Here’s one “secret” for finding anything under the sun for half price or less. Well, many things anyway.
Part of running a household involves performing regular maintenance. You’ll notice that over time, you’ll eventually need to replace a whole bunch of things at home. Stuff breaks all the time. So for instance, in my case, I’ve been tasked to do something about our dining chairs, which have pretty much croaked under heavy use by our young kids and our heavy “partying” (okay, I kid).
We had to resolve this problem quickly as we were running out of chairs quickly, with seats succumbing to wear one after another. The tricky thing about this was that we wanted to preserve the perfectly fine solid wood dining table that we were using. The table was still in perfect condition. This meant that we had to find chairs that fit the existing table in size and style. So what to do? Here was how I went about getting some furniture for a bargain. I wanted to keep an open mind and tried to be as resourceful as possible, because resourcefulness usually leads to those great deals that save you money.
How I Got Furniture (Dining Chairs) For A Bargain
Here’s my four step plan for finding furniture at great prices.
Step One: Go Online To Determine Basic Prices and Costs
I’m the closest to what you may call the “shopper” in the family, so the first thing I did was to (quite obviously) check on the web for “dining chairs”. Seems straightforward enough, but the basic idea here was for me to determine the ballpark pricing for what we were looking for. For large ticket items, you’ll want to establish basic prices as a starting point so you know what you’re dealing with. Sounds easy right? Well let’s see how it went: I quickly found web sites that popped out hundreds of chairs of various appearance, styles and prices. I also easily established that the going price of online dining chairs that appealed to us was hovering at over $100 each. And this was just for your standard nondescript chair with built in seat cushion!
Well those prices were just NOT going to work. I was starting to worry as the search for the right items to match an existing piece of furniture (e.g. the table) is a challenging feat as we were aiming for some furniture compatibility and aesthetics. Now throw in the “right price” into this mix and it becomes downright impossible to achieve this task in good time.
Step Two: Contact A Local Furniture Store: Hoot Judkins
I am familiar with quite a few furniture stores but one that is synonymous to “wood furniture” is Hoot Judkins. So I decided to give them a call as we had bought some nice wooden pieces from them in the past. Again, I worried over their inventory, wondering if they had enough to choose from. But prices weren’t any better either. So I opted for another type of furniture store.
Step Three: Visit Our Neighborhood Home Consignment Center
I actually enjoy making the rounds of consignment stores and estate sales as I liken it to treasure hunting. Who knows what you’ll find when you plow through the inventory? Unfortunately, during the time I spent hunting for “gold”, I was unable to come up with anything — apparently dining sets aren’t that popular an item in these stores. While I found a tremendous number of sofas, armoires and accessories, there just wasn’t a great selection of dining sets (and chairs(!)) around. But it may simply be a matter of timing and for the time being, I had no luck. So I went on to consider my last resort — the site for used stuff — before resigning myself to paying over $800 for brand new chairs.
Step Four: Stop By An Online Classifieds Site: Craigslist
Desperation was creeping up my neck. I thought about my favorite shopping spot for amazing deals: Craigslist, an online classifieds site that us folks from the Bay Area fervently use like it was our very own eBay. Craigslist is great because you can get big things for good deals and not have to worry about shipping since it’s completely local. I just wasn’t confident I’d be able to find the EXACT chairs I aimed to find as I was looking for smaller sized seats to fit a smaller space, and I preferred to pick up around eight of them to make sure I had spares.
I sifted through pages and pages of dining sets and chairs.
First, I saw what sellers euphemistically called UNIQUE dining chairs. What this really means is that there’s something different or unusual about your set, like if chairs have mismatched colors which some refer to as the “farmhouse” style.
Then I waded through ANTIQUE offerings…
and VINTAGE chairs, which actually means that you’ll need to give it some TLC in order to restore the items to their former glory (and get rid of those rips!). Or maybe you’d like to buy the stuff for their added character?
But waddaya know? After eyeballing lists upon lists of people’s used merchandise, I stumbled upon an ad for a set which I thought could work out. I crossed my fingers and paid the seller a visit and just like that, it was one of those “buy at first sight” moments. I forked over $400 for 10 (that’s TEN!) upholstered chairs in great condition and was thrilled that my search was over (the seller was nice enough to let me take the chairs without the matching table). Yeah, that’s a super value of $40 for each solid, nicely finished piece that’s a reasonable fit.
The chairs sit well with my decor (with or without slipcovers), and I now have a lot of spares for when I have larger parties.
The moral of this story: If you can’t find what you’re looking for at a given price, don’t give up on USED STUFF! There’s a treasure trove of neat stuff in online classified ad sites, consignment stores, forums or estate and garage sales. Perseverance has its rewards! So far, this strategy hasn’t failed us yet.
Created June 12, 2007. Updated March 19, 2012. Copyright © 2012 The Digerati Life. All Rights Reserved.