Where do smart but poor people buy furniture?


I needed a dining table so started looking around. Where do you get a bargain on furniture?

The stuff at places like super amart and fantastic furniture is horrible quality. You can lift there dining tables up with one finger. At ikea its pricey unless you want to get something that falls into the super amart category.

Everywhere else who sells stuff which have a chance of lasting is mega expensive.

I ended up spending just short of a grand for an acceptable table and chairs set.



  • +10 votes

    2nd hand. Need to wait a bit, but bargains come up every so often. I got a solid timber queen bed frame for $50 :) Needed some liquid nails, but have had it now for 3 years and it hasn't budged.

  • +8 votes

    Second hand is the way to go if you want cheap durable furniture.

    Try Gumtree. Or just drive around and look for paper ads that people put up.

    • +2 votes

      Yes!!! Gumtree is the place!!!
      My wife had some household furniture from a deceased estate. Went to Gumtree to sell.
      Didn't take long to realise that a lot of good furniture is given away - sellers soon realise that their price expectations are way too high.
      Even Vinnies are too expensive when compared to Gumtree.

    • +3 votes

      Another + for Gumtree
      We got a solid wood extension table and 6 wood chairs with cushions for $200. (add on $50 to your budget for trailer hire if you can't borrow one)
      Plenty of stuff on there to suit any taste..
      Shouldn't take more than a week to find something you like the look of and at a price that is fair.

      The best bit about buying used is that someone has already (inevitably) dented it, so when you dent it, you don't worry about it nearly as much.

  • +2 votes

    'when' more than 'where'! wait for local council recycling/general waste/2nd hand garage sale days and you could pickup good free stuff! it's amazing what you can find, last time i got a near new Ryobi electric blower/vac for nix…

  • +2 votes

    Anywhere but fantastic furniture or ikea.

    You haven't mentioned where you are, so its a bit hard to recommend any local places.


    • +1 vote

      Whats wrong with Ikea?
      We just just bought an installed an Sofa bed and Book shelf in the kids room.

      Its not Natuzzi but its not that bad as well.

      If it given me 2-3 years then its paid itself out.

      • +5 votes

        I think you made the point perfectly. It is disposable chipboard. Furniture should last a LOT more than 2 or 3 years.

        Ikea is modelled on an affordable and perhaps unique shopping experience, not long lasting value.

        • +2 votes

          I guess its all relevance. Whats the point of having a $20000k sofa set when you will have your 2 and 5 yrs olds jump all over it? Wouldn't that lessen the life span?

          Furniture should last more than 2 yrs but if you getting the same furniture for less than 1/3 th price so the the yrs should diminish equally.

          Anyways, each to their own. We are very happy with the sofa bed and book shelf we bought from ikea for out kids room.


          got a futon from ikea when i was 15. I'm 27 and i've still got it. Had to replace 3 boards (free, took them from another bed) and replaced the foam ($250). Frame is still 100% including the folding mechanism. Was there a few weeks back and they haven't changed the design in 15 years.

      • +1 vote

        I too have never understood the reverence some people have for Ikea. Just like unbranded electronics from China, Ikea's philosophy is to make everything as cheaply as possible. A particleboard bookcase that bows significantly in the middle of the shelf with a full book load, is not a real bookcase, though it it would function as an acceptable display case.

    • +2 votes

      Ikea is ok for stuff like tables and chairs. Not Sofas.
      Fantastic furniture sofas on the other hand are worse than a kerbside ridden 1950's grandma's sofa with floral print on which the neighbours dog just wee'd. I have 2 and have been regretting them ever since i bought them.


        And why is it not okay for Sofas?
        We have one and its chugging along just fine…


          only because you can get similar sofas cheaper at 'regular' sofa retailers during a sale (which is almost all through out the year).


        one of the best/most comfortable (and largest depth) leather (probably fake leather) lounges ive ever been on is a ikea one. vreta i think it was. it wasnt cheap though…


    Furniture galore is decent for the price.

  • +4 votes
    • Grab the local community paper for an affluent area
    • look at the garage sales for people moving away etc
    • Profit
  • +3 votes

    Just move house with a house full of furniture so pathetic that the removalist comes back the next day and offers you a fantastic one for free…that's how we got our awesome dining table!

    Otherwise Gumtree, garage sales and Christmas sales.

  • +1 vote

    Vinnies. We've got some really good furniture over time. You might have to wait a while to get the furniture you like.

  • +2 votes

    Ask around your extended friends…someone will know someone who is getting rid of something. I picked up an awesome leather lounge this way


    Don't pick up furniture on the side of the street. There's a reason it's being thrown out and even if the last tenant was just moving it out, you don't know how long it's been sitting there, been pissed on, etc.

