Dear PoPville – Where to find Truly Affordable Furniture?

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Dear PoPville,

My roommate is moving out and taking a couple of key pieces of furniture with her (think living room storage/book shelves/TV stand). I’m looking to replace this stuff without breaking the bank, but I’m having trouble finding truly affordable (yet solid) furniture in the area. I’ve checked out some of the neighborhood stores but find myself totally priced out. I’m looking for a place that has used furniture without a crazy antiqued/vintage markup. Someplace like the former Ruff n’ Ready or a goodwill/opportunity shop that has a large selection of furniture. (And yes, I’ve looked at your classifieds and Craig’s List, but I’m looking for a retail outlet rather than classifieds listings.) There’s gotta be places around town that just sell used furniture with out the kitsch. Help?

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  • Ruff ‘n Ready has just moved – they are now located at 4722 14th St NW.

  • “I’m looking for a place that has used furniture without a crazy antiqued/vintage markup.”

    If you don’t want the markup, drive until you’re outside of the commuter zone (Middleburg, VA comes to mind) and check the thrift shops/vintage stores there.

    • good advice.

      I would add that it is possible to find good furniture for good prices but finding it all at once in one place is very unlikely. I tend to stumble on items here and there at flea markets, thrift stores, while out of town, on craigslist etc.

    • Middleburg is a good suggestion – also, Frederick, MD

  • Do you have (or have access to) a car?

    If so, I’d suggest ReStore, which is Habitat for Humanity’s used furniture store, with locations in:

    1. Gaithersburg —
    2. Alexandria & Chantilly —

    • I dont think ReStore is worth the drive for furniture alone. Its really hit or miss and is much better for building supplies. I used to live by the Gathersburg one and went all the time.

      Craigslist really is your best bet for what you describe. You may need to check twice daily throughout the entire furniture section instead of just searching for the items you need. A wanted ad may help you with quicker hits as well.

  • Freecycle. 90% of my furniture is from here.

  • Terrapin Trader in College Park.

  • It’s not a retail outlet, but estate sales are a great resource for finding good furniture for not-too-much money.

  • Estate sales are a good source, especially if you go on the last day when things are usually marked down. This is a good resource to find estate sales in the area:

  • There are one or two vendors at the Eastern Market flea market who sell quality wood furniture at what I find to be surprisingly low prices. Of course, it’s hit-or-miss, but I have bought a cedar chest and a small end table from one of the vendors. I wound up paying for delivery, which, of course, increased the price, but only by $35.

  • If you have acces to a car the Hampden neighborhood of Baltimore has amazing deals on absolutely beautiful furniture.

  • There is a goodwill on South Dakota Ave NE.

    Where ever you go make doubly sure none of the furniture has bedbugs…seriously!

    • I was going to say the same thing. Seriously. Be very very cautious about used furniture from any source, because of the bedbug risk. they don’t just live in beds! I have ruled out used furniture all together for this very reason, even though in theory I would love to get older, higher quality stuff.

    • What do you look for/where do you look for signs of bedbug infestation in used (especially non-bed) furniture?

  • if you have access to a car, the salvation army off little river turnpike in alexandria has a large furniture selection.

  • Search Craigslist. You’ll find a lot of great stuff that’s very reasonably priced. Also check out garage and estate sales.

  • there is a furniture place on North Capital just below Rhode Island Avenue on the east side of the street. Can’t vouch for its quality however.

    The real deal, if you can drive there, is Dixon’s auction on the Eastern Shore in Crumpton, MD. This is where a lot of the ‘upscale’ vintage furniture / housewares places in DC actually go to get their stuff.

  • My favorite thrift store option is the Salvation Army on Kennilworth Ave. right off the exit (to the north) from Highway 50.

  • Also, we have gotten some pretty good pieces by alley shopping—especially in the spring when folks are cleaning out. However, CL and freecycle have made the pickins’ less good.

  • I get about 90% of my clothes and housewares secondhand. Best place to get beautiful furniture for cheap is yard sales in the suburbs, hands down. Get a zip truck and be ready to get up at 6am!

  • Head out to Leesburg. The historic downtown area has tons of antique shops and the prices are fantastic. I got a set of 6 kitchen/dining table chairs for around $300.

  • Here is what you do: Take this Wednesday off. Borrow a truck. Get up early. Drive over the Bay Bridge and up Route 301 out to Crumpton, Maryland (90 minutes) to Dixon’s Auction. Bring a wad of cash, but no more than $300. Peruse the outdoor field FULL of large antique and used furniture and look for something to use or repurpose for your needs. When the old guy in the golf cart rolls up and starts taking bids, go as high as you feel is fair. After paying, load up your item (bring a friend or pay one of the guys hanging around for help). Stop by the barn for some yummy Mennonite food (soft pretzels, roast chicken, homemade ice cream!) or stop for seafood on the way back. Watch out, it is a lovely country area, a ton of fun and you may find you want to do it again and again.
    This is where Miss Pixies on 14th gets most of her stuff and you will see trucks from Randolph’s in Alexandria etc out there. The secret is it’s only on Wednesdays, it keeps out the riff raff.

  • One more suggestion, try Value Village, the giant thrift shop on University Ave (west off New Hampshire) up in Hyattsville, MD. There is a Salvation Army store on NH Ave you can stop at, too, on the way.

  • Check out Freecycle and Craigslist.

    Some people frown on IKEA, but personally I think their shelving options are pretty good. And while getting something that’s flat-packed and having to assemble it can be annoying, it means that you don’t need to rent a truck or something to pick up the item.

  • Come on, PoPville, no mention of Bentley’s yet?? 810 Upshur St in Petworth; easy walking distance from Metro and right by a bikeshare dock and the new zipcar truck at Annie’s Hardware. I got two well-built and interesting side tables for the living room and a piece of art for a grand total of $100.

    • Bentley’s Vintage Furniture and Antiques

    • Yes, and they will deliver for a fee. Got a set of dining chairs there for a good price in very good condition. If you want something one of a kind go across the street to Corehaus where there are antiques, shelves made of salvages items, and just a ton of cool stuff.

      Also- Value Village and Unique thrift have 25% off every Monday, 50% if it’s a holiday. I’ve seen lots of good stuff at the Wheaton Unique.

  • I haven’t looked specifically for furniture at the thrift stores off of New Hampshire Ave in Takoma/Langley Park, but the one time I dropped off a donation out there the store was larger than I expected and definitely included furniture. I’ve never been to Terrapin Traders in CP, but an old ex of mine got bedroom furniture there for a good price and I think it was from a hotel that was getting new furniture for its rooms — it was reasonably attractive and in very good shape.

  • Try Mom n Pop Antiques on the corner of Georgia Ave and Otis Pl. in Parkview. We needed to furnish most of our apartment on a budget and got lots of our furniture there, including a dresser, a couple bookshelves, and even a china cabinet. You won’t find something every time, but we did find a lot of practical, solid pieces for much less than the competition.

  • There’s a place on Route 1 just north of the Mount Rainier circle that’s kind of amazing. It’s a warehouse crammed to the rafters with furniture and random stuff, at totally reasonable prices. And they deliver! They used to go by DC Van Lines, but they changed their name pretty recently and I can’t remember the new one. It’s easy to find, though– it’s next door to a Habitat for Humanity thrift store and parking lot over from a place called Fixtures Plus. I have two dressers, a couch and a box spring from them, and I don’t think I spent $150.

  • and provide a listing of all the auctions and estate sales in the area weekly.

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