While sinking into a neighbor's soft leather couch, I felt a twinge of furniture envy. The couch was part of a three-piece living room set purchased new from a national chain's clearance center. At a scratch-and-dent sale, my friend updated her living room for a fraction of the standard retail cost.
Here are her tips and other suggestions for finding fine pieces for less.
• Track down clearance centers. National chains operate clearance outlets featuring furniture at steep discounts. Rooms to Go has clearance outlets throughout the country and Neiman Marcus has Last Call Centers in different states.
• Ask about scratch-and-dent sales. Most retailers offer a discount for new merchandise that is slightly scratched or nicked. At Brandsmart, a friend purchased high-end appliances (a washer and dryer) that were new, but cosmetically flawed and sold at a discount.
Department and electronics stores also sell floor models at mark-down prices.
• Don't be afraid to bargain. The sales staff at the clearance sale accommodated a request for color substitutions in a three-piece (monotone) furniture set. The staff also agreed to a negotiated delivery price.
• Think outside the retail box, recommend the editors of RDLiving.com, which is affiliated with Reader's Digest. This article provides details. Consignment stores, estate auctions, discount price clubs (Costco, BJ's and Sam's Club), yard sales and flea markets sell new or gently used furniture. A mixture of new and used furniture is stocked at Habitat for Humanity Restore, which has stores all over the country.
• Check out hotel liquidation sales. Hotels in South Florida and other major markets frequently update their decor with new furniture, selling the existing furniture and fixtures at low prices.
This is a version of my latest column from the Miami Herald. Here's the link.
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