Most people who come to LA travel from across the country. This often means cleaning house, selling extra stuff and leaving furniture behind. Problem is, you show up in your new abode without a couch. Even worse, you spend the first few weeks sleeping on a blow up mattress. I’ve been there; friends have been there…it’s a right of passage.
But before you get back problems sleeping on the ground or have a dinner party with guests sitting on the floor, you need to furnish your new place. Fortunately, I’ve figured out ways to find furniture for less.
Here are some spots to get what you need. Let’s start at the least expensive place and go from there.
People are coming and going from LA all the time. Given the nature of the industry, there are a lot of residents that travel. Actors book gigs in NYC, writers move to Canada for a new show or a director lands a pilot and upgrades his pad. Lucky for you, this means there’s a constant flow of furniture. If you know people in the city, let them know you’re moving soon and certain items you’re looking for. They may know someone who’s leaving and needs to get rid of furniture fast. Once you’ve arrived in LA, keep your ears open as well. You’ll be surprised how much furniture you can gather by word of mouth, often incredibly cheap. If you’re lucky, you’ll snag it for free.
This takes some effort, but can prove incredibly fruitful. You don’t need to drive around neighborhoods aimlessly either. Sites like gsalr.com show maps of garage sales in the LA area. They even provide specifics about items being sold. The classifieds in local newspapers and on Craigslist also provide locations. Get a pal with a big car and go on a treasure hunt. Be sure that whatever you buy, especially if it’s a couch or mattress, is clean. I recommend getting a bottle of Lysol and Febreze and going to town on anything you’re buying second-hand.
LA doesn’t have your normal flea markets. They’re hip, trendy and both affordable and expensive. Be sure you have your eye on the price tag before agreeing on payment. If you know where to look, you can find some amazing pieces. At the Melrose Trading Post, I found an antique couch from the 1900s for under $200. At The Rose Bowl Flea Market, I snagged dining room chairs for only $10 each! It was a steal because the table had already sold. Luckily, they matched the table I found at another market for only $50. As you can see, there have been a plethora of success stories. If you want unique furniture, these markets are perfect. Some others include The Rodium Open Air Market and Ventura Flea Market.
This is perhaps the fastest way to furnish your place. You can find almost anything on Craigslist. People are selling couches, bed frames, TV stands and even mirrors and plants. You can often negotiate the prices since many of the sellers are independent. Be sure that you take a friend with you when you’re meeting a stranger to buy something. Always check that chairs, tables and shelves are sturdy and nothing is broken or glued haphazardly. Most people do transactions with cash.
You don’t have to rule out going into a store completely. There are actually some great places to invest in staple furniture pieces. After searching for a couch for months, my roommate and I finally found one at World Market. It was priced reasonably and has proved comfortable. It’s always nice to have a couch for friends to crash on. If you’re living in LA, you may have people wanting to visit. Pier 1 Imports is another store to find lamps, accessories and patio furniture. Target has great shelves, pillows, frames and entertainment centers. Ikea is definitely a no-brainer, it is an convenient and cheap source for furniture. You can also keep your eyes open for sales. If there is a store with style you like, ask to be on their mailing list. That way when an item goes on sale, you’ll be first in line.
If you’re moving to LA empty handed, don’t fret. There are both quick and cheap ways to fill your new home with the perfect furniture. From friends, to flea markets to a drive to Target, you can find what you need and keep your pockets plentiful.