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Old 03-25-2014, 12:29 PM
klou klou is offline
Join Date: Mar 2014
Location: Phoenix
Posts: 3
Where do you buy quality affordable furniture?

This is meant to be a very general question but I feel like its difficult to find middle of the road furniture. If I am looking to buy any type of quality furniture it seems like I would have to spend upwards of several thousand dollars and if I want to buy furniture that is affordable I will probably end up with cheap plywood that easily breaks. Is there any kind of middle ground where I might be able to buy quality furniture which is stable and will last but isn't necessarily intricately designed? What I am looking for is good quality materials and quality construction without all the fancy designs that make it so expensive. I am having a hard time finding anything of this sort.
Old 03-25-2014, 12:37 PM
Colibri Colibri is offline
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Since the OP is looking for advice, let's move this to IMHO.

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Old 03-25-2014, 12:46 PM
Moonlitherial Moonlitherial is offline
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What type of furniture are you looking for (Beds, dressers, living room seating, coffee tables, dining tables, chairs etc) and where are you looking to buy? The answers will vary widely.

I am currently looking for a lot of furniture, we have donated a lot of our older stuff to the kids as they set up their houses so the new house is going to be pretty vacant until we find the things we like.

Ikea can be good for some items, they have some great couches and some very nice solid wood bedroom sets that are much more durable than their standard pressboard options.

We've found a local furniture store that had great prices on the table we wanted but appalling high prices for chairs.

I've been shopping around for a desk for my home office for 5 months and finally found a piece I loved for a reasonable cost online through a shopping club.

So without more details the answer from my experience is shopping around and a huge amount of patience.
Old 03-25-2014, 12:50 PM
Bridget Burke Bridget Burke is offline
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Location: Houston
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Yup, "shopping around" is the answer. Ikea has some stuff that will last. Check out other local stores--bargains might be found. There are always sales.

I'd also suggest second hand furniture. From Goodwill to the higher-end consignment shops, investing time will produce some good values....
Old 03-25-2014, 01:04 PM
Implicit Implicit is offline
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Shop around. There are furniture stores that carry "knock-offs" of the expensive designer furniture made out of solid wood, usually a cheaper variety (birch not maple), but solid wood nonetheless. And don't dismiss IKEA or similar stores, yes they have cheap stuff, but they also carry some higher end solid wood furniture that is reasonably priced.
Old 03-25-2014, 01:12 PM
RickG RickG is offline
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I'll second the recommendation for thrift stores, but try to find ones in higher-income/wealth areas. We have gotten some screaming deals on very high quality pieces at thrift shops here in Boulder, which is no Palo Alto, but is still relatively wealthy.

For new, good quality furniture at mid-range prices, we have gotten stuff at Ethan Allen and Room & Board. We've also found good deals by going to local modern/Scandinavian design places and finding floor models of pieces rotating out of stock--we got a really good purple(!) leather love seat for about $400 that way.
Old 03-25-2014, 01:57 PM
gracer gracer is offline
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Location: UK & Netherlands for now.
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I get most things secondhand online completely FREE! I just find that the qualitatively better things are free. They're from people who were happy with their bookcase for a long time and who are getting a new one and they just want someone to pick up the old one. If you look at things that cost €50-€100, it's all absolute crap: it's all people who are looking to make money off their old rubbish. The people who are just getting something new give their stuff away.

I recently got a lovely farmhouse sink, looks like this. It's huge and perfect, but didn't fit in the kitchen of their new house so they gave it away.

So I just look at the free listings. I'm currently in the Netherlands though, so the specific websites I use won't help the OP.
Old 03-25-2014, 01:58 PM
AuntiePam AuntiePam is offline
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If you're not in a hurry, consider estate sales. True antiques won't be cheap but there will be plenty of solid, high quality furniture. And since many estate buyers are there for the antiques, the newer stuff can sell cheap.
Old 03-25-2014, 02:39 PM
yellowjacketcoder yellowjacketcoder is offline
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Originally Posted by Bridget Burke View Post
Ikea has some stuff that will last.
Seconding IKEA. We just outfitted my kid's entire room with stuff from that place. Sure, if you buy the absolutely crappiest thing there and then abuse it, it will fall apart, but that's true for any furniture. Sure, you have to put it together yourself, but it's not hard and that's the reason it's cheap.

