Furnishing your space has never been a simple undertaking. Sure, it’s easy enough to hop on Pinterest and create a drool-worthy vision board of your dream living room– but it is a whole separate effort to finance said space, and lately, you might be pressed to even find furniture that will make it to your doorstep with any kind of speed. Then, of course, there are often assembly costs (or other hands-on efforts) involved.
Whether you’re looking to furnish a new place or upgrade existing pieces, you might consider alternatives to traditional online shopping, to… you know… avoid sitting on a half-couch for the foreseeable future. We’ve pulled together some solid options for you to consider in addition to more traditional shopping outlets.
One tried-and-true furniture option is to explore antique, vintage, and even thrift shops in your area. Making a day of it can be a great way to spend time with friends, unearthing quirky treasures– including sturdily-built furniture that has already stood the test of time. So grab the girls, make a brunch date, and shop until you drop. A four-person dining set for $200, a solid pine bookcase for $50: you will likely uncover some deals without having to leave town for pickup.
It’s also worth asking family members if you can take any old pieces of furniture off their hands. Plenty of heirloom dressers, chairs, and hutches turn up at local estate sales, but you may find items that friends or relatives are eager to offload before it gets that far. Furniture takes up space, which is a premium in many markets. Ask around and you may be surprised.
Used pieces infuse your decor with “character, craftsmanship, and a real-life, lived-in quality,” says Stephanie Marie Seferian, author of Sustainable Minimalism. They’re also often crafted from sturdier materials (think solid wood, instead of particleboard), which stand the test of time. So if the thought of your home looking like every other Ikea-furnished apartment on the block turns your stomach, know that used furniture will bring a sense of personality to your home, right out the gate.
Facebook, Craigslist, & eBay
Don’t love the idea of wandering dusty aisles and unearthing used gems? Live far away from the folks you can scout for spare pieces? You can still enjoy the benefits of antique and used furniture, minus the in-person treasure hunt.
If you’re in search of something specific, say, a white bookcase or a Pottery Barn bed frame, sites like Ebay and Facebook Marketplace make it easy to narrow down results quickly. You can also limit your search radius by location; driving to pick up your own furniture (whether assembled or temporarily disassembled) can also help you save big on shipping costs.
For pieces that have been online for weeks or longer, consider making an offer under the asking price. Folks are often ready to offload used furniture in anticipation of a move or other household change. The seller may counter-offer, but you’re likely to walk away with a steal regardless!
If you’re searching for an ultra-specific or unique piece, consider giving Etsy a try. Craftsmen and antiquers nationwide put pieces up for sale on the site, meaning you can score a unique purchase and support independent small businesses at the same time.
If you have unique dimensions that must be fitted, Etsy is a good place to check as well. You may be able to score a custom piece from a weekend hobbyist or local artist without the price tag or timeline of a professional contractor.
Lastly, you may choose to contact manufacturers directly. If you see a piece of furniture you like in a showroom or online, consider purchasing directly from the company that constructs the piece rather than from the retailer (Target, Amazon, or Wayfair, as examples). This can often trim down your wait and your cost by cutting out the middle man. While many companies do not offer the option of selling directly to consumers, it never hurts to ask.
Finding alternatives to the traditional supply chain can help you to acquire pieces more quickly than traditional processing and shipping times may allow. With furniture costing more– and taking longer to ship– you might consider one of these less-conventional methods for locating the piece you want. In addition to filling your home with character, you may also be making a decision that is friendlier for your environment and for your wallet than traditional furniture shopping.