Just like fast fashion versus high fashion, knowing whether to spend on furniture or to spend money when it comes to decorating your home can be a challenge. What should you invest in? Where should you save? Is cheap online furniture worth the hours, if not days, of searching? To help you master the art of cheap furniture shopping and understand the differences between cheap and expensive furniture, we asked Décor Aid interior designers to share their tried and tested approaches on the best ways to buy cheap furniture.
From cheap furniture to searching local vintage locations, we’re looking for everything you need to know for your next furniture hunting expedition as there are proven ways to tell , for example, cheap bedroom furniture from high quality found items that will last a lifetime.
Here’s our take on the pros and cons of cheap furniture purchases, and what makes it so different from more expensive items.
Look at the target
Surfaces are one of the greatest giveaways in spotting cheap furniture because you can tell the difference between a good quality varnish or polish. The depth of color of the wood used is another tell-tale sign.
Do all the joins meet correctly? Is everything flush? Most cheaply made furniture just doesn’t have a high quality appearance – there’s no such thing as craftsmanship and there’s no denying that cheap apartment furniture will only last a few years.
Know your materials
Learning the materials commonly used in cheap furniture (think Formica, particle board, and the like) can help you find out the quality of your purchases right away. MDF, laminates, softwood and melamine are also hallmarks of cheap furniture.
Of course, these materials are ideal for less used rooms and children’s rooms. However, if you find these materials in cheap bedroom furniture, know that they are not of high quality.
Take a test drive
Give it a try before you buy and test your furniture. When looking to buy a bed, lie down on it and make sure it is comfortable for you. There is no point in going for a bed based only on looks. When there’s a lot of give and there’s surprising creak, look elsewhere.
Open and close drawers, place your palms firmly on a table or surface, and move the furniture around to make sure the aspects close properly, are not wobbly, and move. Again, put weight on shelves and units to make sure they can take the pressure and that everything works as you expect.
Weigh it up
When looking at a piece of furniture you should have an idea of how much it could weigh. When you are in cheap furniture stores you may find that the items weigh lighter than you thought or much heavier. If you pick up a cast iron lamp and almost toss it over your shoulder, it is not of high quality.
On the downside, unexpectedly heavy items aren’t great options either. An elegant side table shouldn’t weigh a ton. If so, it may be made of an inferior and dense material.
Handcrafted furniture / antiques
Throw away cheap furniture and look at antiques that are already tried and tested. So you know that these are high quality items at an affordable price that are an alternative to modern cheap furniture stores. If vintage finds aren’t for you, go for handcrafted furniture. Craftsmen who make furniture are celebrated for showing exceptional attention to detail and making amazing quality pieces for good reason.
The greatest care is taken in the manufacture of handcrafted furniture, and cheap furniture stores have nothing to do with investing in handcrafted goods that are certain to become future heirlooms.
Plan and budget
Plan and budget your furniture; Browse around and give yourself an idea of how much quality furniture costs. Once you have an idea of how much an average piece will cost, you can set a budget for your purchases.
Take into account whether you can afford to buy something more expensive or whether you need to go for cheap furniture because once you have an idea of the cost, you can start looking for deals to save you money.
Don’t skip online
It’s pretty easy to get into deals online for art and cheap furniture deals that look great, but you have no idea the quality of your purchases unless you already know the brand.
It’s always worth seeing something in person before making a big purchase, especially when it comes to hundreds of dollars. If you can’t see something in person, make sure the website you’re buying from has a reasonable return policy. If you don’t like it when it arrives, send it back. Sign up for brand newsletters for future discount messages and sample sales in the Research Showroom for incredible deals.
In the meantime, if you’re short on budget and need to save up on inspirational furniture, instead of wasting money on cheap furniture, grab something for nothing.
Forget about cheap furniture websites and target online marketplaces where you can pick something up for free – like Craigslist and Marketplace, as people are always giving away cheap furniture locally online.
Now that you know how to distinguish cheap furniture from higher quality, more expensive, found items, let’s take a look at where to save money and where to invest.
Spend your money on …
A good rule of thumb is to spend money where you spend your time. The pieces of furniture you use the most on should be spent the most – there is no point buying cheap furniture from cheap furniture stores if you want to replace it in a year – and worse, if you end up being uncomfortable.
Your sofa is the most important part of your living room and that’s where you spend most of your time. Buying cheap furniture sets only costs more money in the long run – poor quality sofas sag, tear, fabric stretches, and they look less than fresh in a short amount of time.
Choosing a high quality sofa lasts longer. If you opt for a classic and flexible style, you can re-cover it for a quick room freshening up.
Since we spend a lot of time in our beds – around a third of our day – you have to feel good. A bad bed can wreak havoc on your back and play with your comfort and mood.
Spend here wisely and invest in comfort and support. Make sure you have a comfortable headboard and a sturdy bed base. You want something you can trust – something cheap bedroom furniture just can’t.
Coffee and dining tables
Since coffee tables and dining tables are used a lot every day, avoid buying cheap furniture that is easily scratched and tarnished. So, skip cheap furniture with quick decor online and invest smartly in quality coffee and dining tables.
