Frugal furniture shopping: The benefits of buying cheap furniture


Falguni Bharadwha, a first-year computer science masters student, walked into her new home on South Campus last semester with her housemates and was met with a completely empty space.

It was then they knew that they had to turn that house into a home.

“We literally had to buy everything,” Bharadwha said. “We ordered a lot of stuff online from Amazon. We got the closet on Amazon [and] my study table is from IKEA. My cousins live around Ohio so they bought it and sent it to me.”

IKEA is well known for having cheap furniture that’s relatively easy to put together – minus the inevitable instance of a beginner homeowner putting together a new coffee table and losing a screw that keeps the coffee from sliding off the table.

But sometimes all students need for furniture is a graduating senior.

“We got some stuff from seniors who were moving out and were OK with getting rid of their bulkier possessions,” Bharadwha said.

Graduating seniors can be a convenient source for furniture, as they’re often trying to get rid it since they probably won’t want to lug their bureau hundreds of miles across the state on the hood of their car.

Sometimes when students can’t find anyone to take the furniture off of their hands they end up donating their furniture to the Salvation Army. Students might consider going to the Salvation Army if they are in search of cheap furniture.

“I’ve never gotten anything from the Salvation Army but some of my friends have and they have good things to say about it,” Bharadwha said.

When looking for furniture, sanitary options are always highly recommended.

Joel Nassi, senior biological science major with a minor in management, was lucky enough to move into a house that was already furnished by the previous tenants his junior year.

When he and his housemates moved to their new home they just took the furniture with them.

“I think going to the Salvation Army is definitely a good idea for students looking to get something decent for a good price,” Nassi said. “I think you just got to take a close look at what you get. A friend of mine got like a futon from there and it smelled pretty bad so they got rid of it pretty soon.”

Nassi said that its important to make sure that the used furniture you get is clean.

He recommended that students check out some of the garage sales and yard sales that happen around Chestnut Ridge Road when the weather gets warmer. He said that he and his friends were able to find a few more chairs that way for a relatively cheap price.

“I bought a pretty new mattress off of someone who was living there already,” Nassi said. “It was only used for a year and the guy, one of my friends, is pretty hygienic so I took it.”

Cynthia Burhans, a senior health and human services major, also agreed with Nassi that sharing furniture among hygienic students isn’t a bad idea.

“As far as wooden material or like a kitchen table, I would totally buy that from the Salvation Army. But as far as a sofa I would be a little nervous because of things like bed bugs and bacteria that can travel from house to house,” Burhans said. “I wouldn’t necessarily want to get my mattress from Salvation Army but I would get chairs and desk or something.”

Burhans and her roommates split furnishing responsibilities among each other. Everyone was in charge of furnishing their own bedrooms and then one person would be in charge of the living room, bathroom, kitchen and other rooms.

“I was responsible for the kitchen and I chose to go to IKEA,” Burhans said. “Unfortunately the closest one is in Canada so I had to order all my stuff online and have it shipped.”

Although Burhans went to IKEA she thought that students should check out places like American Freight located on Niagara Falls Boulevard in Tonawanda.

“They have entire five-piece bedroom sets, including a work desk, mattress and everything for like $700,” Burhans said. “It’s not necessarily the best furniture but it will definitely last you four years in college. It’s good temporary furniture.”

Bharadwha, Nassi and Burhans all agreed that college students who live off-campus shouldn’t spend so much money on furniture because they are only in college for four years and most of the time they’ll end up getting get rid of it anyway when they move out or graduate.

Tomas Olivier is a features desk editor and can be reached at