8 Tips for Furnishing a Home on a Budget

If you’re a first-time home buyer, there are plenty of things on your mind — but chief among them may be furnishing your home, as it’s an important part of making your living space comfortable and your own. As you start to find pieces that make your home uniquely yours, you may realize there are many things you need for your new home — and it can add up quickly! That’s why you’ll want to be cost-conscious when picking out furniture and décor. To transform your new home without breaking the bank, we've highlighted eight simple ways you can furnish your house on a budget.

1. Set a Firm Home Furnishing Budget

The first and most important part of shopping for furniture on a budget is setting a budget. Make sure that you’ve created a firm budget — a maximum amount of money to spend that you will not cross — so that you can set expectations for yourself and your home right away. By having a firm budget, you’ll be able to more easily weed out furnishing that is inessential or too expensive and make the purchasing process more efficient.

How much should I budget to furnish a house?

According to ForRent, the average person spends $8,000 on furniture. An additional $3,500 is spent if the homeowner has more than one bedroom, and $120 for each additional bathroom. While these numbers can be used as a start for your budget, this number is unique to each homeowner’s situation and can be lessened with the tips provided below.

2. Be Willing to Settle

Furnishing on a budget requires compromise. Chances are if you stick to your firm budget you won’t be able to buy every piece you want — but you will save money. If necessary, opt for less expensive wood finishes or a design that’s close enough to that pricy sofa of your dreams.

3. Shop for Furniture Online

Although shopping at big furniture stores has the advantage of letting you try and see pieces in-person — it’s not always the budget-friendly option. Online stores such as Birch Lane or Furniture.com tend to offer furniture at lower prices than in-store counterparts because they don’t have to cover the expenses associated with brick and mortar stores. As an additional bonus, delivery fees are also often included with online furniture purchases as well.

4. Visit Thrift Shops

Sometimes you need to get thrifty. Your local thrift shop may have that couch or dresser you’ve been searching for at a fraction of the price for a brand-new equivalent. Thrift shop furniture won’t be in pristine condition—but often the prices are impossible to beat.

5. Keep an Eye Out for Garage Sales

You may not have to look beyond your own neighborhood for that end table you’re after. Shopping at garage sales can be a convenient and very affordable way to find home furnishing. If you’re garage sailing locally, chances are your neighbor will cut you a great deal just so they can part ways with the furniture they don’t need anymore. For more information, check out our garage sale buying tips and garage sale safety tips.

6. Wait for Holiday Sales

That new bed frame you want may be expensive now but check again during the holidays. It’s very common for retailers to have big furniture sales during holidays such as Fourth of July, Labor Day and Black Friday. These sales are usually when you can find the best deals and lowest prices on all types of furniture. If you can live without it for now, you may be able to buy for less if you wait until the holidays.

7. Turn on Price Alerts (Price Watching)

Many retailers offer many ways shoppers can be notified when a product they’re interested in goes on sale. Price alerts — such as signing up to be notified via email when a piece of furniture you are interested in goes on sale — can be an effective way of monitoring furniture deals and give you notifications the instant the piece you want is more affordable. Price checking apps such as PriceGrabber and Honey can also be effective tools for knowing when furniture you want is cheaper, and where to get it.

8. Get Creative and DIY

If you’re up to the challenge, you can always make your own furniture or refurbish old furniture. Unique lamps, curtains, coffee tables and many other pieces can be created with only your own tools and elbow grease — often at the fraction of the costs of retail prices. Sometimes all it takes is a refinish and supplies like varnish to make an old dresser or table look brand new. It takes time, but the results will be worth the effort.

Protect Your Home Furnishings

Furnishing a home on a tight budget is challenging, but possible. Once furnished, your home is now more valuable and a greater investment. That’s why it’s important to protect your home — and what’s within it. Talk to your American Family Insurance agent to learn more about the home insurance options right for you.


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