Think of it this way: furniture that is of undeniable quality can use your budget much better than cheap furniture that can’t withstand everyday use.
Save money on …
Not everything has to be expensive and high quality – if you need to save, there are some great alternatives to Ikea and Fast Decor outlets to inspire your search for cheap furniture that still makes a visual impact.
Side tables and bedside tables
You can find great looking bedside tables, end tables, and consoles by searching online for “cheap furniture sets” and “discount furniture near me” for real bargains.
And since they don’t have the same daily use as a coffee table, end tables and bedside tables don’t have to be particularly heavy-duty – they’re often more for looks than practicality, so don’t worry about cheap home furniture when it comes to less frequently used items.
Cheap lighting can look just as good as more decadent highlights, as long as you choose wisely and spend some time looking in cheap furniture stores. If you are on a budget, there is no point skipping crystal lights while you have to focus on more important aspects of the decor.
If you can find pieces online at cheap furniture stores that you are not entirely happy with, you can always add a pop of color for a bespoke makeover on cheap furniture.
You don’t have to spend a lot of money to brighten up a room and add a personal touch. Thrift stores and online marketplaces are great for sourcing jewelry and decorative items to use in your home. Well- placed accessories can help turn cheap furniture into an expensive piece right away.
Other ways to generate interest inexpensively …
Now that we’ve covered the ideas for simple, cheap furniture, here are some useful additions to add to any room to make it look more expensive and feel much more luxurious with ease.
When it comes to updating cheap modern furniture to make it feel right at home, our interior designers were quick to suggest buying inexpensive yet beautifully designed hardware spares that can make a big difference. The key here is to find hardware that is sophisticated and attractive so that these inexpensive finds look and feel all the more luxurious. However, avoid themed hardware no matter how cute it is or how close it is to home.
Reuse what you have
Before buying cheap modern furniture, our decorators recommend quickly scanning your home from room to room to see what can move you and give it a second life.
Because when it comes to deciding between cheap furniture and expensive furniture, they should and will always win, since nothing comes before high-quality, well-made furniture. So before donating this historic Queen Anne dresser, think about where else it could look good and make sense in your home.
Bring In Art
To make your home feel like it’s done with expensive furniture, consider how you can add everyday glamor to any room, e.g. B. with affordable and easy-to-obtain framed artwork and sculptures.
Art can make any room appear more energetic, brighter and, above all, more expensive and luxurious. Since there is an endless variety of art prints readily available at myriad prices, unlike cheap furniture, you have a lot more options to choose from. Encourage yourself and furnish your home with eye-catching prints, paired with fascinating frame silhouettes and surfaces.
Bring new lampshades
To make your newly purchased cheap living room furniture look even more sophisticated, another trick that you can easily master with success is to swap out the generic standard lampshades, which are designed for lampshades with a much richer feel. And by that we mean that it literally only takes a simple black ribbon to make a lampshade look all the more luxurious.
Pillows and throws
Easy to source and swap out over time, and change your tastes. Adding pillows and throws is a surefire way to easily come up with affordable furniture ideas for any room in your home. They will also help give the simplest and most straightforward basic equipment a sense of personality, pattern and play.
From covering a generic Ikea sofa with a vibrant textile to placing poufs and throws in place, these add-ons can make all the difference when considering cheap furniture ideas for the living room with ease.
Another way to go when thinking about cheap furniture ideas for your bathroom is with brightly colored, patterned towels. Whether striped, graphic, or solid, statement towels are a great, inexpensive, and practical way to add decorative touches to that busy space.
Another smart way to master cheap living room furniture ideas is to give your windows treatments that instantly add to the sophistication factor of the room . If you want to keep your windows untouched, consider window treatment styles that are within budget.
They provide more privacy and reduce daylight while enhancing the space with beautiful design.
Stack of coffee table books
Use a selection of coffee table books to add personality to cheap furniture ideas that will make your collection stand out and artfully add layers and colors to any room.
Do you have a blank coat or tabletop in need of some paint and decor? Enhance cheap furniture ideas by bringing in vases, vessels, drip trays, and the kind with a common color that holds everything together for a consistent statement.
Create a focus
Every room needs one, and so should yours. Create at least one focal point to keep the eye on an important decorative element such as a work of art or tapestry to make cheap living room furniture ideas look all the more expensive, and help the eye avoid less significant furniture.
Add an accent wall
Another way of cheap furniture ideas look more expensive to make, is to add an unexpectedly colored accent wall for more layers and depth to a room. Plus, you can easily and inexpensively update an accent wall to suit your needs.
Although mirrored furniture is often expensive, mirrors are a great alternative for cheap furniture ideas as they instantly add glamor, add more light, make a room look bigger, and generally lead the eye to think these cheap furniture ideas because living rooms are much more expensive than they actually are.
As another inexpensive and easy-to-source decorative bonus, plants can instantly add vibrant energy and brilliant colors to any room, and some can even do dual roles as they also purify a room’s air quality.
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