How to Furnish a New Home For Next to Nothing

iStock_000011599103SmallWhen we first moved into our new home, it was pretty empty. We went from a 800 square foot one bedroom apartment to a 1,100 square foot three bedroom house, not including the basement suite. We had never lived in anything bigger than 800 square feet, so the extra space was a bit of a shock.

We had a dining room now, which we didn’t have in our tiny little apartment, so our pub style table and chairs looked small and awkward in the space. We didn’t own a coffee table as we didn’t have much room in our apartment. We also only had one bed – the one we slept in, so our new spare bedroom remained empty and unfurnished.

We’ve been in the house for about a year, and now have a well furnished home. The pieces go great with our style and the style of the house. We furnished our house almost for free by using a few methods:

Repurpose Old Pieces 

I mentioned that our pub style table and chairs didn’t work well in our dining room, but the bar stool chairs were the perfect height, so they worked great for the kitchen island, and we were able to sell the table on Craigslist. Since there were four chairs and only three fit at the island, we repurposed the fourth chair by painting it and using it as a decoration in our spare bedroom.

We painted the chair white (it used to be espresso brown) and freshened up the beige suede seat with a mustard color fabric that went well with the room.

Just because your old furniture doesn’t necessarily fit in with your new house through it’s previous purpose doesn’t mean you can’t repurpose the item!

Ask Around

The funniest thing happens when you decide to move into a new home, especially if it’s your first home: people want to give you furniture.

Everyone has something lying around that they don’t use or want anymore. Typically they don’t want to bring it to the dump or donate it because the item is in good condition. When we told our friends and family members that we had purchased a house, it seemed as if everyone was offering us tables, chairs, armoires, hutches, headboards, coffee tables, and entertainment centres. We even got a TV that my parents weren’t using anymore (a flat screen LCD TV at that)!

Just asking around can be a fruitful effort when it comes to getting free or cheap furniture, and if it’s coming from friends and family, it’s usually pretty good quality, too.

Refinish Free Items

What we didn’t get through the previous methods I listed here, we found online and refinished. Even if you get something from a friend or family member that may not necessarily go with the color scheme you are looking for, you can still refinish the item or paint it.

We received a headboard for our bed for free that was absolutely beautiful. The only problem was that it didn’t go at all with our color scheme. It was a lightly stained wood, and we wanted a solid white, so it would integrate with the room better.

We painted and refinished the headboard and it now looks great.

If you can find a free piece with good bones on Craigslist or another online classifieds site, don’t overlook it’s value. There are plenty of how-to videos when it comes to refinishing furniture, and it’s not difficult if you follow the tutorials. You can have a custom piece for the cost of some sandpaper, new hardware and paint that you wouldn’t be able to find at stores.

You don’t have to spend a lot of money on furniture if your new space is looking a little empty. You can find some great pieces for little or even no money if you are looking in the right places.


How to Furnish a New Home For Next to Nothing — 10 Comments

  1. We furnished our first place by purchasing items at estate auctions. We bought a sectional couch, recliner, coffee table, TV stand and two dressers for under $200. We had to refinish some items but it was worth the money we saved. We still have the TV stand and dressers, 18 years later.

  2. I found an amazing butcher block/storage unit for my kitchen on craigslist for $25. I checked the retail price after we picked it up… over $200!

  3. I bought new furniture when I moved into my first house in 1990 (dining room, living room, and master bedroom. That furniture is still with us. Our furniture collection grew after getting married, and we actually had to sell or give away some furniture after we moved in together.

  4. I’ve bought and sold small pieces of furniture on craigslist before. There’s a really cool show on HGTV about people who go to flea markets and turn junkie old pieces into beautifully restored furniture that they aim to make a profit on. Takes patience, creativity, and getting your hands dirty but it’s pretty neat.

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