Assembling a home from scratch

Last weekend, Tony and I finally moved into an apartment in the city where he’ll be teaching this fall (and hopefully spring). We were very lucky to have lots of help from both of our families.

We’ve only been married for a little over two years now, but in that time we’ve built a frugal collection of furniture and other items to fill our home. I was so proud of the compliments we received as our parents helped us unpack and arrange our furniture.

“I love this table.”

“What a lovely lamp.”

“This bed is so nice.”

In our culture, it seems that pride in the things we own most often comes from the expense. Many people collect fancy, overpriced items to fill their homes, and the things they own become a status symbol for their financial success.

I was proud for the opposite reason. Each time someone commented on a piece of furniture or some other item in our home, I was struck by the fact that we’ve assembled all of these things from a hodgepodge of resources — and most of them were very inexpensive or free.

  • The full-sized washer and dryer that were given to us after helping some friends move into a new home.
  • The couch that I bought second-hand for $30.
  • The bed that was passed down to Tony from his grandparents.
  • The coffee table and side tables that were given to me in college by the older couple who owned the bowling alley where I worked.
  • The chair and ottoman that were given to me instead of being dropped off at the thrift store after I saw them in the back of a co-worker’s truck.
  • The television that we bought second-hand from a friend.

The prospect of furnishing a home can be overwhelming when you’re first starting out. Furniture stores prey on newlyweds and new homeowners with 0% interest deals. It’s easy to walk into a furniture store and spend thousands on brand new furniture and appliances. But with a little imagination and ingenuity, it’s just as easy to assemble a beautiful home for next to nothing.

If you’re planning a move, now is the time to start scouting out yard sales, browsing Craigslist, and letting friends and family know that you’re on the lookout for gently used home furnishings. Look at each piece you find with a creative eye. It may look old and worn, but ask yourself if it would benefit from a new coat of paint or an inexpensive couch cover. You’ll be amazed at what you can find for drastically lower prices than in stores. And each well loved item will add a little extra character and history to your home.

One thought on “Assembling a home from scratch

  1. Chris

    Craigslist has been a big help for me. I’ve already bought two couches that way and sold one of them!

Comments are closed.