    Go to Vinnie's, garage sales, etc. You won't be able to find what you want all year round though. I suggest Ikea for the rest.


      heard horror stories about picking up old lounges and having a nest of mice/cockroaches inside them

    • +1 vote

      You must live in a downmarket area! Generally, if you would not want to live there, you don't want to scrounge there.

      My first share house as a poor student in central Brissie was full of furniture from the street, and never had an issue. B&O TV, Bose speakers, the works! Best thing is you can upgrade next cleanup :-)

      I've picked up a bronze sculpture by a known local artist after he died (checked with widow that was OK to take off kerbside pile), & plenty of great stuff, and my neighbour threw out an almost new Ikea table & office chair, good wooden garden setting, plus other great stuff a few weeks back - with a sign to take it. Now they know to throw it my way.

      Paid for 2 x 3 month trips to Europe 2005-06 from selling clothes driers I scrounged from streets over a few months & repaired (with parts from machines I could not fix). Only cost was petrol for my old car, & never travelled more than 10km radius of home.

      • +1 vote

        when I lived in Tokyo (the ultimate consumerist society) there was a set of 6 high rise apartment buildings near mine. every 2 weeks they had hard rubbish collection. I refurnished my apartment within a month. the stuff being thrown out was amazing . saw an entire near new drum kit. computers. tvs. furniture. etc.

        plus most items that were "broken" were 2 second repairs. e.g. fuse. slipped wire, etc.

        And then don't get me started on when I lived in Sendai (North Japan) and the universities (mostly private) would have their annual hard rubbish clean outs. piles of computers that were a few years old (stripped them for HDD, RAM, M/B's) picked up a 2 year old mac that only needed a new M/B battery! insane

      • +1 vote


  • +5 votes

    Being a poor Uni student in a share house, I shop around in the factory seconds / overflow places (there are a couple of good ones here in Canberra down in Fyshwick).
    Last time I went, I picked up six hardwood dining chairs for $50 each, a nearby shop had ordered too many of them… all high quality and visually perfect (and somewhat heavy!)
    If you're not overly fussed about the colour of an item or getting exactly the design you want, you can save a fortune by shopping like this.


    Well I was going to say Furniture Galore but it looks like I shall be shouted down! Anyways (ear muffs covering one's ears), here goes. Gone are the days when flat packed furniture had missing items or didn't fit properly. I have purchased a tv cabinet (about 3 metres long and glossy black) at an extremely nice price (cannot recall) after looking for ages for what I wanted. Spent hours at night putting the thing together (I am a little on the slow side) but every thing lined up perfectly for me. No tools to purchase. If I had purchased ready made would have cost considerably more for the same result. I also purchased a glass door cabinet for the display of son's multiple Star Wars Lego (that was gathering dust everywhere…). Result: Couldn't be happier with construction (mine), price and appearance. If you have a little time and patience I would suggest buying these kits. Try something in the smaller range first though.


      Ps. I believe I may have meant to say Fantastic Furniture … They are both in Frankston-Dandenong Road, Dandenong South (albeit either side of highway) so it was a bit difficult to remember the correct one.



    I don't find anything wrong with being able to lift a coffee table up with one finger as long as it holds my coffee cups and my feet when im watching TV.

    IKEA "Lack" table for $10 is great IMO


      My fiancé keeps buying those lack tables. I think we have around 5 now.

      Hold my feet and coffee well.

  • -2 votes

    After flood in Brisbane my friend got all guy next doors wooden stuff. After she lost all here cheep stuff. It it was total upgrade. cheep stuff cheep good never go together buy what u can afford.

  • +7 votes

    read through his comment 3 times still doesnt make sense.

  • +1 vote

    I highly reccomend Furniture Depot on dandenong Frankston road, dandenong south, big blue building!


    focus on furniture have some good deals sometime.




    Write a list of what furniture is needed for each room (maybe put on separate notes in your phone and include dimensions (eg Living Room: Lamp,60cm; Side Table max length 90 cm.)Look out for these things in Vinnies. Consider auctions. Read every catalogue, subscribe to furniture store's emails for early heads up on sales. Stay focused on the things you really need. Retro furniture is in which makes Vinnies a good haunt. With personal style and a bit of love even daggy furniture can look good, and be sold again when you can afford to replace it. The list will stop you spending money on trivia.

    Not cheap but very good deal that I just got last week 2.5 seater with chaise top grade leather lounge plus another 2.5 seater from Nick Scali for $3590. $7k value. Worth it for an item that we will get 15 years out of. http://www.nickscali.com.au/lounges/karise-chaise-lounge.htm...

    Also find a good brand you like eg Jimmy Possum table and regularly pug it into Gumtrees and see if it turns up.


    Have a look at www.ozrecycle.com.

    Furniture offered all the time for free.


