Home Furnishing from Most Expensive to Least Expensive

My husband and I are revamping our home a little, which necessitates new (to us) furniture, storage solutions, and home décor. Though it’s tempting to run out to the nearest home furnishing store and pick up the things we need, that’s not how we roll.

When making major purchases, we always consider our options, from most expensive to least expensive. Then we work our way up through the options, and settle on the least expensive option that meets our needs.

One of the purchases we’re considering is a new dining room table. Our current table is old and wobbly, and quite frankly, too small to meet our needs.

We want a table that expands to seat at least eight, as we host a lot of family holiday dinners. We can come up with a few extra chairs, but we’d like at least six chairs to come with the set. Our preferred color is black, as that’s what matches the rest of our décor, but we can be flexible. Here are some of our options.

Most Expensive – Retail Store

JC Penney
I found this table set at JC Penney. The most expensive option would actually be a furniture store, but the furniture stores in our area don’t post prices online. So for the purpose of this article, I’m going with a department store.

This is the West End Mocha Standard Height Group. The table is 36” x 54”, but expands to a 54” square. I’d much rather add length than have a big square table, but it is what it is. It comes with 6 chairs and costs $619, down from an original price of $1,249.

That’s actually not a bad buy, but I think I can do better.

Expensive – Second Hand

Craigslist

Another option is to try to buy used. I search Craigslist for furniture a lot. I like Craigslist, because you can often find good quality for a low price. The downside is, sometimes it takes a while to find what you’re looking for.

I found this set on Craigslist last night, and it’s very similar to the JC Penney set. The table can be expanded to seat eight, and it comes with six chairs. Craigslist Price: $300.

Least Expensive – Make Do With What I Have

Dining Table
The last option is to make do with what we have. Our table is 36” x 60”, and it’s not expandable. We have four chairs, thought it wouldn’t be too difficult to find more chairs that match.

The problem is that we bought the table nearly 10 years ago from Fred Meyer. It’s held up well for a cheap table, but at this point it’s wobbly from too many moves, stained from kiddie crafts, and scratched from an over-exuberant dog (not our current dog). In addition, it’s way too small for our family gatherings.

What will I do? I’ll probably continue to search Craigslist and wait for a table that is exactly what I want. Patience is the key to frugality.



Author

By , on Nov 7, 2010
Lynnae McCoy I'm Lynnae, wife of one and stay-at-home mom of two. I'm committed to getting out of debt by being frugal with my choices in life.

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{15 Comments}

  1. Nona Mills:

    We’re currently using a card table that we got for free from Freecycle and two parson chairs that our landlord threw in the trash! It’s just the two of us, we never get company and we really don’t even eat in the kitchen so this setup works perfectly for us for now. We plan on moving to a different state in a year, so no need to invest in furniture that will just cost us more money to transport 1000+ miles. When we get to our final housing destination…THEN the Craigslist shopping will begin! :) Wonder if you can sell your table for anything? Heck even $25 or $50 could be put towards your new table. I look forward to reading about your final choice!

  2. Danielle:

    Another option for buying furniture is estate auctions. We were in desperate need of a new dining room table and managed to get a wonderful Thomasville table with two leaves at an auction for $250. You do have to be willing to wait until an auction is scheduled, I guess you have to wait for Craigslist too.

  3. Robert:

    You could find another table like the one you have with four chairs. put them together for the extra guests, or just have two tables. Really,almost anything will work except spending a lot of money.

  4. Janet:

    I think the JCPenny option is a great buy … what a discount! The Craigslist also looks very similar and is half the price, leaving it in the running, too. I agree with Erika that you could negotiate to get it for less.

    As a big fan of refurnishing, if you decide to save a few hundred and keep what you have, why not give it a new look? Either a dark stain as it seems you prefer, or a Pottery Barn-like rustic white or sage green? I think with a fresh matte coat with a hint of distress, coupled with cushions and a flower arrangement from your backyard … you’ll really like the results. You may enjoy the creative project, too :)

  5. ERIN:

    “Patience is the key to frugality”

    So, so true! I looked forever for wood chairs for our dinning table. I have a green farmhouse table I scored a deal on many years ago, its solid & sturdy & I love it, but it had no chairs! Chairs can be pricey, even on craigslist. I finally found two heavy solid wood ladder-back chairs at a garage sale ($6) and a week later a friend of mine was getting ride of 4 wood chairs for FREE:) They don’t match, but I don’t care at this point ( I have small children)and we plan on painting them all. It was hard being patient, but I’m so glad I was!