Seriously, if there's an IKEA near you, go to it.
Old 03-25-2014, 02:49 PM
klou klou is offline
Join Date: Mar 2014
Location: Phoenix
Posts: 3

So I have looked at Ikea online and I am not very impressed with a lot of their stuff If I actually go to the store do they have better furniture there? Maybe the stuff online is quality furniture but it all looks thin and flimsy in the pictures.
Old 03-25-2014, 03:01 PM
Celidin Celidin is offline
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Location: NJ
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Originally Posted by klou View Post
it all looks thin and flimsy in the pictures.
I had a similar impression of Ikea - that most of the furniture is crap - because that's their reputation.

Then when my wife and I bought our house, we went looking for some cheaper but decent quality bookshelves, and I found a couple of Ikea's "brands" that were solid wood, not veneer, and held together with real wood screws and pegs-and-glue - not those flimsy things you'd see on pressboard furniture. Impressed me a small bit, let me tell you.

So, yes, Ikea has some crappy furniture barely meant to survive 4 years in a dorm room, but they also have some decent-quality stuff. I'd suggest going to a store and touching-and-feeling their display units, rather than just looking at the pictures, it'll help establish the quality level a lot.
Old 03-25-2014, 03:18 PM
ftg ftg is offline
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For wood furniture I like unfinished stuff and stain it myself. A good gel stain like General Finishes plus proper prep can look really nice.
Old 03-25-2014, 03:30 PM
Macca26 Macca26 is offline
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I've gotten all my quality furniture from estate sales and people giving it away. My mother once got a solid couch and chair set for one dollar at an estate sale because nobody else wanted to buy it (not an antique).
Old 03-25-2014, 05:43 PM
Duke of York Duke of York is offline
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Location: Melbourne, Australia
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Originally Posted by Macca26 View Post
I've gotten all my quality furniture from estate sales and people giving it away. My mother once got a solid couch and chair set for one dollar at an estate sale because nobody else wanted to buy it (not an antique).
The idea of buying used furniture is a brilliant idea. A lot of people are moving into smaller places and sell really good stuff for next to nothing.
Old 03-25-2014, 05:50 PM
ThisUsernameIsForbidden ThisUsernameIsForbidden is offline
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Used. For example, I just bought two task chairs that together cost new around 1400$ We got them for Under 300$ and they were in good condition, barely used. Of course, this was basically a warehouse full of office furniture, not a garage sale.

I also recommend garage sales, and craigslist.

I can think of three things you should never buy new if you can help it, and furniture is one of them. Unless it's a custom piece, but that's another type of product, really.
Old 03-25-2014, 06:01 PM
usedtobe usedtobe is offline
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Posts: 7,411
Furniture rental places have outlets at which they sell the stuff they can no longer profitably rent out.
It may have a -if-you-look-underneath defect or may be a part of a set and the other part was destroyed, out of fashion, etc.

And estate sales are handy - if you have truck and extra hands (though the staff may load it for you). Otherwise, find out how long it can stay where it is.
If you can work with the group, get on their email list for notifications - they send out pics of the stuff. Greatly helps limit the number of sales you attend.
Old 03-25-2014, 06:16 PM
Martian Bigfoot Martian Bigfoot is offline
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As a Scandiwegian, I just want to mention that around here there are a few absolute truths: 2+2=4, the sky is blue, and IKEA is where you go for quality affordable furniture.

(Then you pick up some of those large blue shopping bags and bring them home to use as laundry bags. Scandinavia's number 1 laundry solution! They're unbeatable.)

Last edited by Martian Bigfoot; 03-25-2014 at 06:16 PM.
Old 03-25-2014, 06:17 PM
Thrasymachus Thrasymachus is offline
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Location: Mercer Island, WA
Posts: 195
Ditto on the thrift stores! You can get great stuff for a song - I got a nice couch for $10 and a real wood sewing table for $14.

Also let your friends and friends of friends know that you're looking for furniture - lots of families have an item or two they kinda want to get rid of but haven't yet.

When I got divorced and had to ramp up a new place in a hurry my friends really came through for me - a futon from one guy, coffee maker and mini-fridge from another, etc... I was all set up in a week with no $ out.

