A Guide to Modular Furniture Shopping

When people hear the term “modular” a few things come to mind. Standardized, easy to assemble, minimalist, and modern. When you hear the words “modular furniture” there’s probably only one thing that comes to mind: Ikea.

There are, however, a wide selection of stores (online and brick & mortar) that offer furniture to fit your minimalist lifestyle.

Reasons to go modular

Form follows function. This statement should be as true in the world of decorating as it is throughout the sciences. However, many times we buy items that are large and bulky; mistaking quantity for quality. In the world of modular furniture, form is everything. Here are some reasons you may want to start buying minimal furniture:

  • If you move often. Do you relocate for work every few years? Are you a student or young professional who does a lot of jumping around apartments? In a workforce that is increasingly freelance and online in nature, there are fewer bindings holding us back from moving.
  • If you like low-maintenance. Modular furniture is perfect the the person who likes to set something up easily out of the box. You won’t have to worry about complicated maintenance or difficulty finding parts because modular furniture tends to be highly standardized.
  • If you’re a space-saver. Are you the type to try to take advantage of every inch of free space in your home? Alternatively, do you like to give your home a spacious atmosphere through smart decorating? Modular furniture is intelligently designed to take advantage of space. Modular furniture pieces like sofas are often able to be reconfigured or rearranged in different pieces so you can place them in corners or sparsely around the room to open up space. Similarly, they often contain interior storage space for things like blankets and pillows.
  • If you have a refined taste for space. Modular furniture is at the cutting edge of home technology. Therefore it often boasts visually-appealing, minimalist form and modern color schemes. Like any industry, style varies between makers. But generally modular furniture companies tend to stay current with trends.

The biggest names, the best prices

Since modular furniture is an up-and-coming industry, there are a number of stores to choose from, some even with brick & mortal locations. Here are some of our favorites.

ikea

Not much needs to be said about IKEA. They started with one man in Sweden and now have locations in over 40 countries. IKEA is the standard by which all other modern furniture stores are weighed against.

vitsoe

Vitsoe keeps it simple with three basic modular “systems.” Chairs, tables, and shelves. One of each system could easily fill a room. Their designs are minimalist and space-saving, which is evident by the “nesting” tables which fit into one another.

way basics

If you’re looking for simple, lightweight and affordable storage and shelving, Way Basics is where you should start your search. They specialize in storage cubes and they take the humanitarian and environmentalist approach to doing business.

urban outfitters

They may seem like a strange addition to this list, but Urban Outfitters–the paragon of urban hipsterdom–has a surprisingly great selection of modular furniture items in their online shop. They do an excellent job of fusing vintage style with modern function.

 

How to Get the Most Out of Secondhand Furniture

You don’t have to go to a furniture store and spend thousands to find great furniture to fit your home. Secondhand furniture shopping can be a fun and creative hobby that will get you outdoors hunting for the perfect item to fix up for your home. This guide will tell you everything you need to know to help you get the best deals on furniture and how to go about making it your own once you find it.

Furniture sources

Many people think the bargain section of their local furniture store is the best they can do when it comes to saving on furniture. However, there are several better places to start your hunt.

  • Craigslist. The “for sale” section of your local Craigslist is bound to be full of furniture that people are clearing out. Oftentimes people put things on Craigslist that are still in good shape that hoping to make a bit of money from. For best results on Craigslist, sort by “most recent” and by posts that have images. This will give you the best items and ones that are most likely still available.
  • Facebook. Aside from being the go-to place for arguing with your relatives about politics, Facebook is also a great way to find cheap used furniture. Search Facebook for local buy/sell pages for your town or city. Post in these groups with what you’re looking for. Also post what you’re searching for on your own wall. There’s a good chance one of your Facebook friends has something like it.
  • Thrift stores. Secondhand stores like Savers, Goodwill, and Salvation Army all sell furniture in their brick & mortar locations. If you’re bored on a rainy day, head out to the thrift stores in your city to see what they have.
  • Yard sales and flea markets. When the weather’s nice, take a Sunday drive out to some yard sales and flea markets. At yard sales especially people are desperate to get rid of everything so you’re likely to get the best deals.

Making it your own

Aside from getting a great deal, arguably the best part about secondhand furniture is that you get to add your own personal touch to it. Whether it’s reupholstering a sofa, sanding down a bookshelf, or painting a new kitchen chair, you’ll have the gratification of putting in work on your furniture, making it that much more special to you. Here are some furniture items that make great DIY or restoration projects.

  • Tables. Since the weathered and rustic look in in style, finding used tables has become a competitive market. If you have a small kitchen you can turn a old cafe table into your kitchen table. If you need something larger an old work bench can be crafted into a long dining room table.
  • Chairs. Many people think chairs need to come in sets to be worthwhile. However, having mismatched chairs can be a fun way to personalize your kitchen. Paint all the chair legs the same color or sand them and stain them all the same color to give them a sense of unity.
  • Repurposed wood. Pinterest is filled with ideas on how to repurpose used lumber. A wine rack out of an old pallet? There’s a tutorial for that.
  • Sofas. Oftentimes the only thing an old sofa needs is some reupholstering. Buy a secondhand sofa based on its style, not color. You can focus on fitting it to your color scheme when picking a fabric to reupholster with.