The dumpster. But seriously, I don’t think I have ever bought any furniture other than my bed, I have just accumulated a whole house full of furniture due to roommates upgrading or moving cross country
Depends on what part of the house, but estate sales, craigslist and thrift stores are go-tos. It used to be the City’s surplus property auction, as you could get somewhat worn commercial quality heavy duty furniture for pennies on the dollar. Steel framed sofas for $5, desks and file cabinets $5-10, a pallet of 20 stacking chairs for $10, a solid oak library card catalog for $20. But the City now goes through an online aggregator and resale outfits all over the country bid, so the deals are gone.
@Darrell2 I disagree. At the price-points they sell things, their quality is very high compared to similarly-priced stuff elsewhere.
Our sofa is from Ikea. We bought it in 2010, and it has been through five moves. It breaks down so far I can take the whole thing apart and carry the pieces around myself, through doors and up and down stairs. And it uses a sofa cover by design. We’re about to just buy a new cover for it since the original is now badly stained.
@Limewater I would agree with you. I really like their poem chairs and their newer version of them. There is stuff there that I don’t like, but just about all of it is better than the crap you can buy at Walmart and frequently the price is similar. Not where I’d go to buy high quality furniture, but useful if you are on a budget or have kids who will wreck the stuff anyway. The solid wood stuff (not all of it is, but much of it is) holds up better than the particle board stuff. Just about all the Walmart stuff and much of the Target stuff is all or partly particle board. Yes Ikea has some too but a lot of it isn’t.
What I have bought there:
bunk beds where it is actually a platform bed with a matching bed that fits under and so looks like a bunk bed but isn’t as you can pull that bottom one out. Survived 12 years with my kid and was still as good as new.
Poem chair and a second one (Poang chair) that was their “upgrade to that”.Still in use, 20+ years later (with newer cushions - I bought extra originally and put them aside incase the chair, and thus the cushions, were discontinued).
And the IVAR shelves (actually side units, shelves and held in place by almost no screws and little pegs (with plenty of holes) for shelf height. You can string them together if you want. Solid pine, would look better painted but I never got around to it. I have used them in the attic, office, bedroom, garage, basement depending on needs and where I lived.
PS I also have bought some cheap knives that are definitely better than the cheap ones at walmart and target, kids’ plastic drinking glasses that survived all sorts of abuse, some of their sheet sets are pretty cool - not high thread count but they are ok, their quilts with quilt covers are a very good value for the money and they drape well, wash well. Bought a few other odds and ends over the years that are cool. Oh and their cheapo art work can be much more interesting than what is carried by the cheapo stores.
@kittykat9180 I’m sure your classy, quality pieces will only grow classier and as your children scribble on them with sharpies, stab them with forks, puke all over them, etc.
Sometimes there are reasons to buy furniture you won’t mind seeing ruined.
My house is in a college student neighborhood. End of the semester, they throw some great stuff away, including furniture in pretty good shape. (Apparently they don’t major in real-world economics. You can also tell that from all the $2+ drink cups I pick up out of the yard.)
@phendrick lol I’m in the same boat, college town also. They do like wasting Mommy and Daddy’s money on furniture. I’ve gotten quite a few metal racks from the curb around here along with various things lol.
@dannybeans@reg036 I also feel like a vulture at some of them. However I’ve discovered that quite a few of them aren’t really estate sales. There are a couple of companies that cut deals with local real estate agencies, take a gorgeous giant house that’s for sale and stage it with upscale new furnishings they get from mysterious sources. The furnishings sell for 50-75% of retail. I love going to these just to explore these near million dollar homes, but much of the furniture is great deals. I almost bought a top grain leather sofa, love seat and chair set for $1,200, but finally passed as I didn’t like the color. Still kind of regret letting it go.
Thrift store, yard sale, Habitat ReStore, or Craigslist for soft stuff. We have too many . . . let’s say “challenged” cats to spend a lot of money on furniture that’s only going to last a year or so.
For hard stuff - bookshelves, bar, coffee table, that sort of thing - either the above or I build it myself.
Our current living room couch has an interesting history. It used to belong to the drama club my wife and I were part of in high school. The earliest pictures of us together are cast photos, and most of them involve that couch in some way. A friend of mine bought it when the club decided to auction off its old stuff about ten years ago, and when her mom told her to get the damn thing out of her basement, it came to live with me. So the last time a couch became irrevocably bepissed, I remembered I had it in storage and dragged it out.
