Top Ten Tips for Buying Great Furniture on a Budget

Buying furniture can be expensive, but there are solutions for buyers looking for style without the price tag

Moving into a new house is exciting, but the cost of furnishing those extra rooms can dampen your spirits. While there are no shortage of furniture stores, the cost of simple basics like chairs can leave you reeling. It’s particularly tricky to find stylish or unique furniture on a budget – but the good news is – it’s not impossible. Here are some tips and resources for anyone looking to decorate their home with panache, without breaking the bank.

Mix it Up With IKEA

While IKEA furniture may not be the sturdiest, and buyers are understandably wary of purchasing items that also grace thousands of other homes worldwide, IKEA needn’t be ignored altogether. The trick is to browse the IKEA website and identify a few pieces that can be mixed and matched with your other acquisitions. IKEA really does corner the market in cheap stylish furniture, and their prices on things like sofas, sofabeds, dining room tables and barstools can’t be beaten. Just make sure to pair your IKEA buys with some more unique pieces for an eclectic look.

Be Your Own Designer

Gothic Cabinet Craft makes some wonderful inexpensive wooden furniture. You can choose from a variety of designs, woods and colors and Gothic will deliver your customized finished piece. Don’t be afraid to order a Gothic piece to be delivered “unfinished” and paint it yourself. You could consider a silver paint to create a similar effect to mirrored furniture, for example. Alternatively there are wonderful high gloss lacquer paints that give pieces a contemporary look. You’ll get the effect of a much more expensive and unique item.


Large stores like Ikea have doorknobs, handles and hooks in different colors and styles of cut glass, ceramic and wood. You can order these online to jazz up any piece of furniture, or door. The best approach is to mix it up a little, but not too much – don’t have every knob on a 9 drawer dresser be different, but feel free to mix and match larger pieces like doorknobs.


Don’t be afraid of Ebay when furniture shopping, they have wonderful pieces on the site – although it’s really best suited to the buyer that knows exactly what they want. Type in “chair” and you’ll be scrolling through pages for hours. But type in “Eames chair” for example, and you’ll narrow the field down to some more manageable options, including less expensive copies of the designer look you’re going for. Don’t forget a lot of online stores also have pages on Ebay, it’s not just used or vintage furniture. If you’re shopping for a specific look, say “shabby chic,” “Danish modern” or “retro,” simply type the phrase into the search bar – and Ebay will offer up all the vendors of that type of product.


Flea markets are best left until the later stages of your search, because it’s unlikely that you’ll find a great bed or sofa there, but they’re a treasure chest for things like lamps, mirrors, pictures, candlesticks and the like – and the good news is, chances are you’ll make a unique purchase. Don’t expect them to necessarily be the cheapest items you buy, though, as flea vendors often have quality vintage pieces. But you can always haggle.

Cheap Bed Shops Online

For some funky but inexpensive furniture items, try some of the cheap bed shops like CheapBedSale.co.uk. You can find some great pieces like these cheap leather beds from Cheapupholsteredbeds.co.uk. This firm has some terrific sofas, chairs, rugs and room accessories but without a hefty price tag.

Customize Furniture for Less

At Ballard Designs you can choose from a huge selection of furniture items, each one offering a wide variety of colors, fabrics and wood finishes – meaning you can tailor your item to fit right into your style scheme. The best part is, unlike other customized furniture, this one’s affordable – and the quality’s great.

Stylish High Street Stores for Less

Argos is a great resource for well priced and stylish furniture, leaning toward the contemporary. Crate and Barrel, which can also be found in malls and high streets across the country, can run a little pricier but still has some affordable items.


It’s an obvious point, but a good one. If you have something to sit on and something to sleep on, then take your time furnishing your home. Furniture stores can offer dramatic mark downs on pieces during sale periods, and you may find you can save hundreds of dollars. Often there are ways to create a price alert on their website, whereby they’ll email you if there’s a reduction on the items you select.

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James Steele

James Steele

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