5 Tips for Furniture on a Budget

(Last Updated On: June 28, 2018)

Is your house looking a little sparse or do you just need new furniture on a budget? While we still haven’t figured out how to get brand new furniture for a couple bucks, we’ve got great ideas on how to get new-to-you furniture and upcycle things you might already have.

Check on social media.

Facebook can be so useful for getting things for free or cheap. In the past, we all had to rely on finding yard sale groups to find furniture on a budget, but Facebook made it much easier. You can now use their marketplace function. Search by category (furniture is under household) and then use the slider to bring the price all the way down to $0.

furniture on a budget

Here’s what I found when I did it just now.

See that? Tons of free furniture waiting to be upcycled. Also, there’s even someone offering to pay you to pick up her old entertainment stand and that’s totally common on here! My area is relatively small so I’m thinking that if you’re in any type of a city, you’ll have even more results.

A couple things to always watch out for:

  • The cleanliness of the home.
  • Whether people smoke in the house.
  • If a family has pets and whether they shed.
  • Bugs! Learn how to check for bedbugs and other pests that could follow you home.

You might also have good luck at “Buy Nothing” groups on Facebook. These groups are free to join and have people in the community who are all trying to get rid of things. 

While Facebook is certainly the most popular way to find free things, Craigslist also has a “free” section. Always use these tips for meeting someone from the Internet.

Another way you can find furniture on a budget is through Freecycle. Freecycle tends to be more popular in city and metro areas and does not have as much popularity in the rural areas or suburbs!

Upcycle items you get for free.

You don’t even have to find free furniture to start upcycling into the furniture you want. There are many everyday items you can use as furniture for functionality. While these items might not look like “traditional” furniture, just remember utilitarian is on trend right now! (Also, who cares? Because it’s free, functional stuff)!

furniture on a budget

One of the most-liked DIY furniture pieces on a budget is a pouf out of an old tire. It seems almost impossible to get rid of old tires so many people will give them to you for free. You can then wrap it in cheap rope or yarn and add some color and functionality to your home. If you have a small patio or deck, it’s a great outdoor piece. If you’re handy with a saw, you can even get some cheap plywood and put a top on it and cover it with paint or fabric. You can DIY this any way you want so get creative.

Another popular DIY you can get totally for free is an electrical spool table. Many companies give old ones away for free. You can leave it how it is or you can sand it and paint it or stain it to spruce it up! These come in many different sizes so you could do everything from an end table to a coffee table or even a dining table!

Thrift shop for furniture on a budget.

Thrifting is one of the easiest ways to find furniture on a budget. You can pay as much as 99% less than what you would find the furniture for in a traditional store. If you can’t find it for free, thrift stores are the second-best way to get the furniture.

The first thing you’ll want to do is make sure you’re shopping at a thrift store. Most of these are associated with non-profits, but not all of them are. Consignment stores and vintage stores will often be more expensive.

furniture on a budget

Chain thrift companies (The Salvation Army, The ReStore and Goodwill are just a few) are great because they often have a lot to offer. They might be slightly pricier than privately-owned thrift stores, though, so keep that in mind. You may have to visit several stores before you find a piece that works for you.

Keep in mind, most items at thrift stores go quick so if you find a piece of furniture you want and it’s affordable, get it then. The store may be able to hold it for you for a couple hours or even a day, but most will not do this.

Pallet furniture is on-trend.

Making your own furniture on a budget is great if you’re handy. All you need to have is a few simple tools and you can make beautiful handmade pieces for less money than what you’d spend in the store. Pallet furniture is really popular. We found a few tips on how to pick the pallets and take them apart before letting your mind run wild with furniture ideas!

furniture on a budget

A pallet chair (also, the pool in the background is from a “buy nothing” Facebook group!)

Many stores throw their pallets away. Just because you see a stack of pallets at the back of a store doesn’t mean you can just take them. Always ask before collecting pallets for your project. Hardware stores, craft stores and privately-owned businesses are the best places to find pallets for your project.

Here’s how to find the perfect pallet:

  • It doesn’t have to be spotless but if it has visible spills or any residue on it, leave it!
  • You want to look for the IPPC stamp- make sure it’s there.
  • Check other stamps- you’re looking for an HT stamp- the stamp means it was heat treated.
  • If you see an MB stamp, don’t choose that pallet as it was treated with a chemical that was outlawed in 2010. 
  • A DB stamp is O.K. It just means the pallet was debarked. 

Once you get your pallets home, you’ll have to break them apart to use. You’ll need a hammer to pull the nails out and a saw to cut the supports off as you can’t really use those for any type of furniture. Here’s one of the most popular ways to do it quickly!

Once you’ve got your pallets torn apart, start putting them back together…as furniture! Always check your project first to make sure you’ve got enough pallets. Pinterest is the place to go for pallet ideas.

Use something as it’s not intended.

If you find a great piece and it’s not what you need, think about whether you could actually use it for the furniture you need. There are so many purposes for different furniture pieces. You don’t have to use them for their intended purpose. Some great ideas for furniture being used for other things:

Make a dresser out of a hutch with the top part attached or unattached.

Use a TV stand for a plant stand.

Get extra storage by making your old dresser into a TV stand.

An old crib as a porch swing.

By looking at alternative options for pieces of furniture, you open up the doors to more possibilities for furniture on a budget. It’s a great way to save money and repurpose something that would otherwise go to a dump.

Need more ways to save money and get free stuff? We’ve got ‘em!



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