By Kathryn Weber

You can find bargains on good-quality couches to china cabinets through membership auction sites, pop up stores, even Goodwill

You can find bargains on good-quality couches to china cabinets through membership auction sites, pop up stores, even Goodwill

When it comes to furniture, there's a distinct difference between cheap and inexpensive. Inexpensive furniture tends to fall apart and not look as good as more costly furniture. But buying quality furniture can take a big bite out of your budget. So how can you get a good value on both price and quality? Savvy shopping is the key.


If small nicks or minor imperfections don't bother you, or you're willing to repair the item, incredible deals are available on less-than-perfect pieces. Many furniture stores have scratch-and-dent sections at the back of the store where damaged furniture is sold at a fraction of the original cost. Many of the same stores have regional outlets. If there's a national furniture store you especially like, search the Web for an outlet.

These outlet locations typically carry a wide range of pieces, from furniture with major damage to items in perfect condition that were returned because a customer decided not to go through with the purchase. Many furniture companies are also starting "pop-up" stores. These showrooms appear for a couple of months, then close once all the returned, damaged or sample pieces are gone. Many offer greatly discounted prices, but you have to act fast to cash in.


Another way to get to get quality furniture at steeply discounted prices is to buy on consignment. Browsing your local consignment store is worth the time because of the terrific quality-to-price ratios. Other unexpected sources: Goodwill or Salvation Army stores. Charitable organizations often pick up and resell household goods, and many furniture companies donate odd, damaged, or unwanted pieces to such groups. A good example is Habitat for Humanity's Restore Outlets ( that carry furniture from homeowners and furniture stores.

Because Americans are always on the move, rental furniture companies, such as Cort (, offer steep discounts on pre-rented furniture and frequently have rental return outlets. Some office furniture companies also carry used pieces, ranging from desks to chairs, sofas and tables. If you're trying to outfit a home office, you can often buy a better quality used piece than something new from an office supply or regular furniture store.


There are a wide range of sources for furniture online, from Ebay and Craigslist to high-end auctions that require membership (also known as your email address). When buying furniture online, always look for good descriptions that include dimensions and clear photographs. On Ebay, you can narrow your search to your locale only or choose to have an item shipped from anywhere in the country.

Other Web sources gaining in popularity include timed auction membership sites, such as One Kings Lane ( and Gilt Group's Home ( Both offer some good savings on high-end home furnishings and accessories, though you'll have to sort through the barrage of daily emails that come with membership. The trade-off: Hopefully, you can cherry-pick that one special piece at a terrific price.


Available at

Cut Your Energy Bills Now: 150 Smart Ways to Save Money & Make Your Home More Comfortable & Green

It's Easy Being Green: A Handbook for Earth-Friendly Living

Sean Conway's Cultivating Life: 125 Projects for Backyard Living







Home & Garden - You Can Pick Up Furniture Bargains In Unexpected Ways