We’re okay with its inevitable destruction, though I did Scotchguard the everloving hell out of it before it came into the house. It’s got three generations of teenager ass on it already, and ten years in a storage unit didn’t do it much good either. And we weren’t dating in high school, so it doesn’t have any romantic value for us.
We live about ten minutes away from a small town whose primary industry is antique stores. Seriously, there are something like 12 stores in a town of less than 1500 residents. And it’s great, because a couple of them are really closer to high-end thrift stores, so their stuff tends to be in the sweet spot between quality, uniqueness, and price. Our best find was an old restaurant booth we got for $35. It’s our kitchen table now.
@dannybeans Yeah the store where I lived some years ago in Oklahoma was like the high end thrift stores and had cool, cheap stuff that sort of qualified as antiques but not quite. The hollywood tornado movie where house tore apart white they were driving down the road was all furnished from that store. I was sad as they destroyed (in the movie) one piece of furniture I had been saving to buy but they beat me to it.
Thrift stores tend to have older furniture, which hold up really well (insert disclaimer about survivor bias). A lot of the lower to mid end furniture manufactured today will break after a few years of use, whereas that set of chairs from the 1960s still has more life in it. Might have something to do with being made of solid wood and screws instead of glued together sawdust.
If I need something, I like to look at thrift stores first. Failing that, Ikea. If it’s not going to last, at least it’ll be cheap. Plus I like the way a lot of Ikea stuff is designed, especially the kid’s stuff.
I’m in the process of furnishing a new house. When I was younger I went to a lot of places mentioned but not in a long time. I did get a couple of odd pieces from Wayfair and Hayneedle but the rest is from a furniture store and for what I’m paying, it should last at least as long as I do. I’m guessing this may be my final house so I’m doing it up good.
Small town USA, we buy from garage sales here. When it’s really in bad shape, it either goes to a party house full of boys who should have grown up by now, or else it goes to smoker’s houses. Once it enters either of those… it’s usually destined for the burn pile. (Yeah, we burn anything out here…)
@kittykat9180 I would agree with you on some things being cheap garbage. At the same time though their kitchen cabinets are fabulous for the price, and highly rated by consumer reports year after year. Also their bookcases are substantially better than any Stauder furniture.
As many of you know, this is pretty fresh in my mind, since I moved into my first Real Solo Apartment eight months ago.
I bought my furniture new, because I don’t have a car to transport furniture in and live alone up three flights of stairs. So used furniture, as much as it appeals to me, is really not an option, unless I’m with someone who will help me carry and it’s also worth the cost of a cab to get it back.
I did what I could to do a mix of sources - Amazon (my Tuft & Needle mattress), Ikea (bed frame, some shelves, computer desk), Overstock (couch), Wayfair/Hayneedle/AllModern (dining table, dining chairs, bedside table), Bed Bath and Beyond (other shelves), Staples (task/computer chair), local discount stores (cheap lamps, curtain rods, shoe rack, etc). My father built my coffee table. I almost bought my dining chairs from a local restaurant supply store, but they were sold out of the ones I liked so I looked for a similar model and found it on Hayneedle. I did as much due diligence as I could about things being made out of hardwood and natural fabrics instead of particle board or plastic/polyester, and other than the couch (which was its own dramatic thing), generally succeeded, but paid an upcharge for it.
Not quite “furniture”, but other houseware notes: I prefer my local restaurant supply store over Bed Bath & Beyond or Target for kitchenware, and do hunt in thrift stores for it sometimes. I’ll go into most stores’ housewares section for small goods (especially organizational ones like trays and vases), linens, and candles, but I’m very picky so often leave empty handed. I love Michaels for basic frames for my “art or not” wall, but do professionally frame Real Art. I have lots of Command hooks - used as drawer pulls, inside closets, hanging musical instruments and things - and also use their bathroom organizer instead of more traditional over-toilet shelving and their picture hanging solutions.
For having less than 500 square feet, I definitely think about this A Lot; I love interior design as a hobby. Happy to go into any details if people want!
@therealjrn No car to store stuff in! Under my bed are clothes that are neither things-to-hang or underwear (so T-shirts, jeans, sleep/workout clothes), some of my old paperwork, and Christmas ornaments. At some point I’ll buy a real file cabinet to move the paperwork out, but lugging it upstairs does not sound like a good time.