What is good middle ground furniture?

Sauder is gneally crap, but a bookshelf runs about 50 bucks. Thomasville is really nice, but a bookshelf runs about 900 bucks. What is an in between line, where bookselves and Bureaus run from 150 to 300? As a second question, Is it reasonable to expect this middle of the line stuff to be made of solid pieces of wood instead of glue, sawdust, and artful cardboard. I can even assemble if need be. Any and all direction would be appreciated.

I get most of my stuff from consignment stores now. There is a great used furniture shop near me that I walk through 2-3 times per year. I picked up a solid wood dining room table for $200 delivered. There will be some nicks and dings, but with two kids anything I buy will get even MORE nicks and dings, so I don’t care.

The thread title makes me think of Tolkienesqe type furniture that Hobbit’s might have.

I’ve been pretty impressed with IKEA for inexpensive but decent quality stuff. You do have to assemble and it is made up of floor sweepin’s, but it’s solid.

Sometimes it’s solid, sometimes it’s crap.

I don’t have a suggestion for the OP either, but I will be very interested to hear if anyone else does. I would love to find, for example, a boutique-y designer showroom that wasn’t relentlessly too modern for my taste, as they tend to carry different price levels of furniture. I’m not seeing any, though.

Assuming you’re in the United States, I’ve had pretty good luck with furniture from Furniture Row; particularly Oak Express. Last time I shopped there, the hardwood furniture (tables, desks, etc) was made in the United States, decently built, and reasonably priced.

Many cities in the US had a furniture store or two specializing in Amish-made furniture. You might want to have a look to see what’s out there. Independent furniture stores also tend to have middle-end to upper-middle end brands, with more pieces made in the US.

If you’ve got hipsters aplenty in your town, you’re going to have West Elm. Pricing is in the middle-end to upper-middle end range.

Art Van has clearance stores, it’s hit-or-miss but the prices arereally good.

When we were first married, my husband bought most of our furniture at auction or estate sales. Many years later I discovered that he has a very good eye. He discovered that I know how to refinish/repair furniture. We got some heirloom quality furniture quite cheaply. But you have to have the time and the inclination.

Another vote for ikea - good definition of middle ground furniture IMO. It’s always well designed visually, but can be a bit hit and miss quality-wise. Anything involving a drawer is dodgy IME - something like a bureau for clothes with big drawers would be the worst.

I’ve had a couple of great kitchens from IKEA, tables, chairs, shelves, wardrobes etc all good. It’s obviously not high end furniture that you’re going to be passing on to your kids, but it’s great for what it is.

Agreed that Ikea is hit-or-miss for quality. If you actually want to use the furniture (dresser, bed, etc) then I’d stay away from Ikea. If it’s just going to sit there, as would a book shelf, you’ll probably be fine. Are you looking for a bookshelf specifically, or middle ground furniture in general?

Thanks for the replies thus far. I am looking for kids furniture, so pretty much the standard bureau, bed, bookshelf, and nightstand. I am guessing Craig’s List is probably going to be my best friend. Ikea does look nice, but I have run into the dodgy drawers.

There may be some mixing and matching in my future.

For bookshelves and desks, I’m a big fan of Bush Furniture. It’s your typical generic fiberboard office stuff, but very solid and always well constructed.

How are you with refinishing?

My mother has tons of stuff bought at antique stores - not real antiques, just old stuff that’s never going to be valuable. She refinished it and it looks terrific, and unique. If you’re lucky, you can find sets of stuff, too.

ETA: The hardware can also usually be cleaned up, but if you hate it or it’s missing/beyone repair, inexpensive new hardware is fairly easy to find

Craigslist, man! Sometimes you have to spend a little bit of time perusing, but you can get some crazy good deals amidst the junk. If you’re willing to check every day for a few weeks, I promise you’ll find everything you need- and cheap to boot! Sometimes you have to be creative, but not always.

I got a giant leather sectional off of CL, 4 months old (I have the papers) and $3000 brand new---- $600 because a doctor suddenly had to move. I couldn’t have even bought one of those crappy, super low end couches for that much.

Needed a TV stand, but good GOD- TV stands are insanely expensive (really? $300+, really?)- I ended up getting a super solid, old, low dresser for $50 on Cl that was in great shape. I took out the middle drawer and converted it into a shelf (dvd player, cable box, etc). Voila! Much more sturdy than any of the tv stands I was checking out.

What else? Oh! Kitchen table. I got a table with 5 chairs and an extender leaf- solid oak, neat sort of swirly and unique design on the legs- for $60 delivered. The prior owners had tried to (poorly) paint it black, so there were all kinds of spots and ugly all over. I just bought 4 cans of spray paint (bronze, hammered metal finish) and spent a half an hour painting it. Good as new!
Antique stores are a great bet, too. I was also in the market for a coffee table, but JFC, those are expensive, too. While in Vegas, I stopped at an antique store where I picked up a giant trunk style coffee table, two matching end tables, and a sofa table for $70. A whole matching set- very cool!

If there are any Danish or Scandinavian furniture stores in your area, check them out. Sometimes, like IKEA, the stuff is knock-down, but it looks pretty good. Price is usually moderate between the cheapo and expensive stuff.

I went through the usual progression of furniture-- hand-me downs out of college, Ikea in my 20s, starting to get nicer stuff in my 30s (Pottery Barn, Crate & Barrel, etc.). I don’t make enough money for the really fancy stuff-- I love Ethan Allen, but ouch.

As mentioned, Ikea can be hit or miss. I’ve got a few solid pieces from them that I’ve had going on a decade and don’t think I’ll ever get rid of them. Others fell apart in a year or two. Like all things, it’s best to shop in the store-- even if you later buy it online, at least you’ve banged it around a bit to see how sturdy the thing is IRL.

I’ve had luck recently with purchases from Value City Furniture, but some of their stuff can be cheeeeeeeeap. If you’re in the American east/southeast, Roomstore is nice as well-- I just bought a bedroom set there this past weekend that is VERY solid, and comes in a bit cheaper than Thomasville.

However, I really do have to vote for Craigslist. Some things I won’t buy secondhand-- I like new beds, thank you-- but a bookshelf? Should be easy to find a good one cheap on CL.

Edit: Oh, I forgot-- the best bookshelves I own all came from World Market furniture. GREAT stuff for a good price, solid wood.

Thanks all. It looks like not new is probably the best direction for getting decent quality at decent prices. I think I am going the secondhand store route, as there seem to be a couple good options not so far away. (except for bookshelves, where the very close world market will be perfect) . Craigslist is good, but somewhat time intensive. Refinishing furniture is not a gift I have. Value city has some ok stuff, but a lot of the time it is held together with staples and hope. My children have already shown a gift for tearing that type of construction apart.

What I found really interesting in my search was how many furniture stores that sell new stuff sell the paper, veneer and glue conglomerations at nice stuff prices. If your furniture can make a fat guy into hercules (look, I am holding a dresser in one hand. And flossing with the other.) it probably should be sell for under five bills.

You give absolutely no indication of where you live.
We could probably make better recommendations if we knew that.

I do have to say, World Market is solid. As in too heavy to lift and put together with real bolts, sometimes.

The trick with IKEA is to use wood glue as you are assembiling it. If you just screw it together (with those damn little allen wrenches!) it’ll fall apart in a few years. If you use wood glue in addition to the hardware they provide, it’ll stay solid for decades.

I also like JC Penney, for middle-of-the road, decently styled furniture.