Back in July when I bought my house, I decided to try a new-to-me challenge and furnish my place with as much used furniture as I could get my cheap hands on. I gave myself this challenge because a) I’m cheap and b) I caught myself lusting after ridiculously expensive furniture that I was seeing in home decor magazines. I mean, $2000 for a coffee table? That’s insane. Why on earth would a miniature table have to cost that much. The best I can figure is that the coffee table was made from the last Entwife or something like that.
It would have been really easy to drop $10,000, or more, furnishing my house because I had very little furniture prior to buying my house. I donated most of my student furniture to Value Village when I moved back home after I finished school, so aside from a tv and a dresser, I had no furniture. All the sudden I had two bedrooms, an office, a living room and a kitchen that all needed furnished. Initially, I obsessed over how I was going to style my house, since I would be starting from scratch with my furniture. I wanted classic and cool items, like a leather reclining couch, sleek coffee tables, an elegant hardwood table for the kitchen, and everything to match and look like it came straight out of a magazine. It didn’t help that a family member (close to my age) was constantly buying brand new pieces of furniture for her new house and then calling me over to show them off. Oh, and she often forgot to take the price tags off, of course.
One night, I added up the cost of all the furniture I had found that I liked in one magazine. The total was horrifying. It was far more than I was willing to spend and it was just for a couple pieces. After I got over the sticker-shock, I started to wonder why I was lusting over such expensive furniture; after all, it’s just furniture. Sure, it would be cool if all the pieces matched, but I figure people aren’t going to avoid visiting me because my sofa isn’t brand new or Italian leather. With this in mind, I started my search for used furniture. Here’s what I managed to find:
- A couch, grabbed off the side of the road
- A love seat, donated to me by my aunt’s neighbours
- 2 glass coffee tables, given to me by my aunt
- A bookshelf, from my parents
- A blanket box, kept from when my grandmother moved out of her house
- A round table and two chair, scored from the end of a driveway.
- A desk. It’s actually a table from my great grandmother’s house. It’s wood and heavy as hell, but in pretty good shape for being over 80 years old.
- Two desk chairs. One I took from home, the other I got from my aunt and reupholstered.
- Two bookshelves. One from my aunt’s old place, the other I found under the stairs here.
- Filing cabinet. Was going to the dump from where my mom works, but we saved it.
- 2 single beds and frames. One is from my uncle’s, the other was left here by the previous owner (don’t worry, I steamed cleaned that mattress to within an inch of its life).
- Dresser, nightstand and headboard from my grandmother’s old house.
- A dresser from my other grandmother’s house that my parents had stashed away in a grain bin of all places.
That left me with just a tv stand to buy. Not too bad. Mind you, nothing matches so it makes for a very eclectic looking house, but I don’t mind. I’m actually pretty proud that I was able to get so much used furniture for nothing – I didn’t pay a cent for anything I listed above. My green, ivy patterned couch isn’t leather and it might make an interior decorator choke at the sight of it, but it’s comfy as hell. It’s probably the comfiest couch I’ve ever owned. I like to look at my mismatched furniture as a ode to my frugality. Sure, one day I’ll likely buy new furniture, but that day comes along I’ll have the money saved up to buy quality pieces that I love.
I’m really glad to be able to say I’m not financing a living room set or killing my budget just so I can have matching furniture. Sometimes I feel like there’s a lot of pressure to have the perfect home right off the bat, but really, who cares. As long as there’s a place to sit your ass down, what does it matter?
Do you have much in the way of used furniture? Am I the only one who feels pressured to have brand new furniture?