    I also hunted for months for a computer armoir that closed up to hide my office/computer, I finally found a beautiful, perfect one on craigslist for $75! yay

  6. Peach:

    We’re currently using a card table that we got for free from Freecycle and two parson chairs that our landlord threw in the trash! It’s just the two of us, we never get company and we really don’t even eat in the kitchen so this setup works perfectly for us for now. We plan on moving to a different state in a year, so no need to invest in furniture that will just cost us more money to transport 1000+ miles. When we get to our final housing destination…THEN the Craigslist shopping will begin! :)

    Wonder if you can sell your table for anything? Heck even $25 or $50 could be put towards your new table. I look forward to reading about your final choice!

  7. Toni:

    How about making a table? You must check out ana-white.com aka Knock Off Wood. She designs and posts easy DIY plans for free for beautiful furniture on a budget. She has some beautiful farmhouse table plans.

  8. Kathleen Johnson:

    In the meantime, you can take a 4×8 piece of plywood and cover it with a pad and a pretty tablecloth, put it on top of your existing table, and, voila, you have a huge table for holiday gatherings. Keep a bunch of folding chairs in the garage with the plywood and you are ready for anything. You can make covers for the chairs that match the tablecloth.

  9. Erika:

    Don’t forget that you can make a cash offer on the craigslist table. Offer $200 see if they take it or possibly come back with something in the middle. With younger kids, crafts, and homeschooling I wouldn’t go with a new table since it might see too much wear and tear.

  10. Rhonda:

    I appreciated how you wrote this article in the thought process of the type of purchase you wish to make. We started with a table much like the one you have now 16 yrs ago. Being in the Navy, we moved around a lot too, therefore, legs got wobbly. Still, we held onto it, secured legs, refinished the top, but we did add benches because the chairs didn’t last as long. It is a durable table top, it has been used for crafting, eating, and homeschool.

    I do love the set(s) you’re looking @…so, I am curious to see which way you go. Thank you ladies for your comments, it has been educational!

    Aloha,
    Rhonda

  11. No matter which option you choose, I would make certain that no matter how beautiful the table is, that you really inspect it well to make sure that it is solid, hard wood, a variety of hard wood that you feel comfortable with spending that kind of money on. Lots of beautiful tables are cheap wood with good lacquer or staining jobs, but they don’t hold up to daily and yearly use.

    When we remodeled our kitchen, we told the person helping us with cabinets from a national chain store that we wanted a hard wood that would be very durable and not scratch or mar easily. She encouraged us to buy ash, I think it was, which is considered a hard wood but is very soft. It was a huge mistake, and we didn’t know enough to tell her no, and select a different type of wood. Thus, our 6-year-old kitchen cabinets have mars and marks on them just from normal daily use, and it’s a shame that we spent that kind of money on cabinets that are already showing wear and tear no matter how careful we are in the kitchen.

    Our dining room table needs to be refinished again, but it was destined for the dump by one of our relatives. It is a very heavy and solid table, and we will refinish it one day, for the second time, or hire someone to put another solid surface of hard wood on top of it. I know that this isn’t probably an option with the table you currently own, but I would make certain that you find out which hardwoods are the most durable, and only look for tables which are made of those specific types of woods. Otherwise, you’ll be in the same boat again, in another few years – or less.

  12. I think you can find great quality and price on craigslist. However, sometimes it’s worth it to get exactly what you want too. As for making do. I think you’ve gotten a good run out of your cheap set.

    We just bought our first matching dining set about a year ago for $25 on our local classifieds. We will probably use the set for at least 5 more years or until we have our “forever” house and decide what kind of dining table we really want. I’ll keep my fingers crossed that you do find what you want for a great price on craigslist!

  13. I vote Craigslist or JC Penney. They are both beautiful sets! And you are getting a good deal if you go with the new one. Make sure you let us know what you decide!

  14. julia:

    I say invest in a quality piece. If you use the table every day for ten years you’re spending under 20 CENTS per day. Yes there is a high up front cost but the long term use negates this. Take your time (set aside the money in your budget) and find a set you really enjoy but buy new from the store.

  15. AngelSong:

    I agree with waiting….patience is a virtue. Have you considered revamping your current table, perhaps tightening it to reduce wobbliness or refinishing it? You could also add a foldable table for family gatherings.

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