    I grabbed a $40 tv stand at Kmart. Only because the $10 and $20 coffee tables was out of stock.


    IKEA can be cheap, but also outrageously expensive.

    Cheap: BILLY shelves with doors. Nothing in its price range competes and the shelves are actually well built. Yes it's wood veneer, but if you don't start gouging it it'll look fine for a very long time. I've seen basic particle board furniture survive decades.

    Expensive: Many of the sofas and specialty products.

    Have a look at IKEA USA to see if the item there is similarly priced or up to double the price here. Good indication if we're paying the Australia Tax on an item (because it's still 1980 and people don't know how much stuff costs elsewhere).

    Someone I know bought a set of expensive Italian leather recliners for their living room. Very comfortable and quite stunning to look at. Now the cat has jumped onto them and scratched them up in places. They wish they had something a bit cheaper and wouldn't care so much.

  • +1 vote

    It depends on how much you want to spend and what I'm talking about only applys if you want decent quality non second hand furniture.

    I wouldn't recommend chipboard or mdf throw together especially with a dining table. Value for money wise I'm a big fan of rubber wood, your not going to get Australian made but then again if your after a bargain then don't bother looking. Aussie made is hundreds more than their Indonesian and Maylasian counterparts.

    All furniture stores that are worth going to are able to haggle and you may be amazed at some of the prices they pay.
    I know for a fact that stores can get decent quality soft wood Tv Units (1800mm long) for under $200 at their cheapest. This isn't veneer or chipboard/mdf crap this is solid stained pine. As a general rule in the shop that I worked we would take the purchase price and sell them at 220% of that price with 25% discounts possible and free delivery to local areas available on top of that.

    The cheapest reliably decent furniture supplier that I dealt with was M Design but they are imported. If you want Australian made then don't delude yourself into thinking Aussie made is better quality then imported, often with furniture it can be the opposite.
    Cheap Australian made furniture is generally slapped together by apprentices as quickly and cheaply as possible, I've seen hundreds of split panels and bad stain jobs. If you want good quality Australian made furniture then be prepared to pay for it though.

    Imported solid furniture is also slapped together for as little cost as possible but they are almost all jig made, meaning that someone has gone to a hell of a lot of effort to ensure that the people putting them together have only the smallest margins of error. They don't just build a couple at a time they build hundreds of them so they build them with the same amount of glue and nails and to brave a trip on a container.

    It is frustrating as hell but timber can be sent overseas, have someone dress it, cut it, build a piece of furniture, stain it and send it back cheaper than most people can build Australian made. When you buy Aussie made your paying for the labour and not quality.

    Whatever you do don't bother looking at Harvey Norman, I've seen furniture in there selling at 4 and 5x their cost price don't think that them dropping $400 off a $1600 piece is a big deal they're still making a killing.


    I went looking for furniture this weekend.

    This place really stood out to me for very good quality and only just a bit more than Ikea pricing - http://www.bevmarks.com.au/

    Mainly Audtralian made too. The stuff is good, it weighs 2x what the same thing at Ikea does, good styles and the option to customise because its local.

    That's where the smart and poor person would buy, if they want a job in the future and to not be poor. I.e. IT support, website design, state manager for a local furnature company.


    ikea has some decent furniture and wont break your wallet.


    Another option is going to a auction where they are clearing out furniture. We bought our dining set 15 years ago. Still using it as it fits our dining area perfectly. Our chairs are starting to look yucky due to spills etc from kids. Think husband paid $600 for the set which included 6 chairs.


    Ask on OzBargain, I'm sure a few of these guys are hoarders (i have a spare fridge, washing machine, couches, beds & split system airconditioners - too expensive to install :P

    As for the budget furniture places:

    • Ikea - cheap, stylish, will last a couple of years

    • Fantastic furniture - better build quality than ikea, less options, cheaper for the same thing

    • A-mart - dont go anywhere near this place, i bought a dining suite from these guys & all of the chairs broke under the weight of 80-90kg people … all of them … after the first two colapsed under people, I installed some heavy duty wood screws into the remaining chairs, but they only lasted another couple of months - they must use cardboard instead of wood


    Natuzzi - interesting designs, but when I was looking at a couch with the wife, they said "that one's $10,000, but we can drop the price by $2,000 becuase that's the price of the cushions", I suggested they drop the price to $2,000 including the cushions, then walked out …

    Classic Timbre Furniture - nice looking designs, extremely long wait times as most items come on a slow boat from china (litterally) - some issues with the end product (i.e. burgundy chesterfield on the floor may be completely different to the burgundy chesterfiedl that gets delivered due to the construction & dying process being done by hand

    • Le Cornu - best quality of the budget stores around Adelaide, just be patient & wait for a sale prices or hunt their clearance section

    • Radio Rentals - (Adelaide has the Main Nth Road store) this place has the furtniture & electrical goods that people have rented, then not been able to afford or purchase, some quite good stuff, cheap & with additional discounts … good place to find cheap TV's

  • +1 vote

    BUY??? Google freecycle!
    And after you offer something free, you can post a wanted notice for things you want. Got lots of great free stuff.

