Tips for Buying Dining Room Furniture on a Budget

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The dining room can be a focal point of home décor and is often used for more than just family meals, but finding the right furniture can be difficult on a budget. Luckily, there are ways to find quality furniture without having to take out a second mortgage.

Determine What You Want

This is an important step, because it recognizes what kind of furniture you want in terms of size and number. Do you want new dining room decor? Are you willing to compromise on style? What's more important: look or price? Once these questions are answered, narrowing down the options for getting the furniture is easy.

Furniture Store Sales

Furniture stores are always looking for excuses to have a sale, whether it Presidents' Day, Fourth of July or even Groundhog Day. They can offer up select furniture at 50 percent off or more, provide free shipping or remove the sales tax from the final price. Scout out the sales ahead of time by checking fliers in the local newspaper and getting an idea of what furniture is on sale. But be wary of price gouging, which makes it look like the sale is a good deal when it really isn't. Many stores increase the price prior to a sale, so when it is marked down 25 percent, the price looks better to the consumer. It may help to do a little comparison shopping before purchasing from a furniture store sale.

Outlet Stores

Outlet stores provide new furniture at discounted prices because the money is going directly from the manufacturer to the consumer. There is no cost markup for a third party department or furniture store, who have to take into account profit, shipping, storage, etc. Furniture from an outlet store is new, but is still the most expensive option outside an actual furniture store. The other downside is that outlet stores are few and far between, and may require extensive travel and the cost of shipping the furniture to your home, all of which should be taken into consideration.

Imperfect Merchandise and Mismatched Sets

If you are not too picky about furniture for the dining room, then asking furniture stores about merchandise that has been damaged during transport or is not 100 percent perfect from the factory can get you a good deal. The damage could be as minor as a small scratch or dent, or be as major as legs that are too long or short. The more damaged the merchandise, the bigger the discount. Also, sets that are missing chairs or made up of different dining sets are often sold at discount prices. Try going for a shabby chic or distressed look to turn otherwise undesirable furniture into the perfect set for a high style home. 

Auctions and Estate Sales

When people pass away or move into a retirement home, their old household furniture and other items are often sold at auction to the highest bidder. The condition of the furniture is unknown until you actually get to the site and have the opportunity to see it firsthand. It could be worn through years of use, relatively new or even a throwback to the 1960s if they haven't purchased new furniture in quite a while. As far as price, it goes to the highest bidder, so it can be very inexpensive or cost more than it's worth if a bidding war starts. It's best to go into the auction with a set price in mind and stick to that predetermined amount.

Yard and Garage Sales

The old saying "one man's trash is another person's treasure" has never had more meaning than with garage and yard sales. Everything from undiscovered priceless treasures to romance novels from the 1950s are found at garage sales, sometimes selling for under a dollar. Occasionally, people will put out large pieces of furniture for sale as a way to keep it from filling up their curb on garbage day. Much like auctions and estate sales, the quality will vary, but the price will be unbeatable. An entire dining room set can sell for less than $10. The main downside is that the buyer is responsible for transporting the furniture from the garage sale to their home, but unlike an outlet store, the garage sale is likely in the same town as the buyer's home.

Used Furniture

When you purchase used furniture, it will likely be worn, which is the reason it was so inexpensive in the first place. A little elbow grease can help make the furniture look new again. Tables and chairs that are worn and dull-looking can be refinished to bring back that new furniture shine. The defects such as chips and dents are easily masked with tablecloths. Chairs with ripped seats can be reshuffled and sewn or reupholstered.

Transportation Options

Shipping furniture from an outlet store a state away or from a local furniture store can be a significant cost. Cut down the cost by borrowing a large truck from a friend or renting a moving truck. The cost will be less, but it also means the buyer takes on all the labor of loading and unloading.

Furniture purchased on a budget doesn't have to be low quality or look shabby. There are deals to be found for people willing to look.

Last Updated: January 25, 2012
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About Brock Cooper Brock Cooper is a freelance writer for 

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