The definition of frugal is: Simple and plain, costing little.  Thrifty.

So let’s face it, for me, frugal is one of my favorite words!  I love simple, plain things that don’t cost a lot!  How do you apply that to furniture you ask, since furniture can be so costly?  I have a few things that I have done, as well as have seen done.  I am even more frugal than the average person so we won’t use my own furniture as great examples. But, I still know a good bargain, even if I am too cheap (uh frugal) to hop on the band wagon myself at times.

Found Perfect Pieces – Sometimes you are given a great piece of furniture or find something at a garage sale or thrift store in great condition.  These can be rare to find without a lot of work or a relative that has taken perfect care of something and has handed it down to you.  However, they do exist.  You just may have to look a lot longer and wait for the right fit.  Older wood items can actually be better made than something new at times.  Only thing is be careful.  Pests and other things can lurk in a used piece of furniture so check it over OUTSIDE and clean it before you bring it indoors.  Don’t want any visitors with your new found treasure invading your home.

Re-purposed Pieces – You can always make a piece of furniture you need, too, by re-purposing with paint, or attaching what you find to something else.  Or just by altering it a bit.  When my kids were young, I really wanted a coffee table that was indestructible and safe for kids to be around all the time.  I also wanted it to be large.  Finding such a piece was difficult to do.  First, large coffee tables were expensive (no Wayfair back then), then I worried about my kids scratching up a new piece of furniture by using it for homework and to hold cups and snacks.  I decided to try to find one at a used furniture place and found this dinette set of thick pine planks of wood.  It was covered in a very thick protective coating and was very rustic looking.  But, the table was way too high to be a coffee table, although the top was a perfect fit to what I wanted.  I convinced my husband to remove the legs and saw a portion off and then return them to the table and it was perfect!  No sharp corners. Big enough for the kids to all sit around if they wanted, basically indestructible and inexpensive!  I no longer have this table, but it lasted for a long time and more than served its purpose. When I bought that dinette set, I also bought these two pine side tables that I still use to this day.   

Pieces on SALE – Another way to be frugal about your furniture buying is to wait for items to come on sale.  When you purchase a new home, you really want to furnish that home right away and sometimes you may make bad furniture choices when you do that.  You may pay way more for an item that really won’t hold up because you just want a certain room to feel “done”.  However, if you wait, certain times of the year, you can find better deals than other times.  If there is a specific piece you absolutely just have to have, waiting to see when it goes on sale, buying a floor model or shopping around for that particular item, may be the best way to find that piece at the best price you can.  There are all sorts of online stores now that will deliver furniture to your home and even set it up for you (for a fee).  Some things you may need to see in person, but, once you have, you can take that information and find exactly what you want (for the price that you want) nearly everywhere on the internet.

Temporary Pieces – Some things you can spend way less on if you buy with the intention that they won’t last forever.  Like maybe a small table for a little spot in your home or some shelving that only works in the place you are now, that you will want to replace when you move into a larger place later.  Think about what the item will be used for and shop accordingly.  Maybe you just need an item for some storage that you want to look better than a plastic box in the middle of the room!  I once used some smaller, metal shelves in a tiny trailer kitchen for a pantry since I didn’t have the cabinet space to store those things.  It worked out great, looked just fine in my tiny space, and they were cheap!  We got rid of them when we didn’t need them anymore.

Pieces of High Value – Being frugal also means thrifty and I think it is thrifty to buy a furniture piece that will last a long time even if it is a bit pricey.  An excellent mattress and bed frame or a dining table, for example.  Also, if you are careful with the style you choose, these items won’t change with the next design fad like an expensive purple leather sofa might or a really artsy chair.  If you choose really well, you may be able to hand down a piece (or two) to a family member when you would like to get something different.  I know I cherish a few pieces I received from my mother, even if they aren’t perfect.  They have lasted nearly half a century now and I feel fortunate to have had them.  Will I keep them forever?  Who knows…but I have time to look and see what else I can get for a good deal, don’t you think?

Until Next Time!

Jen Lush–Associate Broker and Managing Realtor’s Mother


This content is not the product of the National Association of REALTORS®, and may not reflect NAR's viewpoint or position on these topics and NAR does not verify the accuracy of the content.