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Cheap Furniture vs Affordable Furniture - A practical buying guide

Updated on December 5, 2014

Buying Used Furniture

All of the above mentioned criteria play into the equation but you are usually paying anywhere from 10% of retail up to 75% of retail.

So where can I find a good deal on Used Furniture and how do I know what I am getting? What about delivery? What about browsing/shopping options?

Consignment stores

- Typically price their furniture between 40 – 75% of retail.

- Typically have their product professionally cleaned

- Typically offer delivery services through a 3rd party delivery company (starting around $100)

- Browsing inventory can be done all in one location and many times you can browse online for even more convenience

Thrift Stores

- Typically price their furniture between 5 – 25% of retail.

- Typically do NOT have their product professionally cleaned

- Typically do NOT offer delivery service

- Browsing inventory can be done all in one location but online browsing is usually not an option.

Craigslist or other Social Platform

- Furniture listed is typically priced between 20-40% of retail

- Most people do not have their furniture professionally cleaned (some are downright disgusting)

- Delivery service is rarely offered

- Online browsing is very convenient but customers must travel to multiple locations (other people’s homes) to see the furniture in person.

OC Recycled Furniture (A combination of the 3 other options)

- Furniture is priced between 20% - 40% of retail

- All Furniture is professionally cleaned

- Professional Delivery service is offered and is less than $50 for most customers

- Online browsing is available as well as a large showroom location.

OC Recycled Furniture is like a consignment store but with lower prices and additional services offered. How could we stay in business with these prices?

- Because our delivery service is provided by employees of OC Recycled Furniture we are able to offer much lower prices than the companies that use a 3rd party Delivery Company. We are also able to stand behind our delivery service with our guarantee.

- Because we own all the furniture in our store (no consignment means no middle-man)

  • This accounts for a big part of consignment prices (you have to figure the consignment store is giving 40 – 50% of the sale price back to the actual owner of the furniture, which means they have to price it higher so they can make their cut.

- Because the reconditioning and cleaning is all done in house by our employees we are able to keep our costs down.

Buying New Furniture

With new furniture you get what you pay for. I cannot stress this enough. If you buy a cheap couch, you get a cheaply built couch. If you buy a cheap dresser, you get a cheaply built dresser. Etc… Yes you can get a brand new sectional for $600 and you can get a very “SIMILAR” sectional for $1,500, so what is the difference beside the obvious $900 price difference? It’s all in the overall build of the couch and the way that a manufacturer can cut corners to get that price down. There are 3 major corners that a manufacturer will cut to build a low cost sectional/couch.

1) The frame and structure (aka the bones of the couch)

  • This is all in the quality of wood used. Hardwoods vs soft woods, particle board, paneling board thickness, etc…
  • The $600 sectional will have very brittle bones and very thin paneling board, this not only saves money on materials but also in the cost of shipping.

2) The Fill material used for the cushions

  • What material did they use in the cushions and back rest, Goose Down, Foam, Springs, polyester filling, or a combination of these?
  • Higher end furniture might use Goose Feather back rests and Foam Cushions wrapped in Goose Feathers.
  • The $1,500 sectional would most likely consist of polyester filled back rests and foam cushions (there is a range of foam densities used, but I won’t get into that right now).
  • The $600 sectional will most likely consist of polyester filled back rests and metal spring cushions wrapped in foam and polyester.

3) The material used to upholster the furniture

  • Is it real leather, “dura-blend” leather, naugahyde, vinyl, microfiber, cotton, etc..
  • When it comes to “leather” many people are told they are getting a leather couch but soon realize that the “leather” is peeling, which means it’s not leather at all.
  • When it comes to microfiber and cotton, a lot of this has to do with thickness, materials and manufacturing process.

In Conclusion if you were to buy a New $600 sectional, you would most likely be getting a cheap frame with paneling board and “brittle bones”, foam wrapped spring cushions and cheap cloth or fake leather. These couches look nice, but usually are uncomfortable and will literally fall apart within a short time. When buying new you should always opt to pay a little more. Although a $1,500 sectional is would not be considered a high end sectional, it will most likely have a sturdy frame, real cushions, and decent fabric.


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