Affordability

Obviously, the price of a piece of furniture makes all the difference for someone like me who is trying to “live rich on less.” With two messy and sometimes destructive small children, it doesn’t make sense to buy expensive, heirloom furniture at this point in my life, even if I could afford it.

When I begin the hunt, I often start at thrift stores and auctions in search of bargain-priced, high-quality used pieces. But I don’t always find what I’m looking for in these places. So, from there, I’ll head to the Internet to find new, ready-to-assemble furniture that will fit the bill – and my budget.

For example, I recently snagged a tall bookshelf (in the driftwood finish that’s popular right now) from Sauder® furniture. This particular bookshelf retails for $209.99. It’s priced lower than others of its size because it’s made from engineered wood and comes to my door requiring some assembly. I don’t mind some minor assembly, though, if it means saving major bucks. 😉 This is the bookshelf straight out of the box:

I love the beefiness of the molding.

The instructions for this piece were simple to follow and in plain English, which is important for an easily confused DIYer like me. Even this guy was able to get in on the action:

Although I didn’t need to use it, customer service out of Ohio was available to call or live chat if I got stumped at some point. I think it took about an hour and a half to put the whole thing together and a few basic tools (a screwdriver and hammer) … proof that DIYing doesn’t always require blood, sweat or tears. 🙂

Also, just because a piece is uber-affordable doesn’t mean it lacks style. Sauder’s website has the latest in furniture trends, including an Expedition Design tool, where you can find inspiration from pros who have curated pieces based on featured styles.

2. Versatility

The second attribute all furniture in my home must have is versatility. I try to make sure a piece can serve in at least two different capacities – three is even better.

I’ve even gone so far as to keep the furniture finishes/styles the same in several different rooms in my home. This way, as our family’s needs change, we can swap pieces such as dressers, nightstands, etc., from one room to another without sacrificing the style of a space or needing to replace an entire set. I can’t tell you how many times this trick has paid off for me!

Having furniture that can do double – or even triple – duty is one surefire way to keep your budget in check and extend the useful life of your stuff.

The tall bookshelf I ordered from Sauder®​ is currently in our living room, holding a few books and decorations.

But this piece can also serve in multiple other ways. It can display our china and serving dishes, since it stands in the transition area between our living room and breakfast area. And it can be transferred to our office/bonus room to hold our books and office supplies.

To give you another example of versatile furniture in our home, I recently got an upholstered storage ottoman from Sauder®, which retails for $29.99.

The only assembly required was to unfold it and pop in the bottom piece. I can use this ottoman for extra seating for kids as well as storage for our music books.

In addition, it can house our son’s car collection.

Affordability and versatility … my two thrifty requirements when purchasing furniture – and nearly every decoration – for my home.

Do you have any thrifty decorating or furniture buying tricks up your sleeve?

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Sauder. The opinions and text are all mine.

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6 Responses

  1. Dawn Rene says:

    I think most blog followers in this genre of blogs are thrift store, resale shop, garage sale people. I particularly like Craigslist. The pricing is typically negotiable and if you follow something and no one has purchased within a week, you can really offer a lower price. Most people just want to be able to get rid of the item. One woman’s “I don’t need this anymore because it doesn’t fit in my new home” is another woman’s treasure! And if it did get sold, then the hunt (the fun part) is still on!

    • Susan says:

      Ooh. I need to hit up Craiglist more often. I keep forgetting that it’s an option and I’ve heard of some really great steals being nabbed from there.

  2. Wait — how did I accidentally comment above? Ack! Anyway, nice bookshelf!

    I agree with Dawn about thrift stores and garage sales. I love the hunt of finding a good deal and refinishing a piece. In fact, I just painted and stenciled an end table that I got at a garage sale for $5. It turned out wonderfully! (I’m doing a DIY week on my blog next week… it’ll be one of the featured projects!)

    • Susan says:

      Ooh … I will definitely be checking out your blog next week to see all the wonderful DIY business you’ve got going on. Thanks for stopping by! I hope all is well in your neck of the woods. 😉

  3. gail says:

    great looking book shelf! Sauder furniture has come a long way!


  1. May 5, 2015

    […] looking for a table to serve as our little guy’s “work station,” I employed my two thrifty commandments for choosing furniture, which you can find […]

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