Ballin on a Budget: Furnishing a House or Apartment

If you’ve recently moved out on your own or are planning to do so soon, you’re probably wondering how you’ll be able to furnish your apartment/house. It’s rare that places come fully furnished so you might be worried about finding large items like a couch or dining room set. Here are some good places to search if you’re struggling to find what you need.


  1. Family/friends. One of the best places to look for cheap or free items is from your family and friends. Whether it’s an old couch, dishes or even a lamp, these items will help you get a start on furnishing your home. Whatever your family and friends give you might not be your style but it’s free, so don’t turn your nose up at it. Down the road when you can afford it, you can replace things that were given to you with the items you want. But for the meantime, start asking your relatives if they really need that sofa sitting in their basement.
  2. Habitat for Humanity Restores. THIS IS THE PLACE TO GO!!!! I CANNOT EMPHASIZE THIS ENOUGH! I started looking around for used furniture stores and discovered this diamond in the rough. The way the Restore works is people donate their used furniture, appliances, kitchen cabinets and even household necessities like doors and windows. They price items at costs they think an item worth reselling for and every 30 days the item doesn’t sell, it gets discounted. The HFH Restores tend to sell their stuff quickly because they are so reasonably priced and they put out new items nearly every day. You could walk in one day and return the next only to see half the store has changed. If you see something you like, find a volunteer right away before someone else decides to buy it. HFH has Restores all over. Near me there are two, one in Wayne and the other in Dover. The one in Wayne is smaller, which means a smaller selection but they still have great products. If you’re seriously trying to furnish your place on a budget, find your local Restore and go check it out.
  3. Goodwill. This thrift store is similar to Habitat for Humanity’s Restores but with less furniture options. Goodwill is decent if you’re shopping for dishes, lamps and small tables. Similar to the Restores, their products change out often so if something catches your eye, buy it right away. You can shop online through their auction site or find a local Goodwill and shop in person.
  4. Garage/yard Sales. Aka goldmines for used furniture. Typically garage or yard sales are where people try to sell their old sofas, coffee tables, chairs, etc. Now is the best time to start looking for takes some searching to find these sales because spring is typically when people start cleaning out their houses. Look in your local paper for listed garage/yard sales or take a drive on a weekend morning to see if anyone in your neighborhood is having one.
  5. Estate sales. You might be thinking, “Isn’t this the same thing as a garage sale?” It’s not. Estate sale usually have more items of better quality for sale than garage sales because they are liquidating the belongings of an estate. Garage sales are when people are trying to get rid of the junk they no longer want/need while estate sales are usually the result of someone downsizing, moving divorcing or filing for bankruptcy. Here is a good site to look for local estate sales (
  6. Antique stores. If you’re looking for modern furniture, then skip this. But if you don’t mind furniture that is a little dated then try looking at local antique stores. You might be able to snag a few unique end tables, chairs or even a mirror for your place. The only downside to antique stores is they tend to be on the more expensive side. Antique = price hike, so watch out for items that are too far outside your budget. To find antique stores near you, try looking on the Antique Malls website.
  7. Local thrift/consignment stores. Though these stores are usually where people look for clothing, thrift/consignment stores can have other items like dishes, curtains or lamps. I like going to thrift and consignment stores because sometimes you can negotiate the price, especially when you’re buying multiple items. If you’re struggling to furnish an entire house/apartment at a small cost, then you definitely want to check out your local thrift/consignment shops.
  8. Ikea. When in doubt, go to Ikea. They don’t always have the highest quality at a low cost but they do hold a large selection of cheap items. If you’re looking to pick up brand new items like bookshelves or a bed frame, try looking here. It probably won’t last you 10 years but it’s sure to be a good placeholder until you can invest in a more expensive and better quality item. You can shop their products online or find an Ikea store near you.


*Extra advice: Don’t be particular about what some furniture looks like. You can repaint or get fabric covers for most furniture so focus on getting something in decent shape that is within your budget.

I recently became a homeowner and am slowly trying to buy furniture as I renovate so once renovations are done, I can move right in and have the house completely furnished. It’s a bit intimidating because I don’t have a lot of money to spend on furniture but by scouring all of the places listed above. Where do you look for cheap furniture?


*Feature photo originally posted on Instagram by @keystoinspiration


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s