    And ask friends. (especially if leaving Oz!) Got free return flights to HK, furniture, even offered good free car, tools, etc.

  • +1 vote

    Smart but poor people buy on Gumtree, get through Freecycle or pick up at verge collections.
    I furnished my whole house except for my bedroom with excellent quality and condition second hand/free furniture. Genuine leather couches in brand new condition, $500. Solid wooden dining table and 6 chairs (excellent quality and condition), $220. etc etc.

    For reasonably priced brand new stuff, I'd recommend liquidators. Eg Prime Liquidators in Perth if you like Asian/Balinese style furniture.


    Seriously, you can't go past eBay if you've got a few weeks up your sleeve to wait for the right item to pop up. Furniture is one of those things that loses heaps of its value once you buy it, so you can get nice stuff on eBay or gumtree for less than Ikea prices, but way better quality. Personally I'm a bit squeamish about secondhand upholstered items, I wouldn't buy couches or mattresses etc, but I don't see a problem with wooden items.

    Haven't been impressed with Ikea furniture personally, it looks really shabby really quickly. Also, Early Settler often has surprisingly good prices on solid timber stuff…depends on your personal taste though.


    eBay, never bought furniture but I've sold stuff for a fraction of what it orignally cost me.

    Agree with Gumtree as well. Sitting here on an ergonomic office chair (cant remember name but competitor to aeron) costs over $1K in shops brand new, found a guy on gumtree who had bought 20 for his business, kept them in the garage but business never took off and he never leased office premises. I found him on gumtree and bought mine off him, still in plastic wrapping for $200


    I agree that eBay and Gumtree are great, but if you want to see lots of furniture in a showroom, go to a place that sells ex-display furniture, such as Suite Deals in Richmond or Big Brand Outlet (BBO) in Dandenong (sorry, I only know Melbourne shops).


    I was buying an electric mower off gumtree. the blokes mother was moving into a retirement home and everything was in a storage shed and had to be cleared out. pointed out the freshly re-upholstered couch and said "that's nice" he said I could have it. I pointed at the 50's style floor lamp and said "that's nice" he said I could have it. almost new mower (Ozito) for $50 + free couch and free floor lamp.


    "You can lift there dining tables up with one finger"

    I find it funny that the title refers to 'smart' people, but the OP can't differentiate between simple grammatical uses of 'there' and 'their'.

    Anyway, I agree with whats been said. You should try to pick some things up second-hand - the quality of furniture is rubbish in a lot of stores.


    Okay O'Brien. What (have) you been sniffing in that engine room now! [:o

    Another option that some may not be aware of:
    Some retirement villages have open/market type days once a month where furniture, furnishings and all manner of household items of past residents (that have moved on to nursing homes etc.) are sold. Most are exceptionally cheap and in very good order. Funds raised usually go to a good cause; for the residents benefits or to their desired charities. I don't think it appropriate to mention the names of the ones I am aware of though, as they don't advertise these events but rely on word of mouth. Suggest you ring your local establishments and see what events they may run.

  • +1 vote

    Lot of stuff above, and haven't read it all, but here's my suggestion.

    1. You're in Perth. Look at the council website that covers the area where all the rich folk live - it will probably detail the next hard rubbish collection. Use this information in the obvious way. As discussed above, some councils have passed local bylaws prohibiting the taking of hard rubbish. Do what i & most other people do: ignore the local bylaws. RRRR - Reduce Reuse Recyle Rehabilitate. That last one i made up.

    2. Find out which of all the Op Shops/Vinnies etc stock furniture. If it's close, start paying the shop a visit - something will show up, but you have to be persistent.


      I had neighbours charged with stealing; they took items left out for kerbside collection by Casey Council. Apparently once left they become property of Council. Just saying. We used to leave sawn up tree logs on nature strip with a sign "free firewood" and they thankfully used to disappear overnight. Some people really rely on wood fires because of the utilities hikes. Don't see how that can be stealing …


        I seem to recall a council in Melb somewhere introducing the same BS bylaws, but then getting rid of them because of the public backlash.

        In terms of being charged with 'stealing', i think you mean fined under the council bylaw, yes? - a bit like getting a parking fine. That is, a non-police matter.


    And if looking at garage sales and gumtree, try looking for items in well off suburbs. Generally people there buy good quality items and also upgrade often.


    Go check out zilch website. Sometimes (often) dining tables are on there for free and they're good ones