Good luck!
Old 03-25-2014, 06:43 PM
SpoilerVirgin SpoilerVirgin is offline
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I've lived in my apartment for 25 years, and almost all of the furniture was purchased used -- some of it for the place I lived in before. In fact, the only pieces that have worn out and been repeatedly replaced are the upholstered ones that I bought new. I don't know if they're still around, but when I first moved into the place before this one, my Dad took me to a store connected with a furniture rental place -- they sold furniture that had previously been rented out. That was in 1985, and I still have and use the dresser, end table and kitchen table that I bought there.

I'm also fortunate to live in a city where people leave perfectly good furniture on the street for scavengers when they move out. I now have two slightly lower quality dressers and a really cool fancy office chair that were scavenged off the street.
Old 03-25-2014, 06:51 PM
Wesley Clark Wesley Clark is offline
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Posts: 19,207
Estate sales and thrift shops in good neighborhoods are your best bet, but with the resurgence of bed bugs I'm wary of buying used furniture anymore.

I have a lot of used furniture, but I got it from households that I knew were bed bug free.
Old 03-25-2014, 07:32 PM
usedtobe usedtobe is offline
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Posts: 7,411
Oh -
Some places use in-place Estate Sales - the stuff is sold out of the house it lived in. In other places (at least used to be (I type that a lot )) auction houses would gather the stuff from multiple houses, bring them together in one large space, and then sell all of it in a single evening. While I lived in Indpls (hell hole), I picked up a cute little vacuum cleaner for $7.50 - I kept it a primary, then secondary for over 20 years. A nice sofa was $22.00.
The big advantage to thse places is they are in the business of moving stuff, and offer cheap delivery.
Old 03-26-2014, 05:05 AM
sandra_nz sandra_nz is offline
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Location: Cheshire, UK (since 2006)
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Has anyone mentioned IKEA yet?

I go for the solid wood options, e.g. the Hemnes bookcase instead of the more popular Billy bookcase.

That said, we own two Malm bed frames which are particle board, but they have both served us well for over five years and still look like new.
Old 03-26-2014, 06:02 PM
usedtobe usedtobe is offline
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Posts: 7,411
For some, "good furniture" does not require assembly, and, when wood is called for, expect hardwood (hickory is always good - why so much furniture comes/came from the Carolinas).

But, since the trend is to flat-pack:
If you get real wood - even softwood - and use glue (white Elmers will work; yellow carpenter's is preferred), you can get a sturdy product - the glue attaches to fibers which run throughout the board.
Particle board cannot be (meaningfully) glued - the glue will stick to the nearest particle - not the board.
I have a flat-pack desk from a real office supply store in 1982 - it is 4x the quality of the stuff in the discount stores, even though the top is particle - the drawers are rel wood, and the slides are metal and on the sides, not the cheap-ass bottom runners.
Yes, the real office supply store was run out of business by Office Depot.

Gresham's Law. Gresham never knew how universal his observation was.

Fark had a list months back of "10 Things to Never Buy New" - and you'd better believe Ikea was on it - between students selling off stuff at end of year and plain old "got a raise", the re-sell value of the stuff is near 0.
Old 03-26-2014, 06:42 PM
carnut carnut is offline
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Location: State of Hockey
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Craigslist is great, so are thrift stores. I suggest you look for the odd thrift stores, I've had better luck at a local Christian thrift store than at a chain thrift like Goodwill or Savers. You might find something in Etsy, but try to buy local. Another idea is to check with your state's prison system. Some states have a furniture or cabinetry training program for prisoners and you can get some lovely stuff from them for reasonable prices.
Old 03-26-2014, 07:51 PM
Melchior Melchior is offline
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Resale and antique shops often have good stuff.
Old 03-26-2014, 09:37 PM
Dangerosa Dangerosa is offline
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We did an IKEA Hemnes bedroom set for my daughter - she's fourteen and won't need it forever.

It won't be an heirloom, but its going to last a LOT longer than she needs it. Its very sturdy.

My own bedroom set is Ethan Allen. Its nice, its held up well.

Couches we abuse around here - buy 'em cheap abuse the hell out of them, replace them in six years.
One day, in Teletubbie land, it was Tinkie Winkie's turn to wear the skirt.
Old 03-26-2014, 11:52 PM
Little_Pig Little_Pig is offline
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Originally Posted by AuntiePam View Post
If you're not in a hurry, consider estate sales. True antiques won't be cheap but there will be plenty of solid, high quality furniture. And since many estate buyers are there for the antiques, the newer stuff can sell cheap.
I usually get better deals when shopping at divorce sales. Things are really priced to move.


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