How to Find Affordable Furniture for College Students
The time has finally come for you to move out of your childhood home and head to college. You’re probably thinking about a million different things — what you want to major in, if you want to pledge a sorority or fraternity, where the best food is on campus and what type of activities you want to try out at school.
You may not have given much thought to how to find inexpensive furniture for a college apartment, but that’s another thing that should be on your list. In fact, it should be near the top of your list. Your apartment will be the place you hang out, study and eat. It has to have the right furnishings to ensure you can do those things easily. Unfortunately, too many college students who don’t think about furniture ahead of time end up overpaying when they get to campus because they’re desperate to furnish their apartments.
Stay ahead of the game with these tips on smart, affordable options to find your college apartment furniture. When you’re prepared, you can buy attractive and durable options for much less money than you’d expect. Here are the best places and ways to buy furniture on a budget:
Tap Older Family Members
Undoubtedly, you know a lot of people who have already lived through the “first apartment” phase of their lives. Take advantage of their knowledge. Talk to them about where they found furniture when they were in college, and how to find the best prices in your area.
Better yet, ask them if they’re currently downsizing or cleaning out furniture. You may find they’re eager to get rid of a couch or headboard that no longer fits with their décor yet would work perfectly in your new living or bedroom. Have your roommates reach out to the older people in their lives, as well, and you may find your luck into several rooms’ worth of furnishings.
Look for City-Wide Garage Sales
It’s smart to look for your new furniture in the city where you will be attending college. That way you won’t have to haul your large pieces all the way to campus from your home, which could be hundreds of miles away.
By shopping at local garage sales, you’ll not only find furniture at reasonable prices, but you’ll also get a feel for your new city by finding these sales on a map and venturing around town. You will also meet new people and perhaps make new friends along the way.
Garage sales are definitely a “buyer beware” situation, though. You won’t get any warranties or lifetime guarantees on what you purchase. Make sure that you:
- Inquire about the furniture’s history — how long has the family had it and when was it made.
- Get details on how the furniture was used. If the family had a dog that curled up on the chair every night and you’re allergic to dogs, the piece probably isn’t a good fit.
- Ask for any directions or booklets that originally came with the furniture, so you know the make and model.
- Haggle on price. If a furniture piece is not in good shape, you might be able to get it cheaper if you ask — politely, of course.
Shop Estate Sales
Estate sales occur when someone needs to get rid of a great number of items at once. The quality of furniture at estate sales is better than at garage sales, though the prices also tend to be higher.
Find Furniture That Pulls Double Duty
An innovative way to save money on college apartment furniture is to only buy items that pull “double duty.” That means purchasing furniture that serves a dual purpose. You might get:
- A dining room table that doubles as a desk
- A couch with a pull-out bed
- A bench with book storage built-in
Ask About Floor Models
If you plan to buy new furniture, see if the floor models at the store are for sale. You can often secure a deep discount on a floor model because it’s got a bit of wear and tear and has been exposed to sun and the elements.
Shop a Campus Move-Out Day
At the end of the year, many colleges sponsor a move-out day sale. Students donate items they don’t want anymore, and then the school or a local charity sells those items for low prices. You can find outstanding deals on accessories such as lamps and tables.
Rent Apartment Furniture
Finally, rentals provide another economical option when looking for easy, inexpensive furniture for students. IFR offers furniture rental packages for low monthly rates that will furnish multiple rooms. You get furniture in excellent condition, and it’s delivered to you, so you don’t have to worry about transportation.
When you follow these tips, you will find inexpensive furniture for your college apartment that will look good and feel comfortable. Now you can move on to the other things on your list — like figuring out that major.