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YES! Weekly’s ten best places to buy cheap furniture

by Amy Kingsley

High Point furniture shops

Convention and Visitors Bureau; Highpoint.org

The folks at the High Point Convention and Visitors Bureau are pretty helpful when it comes to finding some inexpensive furniture. You may have heard that Guilford County’s second largest city has a few sofas and maybe a handful of dresser drawers (the world’s largest is not for sale). If I’m not mistaken, the city still holds the title “Furniture Capital of the World” despite the mass migration of furniture manufacturing to overseas plants. And while most of the wares are not cheap, expensive is a relative term. Discontinued items, market samples and wholesale items can all be had at a fraction of their retail price at locations all over the city. Just call the Visitors Bureau or visit the website for more information.

Architectural Salvage

300 Bellemeade St.; 336.3899118

This retail arm of Preservation Greensboro is not the cheapest place in town to buy furniture. But it is certainly the coolest. Preservation Greensboro’s volunteer SWAT (Saving World Architectural Treasures) Teams spring into action whenever one of those new, overpriced developments supplants a pesky historical landmark like the recently leveled Arbor House. The teams strip buildings of their antique fixtures, clean them slightly then display them at this shop at the intersection of Commerce and Bellemeade Streets. History enthusiasts with limited funds can join one of the salvage teams to earn credit toward purchases at this emporium of all things claw foot. Because volunteers organize, stock and staff the store, its hours are limited to Fridays from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and the first and third Saturday morning of the month. Or call for an appointment.

Habitat for Humanity Re-Store

3826 High Point Road; 336.851.2929

The Re-Store warehouse on High Point Road is the perfect location to engage in a little self-interested philanthropy. It’s not hard. Just browse their selection of inexpensive love seats, dining sets and chifferobes until you find what you’re looking for. The money from your purchase will go right back into the Habitat for Humanity coffers, enabling more families to enjoy safe and healthy housing. It’s consumerism with warm fuzziness where buyer’s remorse used to be. If you have some furniture or appliances to get rid of, the Re-Store will gladly take it off your hands in exchange for a tax deduction. Call the store to arrange a free pickup.

Curbside on garbage day

All except the most pampered among us own at least one piece of furniture intended for the landfill. Mine is a fully operational large screen TV that’s missing a power switch. This “garbage” has been a great improvement over its predecessor, a 10-inch midget of a monitor better suited to broadcasting surveillance video than sporting events. I’ve never found a suitable replacement for the on/off switch. But I have perfected my technique with a pencil to avoid the hair-raising electrical shocks that were at one point the television’s only drawback.

Yard sales

Neighborhoods all over town; usually Saturday and Sunday mornings

It’s no secret that some of the best furniture deals around are the ones brokered in the wee hours of weekend mornings. The uninitiated will find that most yard sales have been stripped down to Loggins & Messina eight tracks and wilted titles from the Danielle Steele back catalog by 10 a.m. So borrow a truck, brew some coffee and start scouring the city early.

Thrift stores

Greensboro and High Point; check for store hours

Goodwill, the Salvation Army, Carolina Thrift and others all have floor space dedicated to vinyl couches, chipped pressboard dressers and kitschy accessories like the carousel horse floor lamp recently spotted at the latter establishment. Prices vary; Carolina Thrift in particular has a habit of overpricing furniture. But their selection is good and it rotates regularly. So if you don’t see anything that strikes your fancy, just wait a week.

White Street Landfill

2503 White St.

This entry is a bit of a cop out. But if you miss the free curbside furniture or simply want to peruse the entire selection of city castoffs, this is the place to go. Besides, my editor Brian Clarey loves the White Street Landfill so much he might dock my pay if I neglect to include it. “Some landfills have a swap shop,” said Operations Manager Scott Bost last fall. “I don’t advertise that we have one here.” One caveat: items salvaged from dumpdom should probably be thoroughly cleaned before they’re used. The landfill is open from 7 a.m. to 4:50 p.m. Monday through Friday and 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturdays.

Really Really Free Market

Lake Daniel Park between Mimosa and East Lake Drives

Sunday July 9 from 1-5 p.m.

The second annual Really Really Free Market is an event aimed at demonstrating what can happen when folks pool their resources. Participants are encouraged to bring a household good or skill to trade for whatever items they need. In deference to Al Gore’s recently released documentary An Inconvenient Truth, event organizers are emphasizing alternative and sustainable ways of living. That’s all well and good, but I would suggest driving a car – just this one time – if you hope to make off with a La-Z-Boy.

Freecycle Greensboro

freecyle.org

The Greensboro Freecycle network, one of more than 3,600 groups worldwide, is open to anyone living within 25 miles of Greensboro who is looking to either get or get rid of stuff. You can link to the local chapter from the national Freecycle website and register to receive group e-mails. The only rule: Everything must be free, legal and available to people of all ages.

Craigslist

Greensboro.craigslist.org

I’m going to go ahead and risk being called a traitor for promoting the online classified service that has struck fear into the hearts of newspaper publishers around the country. But you really can find almost anything on Craigslist, including furniture ranging from costly to cheap. My favorite item is a so-called “French Chair” for $79 that looks like a cross between a love seat and a fainting couch.

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