Ikea Alternatives (Some Cheaper than Ikea!)

by Kate on May 8, 2012

in Frugal Living, Simple Home, Simple Living

Cheaper than IkeaIkea has become the go-to source for inexpensive furniture these days, and although I can understand why (easy to bring home, inexpensive compared to other options, simple style that’s universally appealing), I personally think it’s a horrible value most of the time. Okay sure you might only pay a couple hundred bucks for that coffee table or $500 for that sofa, but how long will it last? I’ve owned several pieces of Ikea furniture for about 4 years now, and each one shows quite a bit of wear and tear. I still think Ikea is the best option for inexpensive textiles (their rugs are cheap and in many cases as durable and attractive as Crate and Barrel). But in many cases you’d be better off buying something second hand. So here are a few options if you’re looking for higher quality furniture at Ikea prices.


If you haven’t heard of Craigslist, most people would say you’ve been living under a rock. Craigslist is an online marketplace where people sell and trade all kinds of items and services. Craigslist is great if you’re looking for a very particular piece of furniture because you can sort by the item name, retailer, style, etc. However, because such a large number of people use Craigslist you may have some competition.

Your Neighbors:

My favorite source for great, cheap furniture finds is the neighbors, particularly if you live in an apartment. People are moving in and out of apartments all the time, realizing they may not need/be able to fit a particular item in their new place. You might have to be a bit sneaky about this. You might even ask your landlord to let you know when people are moving in or out (tell her you know someone who’s interested in living there) so you can be the first to swoop in. When people are moving and need to get rid of something, they will frequently let it go for much less than it’s worth just to have the convenience of getting rid of it quickly.

Yard Sales/Garage Sales:

Garage sales are another great source for cool, funky furniture. Garage sales are great because there’s less competition than you’d have on Craigslist. Plus, people who are having garage sales are often preparing to move and need to get rid of things, so they’ll let things go for a well under market price. Just try to arrive right as the sale starts so you can make sure to see all the best stuff!

Facebook Marketplace:

Facebook Marketplace can be great if you’re not comfortable dealing with strangers (some people hate bargaining and talking about money with strangers). On Facebook Marketplace, you’ll see when friends or friends of friends are selling items. Generally friends will sell you things for less than what they might sell it to a stranger because, hey, you’re friends. I’ve also seen simple Facebook status posts saying “Hey guys, I’m looking for a cool coffee table–anybody trying to get rid of one” yield incredible results.


I’m hesitant to include Ebay because I feel like in recent years buying on Ebay has gotten so competitive that really great deals are scarce. But, it’s always another option (and often better than Ikea).


Etsy is by far my favorite online source for attractive, unique, affordable furniture. Most of the items on Etsy are either vintage or handmade by independent sellers, so you’re going to get something really special. I wouldn’t recommend buying larger items like sofas or bed frames here, but for small side tables, coffee tables, or decorative items, Etsy is the best!

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*In the spirit of full disclosure, links to products in this post may be affiliate links, which means that I may receive a commission if you decide to purchase any of the products I recommend. Know that I only recommend products that I have used and love myself.

*I am not a doctor, a nurse, or any kind of health practitioner. I’m just a gal with a pretty keen intuitive sense, great research abilities, and curiosity that is easily peaked. Please understand that my advice is really just another opinion and it’s for you (and your doctor) to decide the best course for your health and well-being.

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