Home Office Furniture on a Budget

What We Want Imagine a huge mahogany hardwood desk, a credenza (including the hutch with etched glass doors), and adjustable shelving, a 4-drawer lateral file cabinet, an 8′ built in book shelf that runs the length of one wall and a printer/fax machine table, all finished in warm cherry. Now, imagine the $15,000 plus price tag and the dream turns into a nightmare.

What We Can Have The vast majority of us cannot afford to spend that kind of money buying home office furniture. Often, finding an extra couple hundred dollars is difficult. So how do you go about getting attractive, functional and quality furnishings for your home office? Buy used and make it work. You will save hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars and there are more opportunities to use your creativity and resourcefulness.

What To Look For The first piece you should look for is your desk since it tends to be the focal point of a home office. Other pieces can be purchased as you come across them. Perfect matches are not necessary, however you will likely want to look for furniture items with similar lines and styling. Finish is not near as important as quality and sturdiness since those are within your control. Stick with solid hardwoods and metal for your best results. Particle board or manufactured wood does not hold up very well when moved around, and keep in mind that it is likely any used furniture you buy will probably have been moved often.

Where To Look There are many places you can go in search of your office furniture treasures. Check out this list and see if you can come up with any other ideas.

  • Used office furniture stores – usually a large selection but will pay a bit more
  • Thrift stores – rarely find any quality furniture but there have been times
  • Government Auctions – usually when remodeling an old building
  • Garage sales – check local papers and look for item listings
  • Estate sale – some really nice furniture can be picked up here
  • Craigslist.com – check often because good buys go fast

Always be on the look out. You never know when a friend of a friend might have just the book case or wood filing cabinet you’ve been looking for

How To Get A Good Deal Always be prepared to pay cash. Other than a store setup to sell used office furniture and perhaps a thrift store, credit cards will not be accepted. Even at a store, paying in cash may come with a discount. Another thing to keep in mind is to never pay the asking price without making a lower offer. However, this comes with a few caveats. If you know it’s a great deal already, then don’t insult the seller by asking to pay less. If the seller states “firm” in their advertising, then you should respect that. You can drive a bargain without being a jerk.

Paint Instead Of Stain Often used furniture need to be re-finished. If you are not willing to put in the effort, then you need to be sure and purchase a desk or other pieces that you are comfortable using as is. If you are good at stripping and re-staining furniture and that is the look you want, then by all means, go for it. However, if you are not experienced with the process, let me tell you it is rather involved for a large office desk. If you do not enjoy the process you should stick with painting your used furniture. It is quicker, easier and you have an infinite number of options when it comes to color and shades.

Use As Is Of course there is always the option to use your new-to-you home office desk, bookcase or filing cabinet as is, without any re-finishing. Depending on the shape that it is in, this is by far the best option. My brother inherited a simple writing table from my grandfather and it is an awesome addition to his home as is, wear marks and scratches included.

Our society lives fast and we want what we want immediately. However, when it comes to buying home office furniture, if we will slow down and look and wait for bargains they will show themselves to us.