Entry Level Elevated: The Best Affordable Furniture Brands
For when you’re ready to move on from that first-apartment feeling.
Updated Jan 11, 2023 3:55 PM
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We all know the classic heavyweights of budget buys: Target, Amazon, Wayfair, IKEA. They serve their purpose. But maybe you’re ready to step out of the predictable zone, and one-of-a-kind 1stDibs finds and boutique brands are a little (or way) out of budget. If you aren’t a “scours Facebook Marketplace” type, it’s time to get familiar with the best affordable furniture brands on the market today.
Affordable means something a bit different to everyone. To us, it doesn’t equal cheap—it’s all about finding the biggest bang for your buck. In other words, there’s a balance between reasonably priced and exceptionally made, and sometimes you skew one way or the other.
Our favorite direct-to-consumer shops typically land between big-box retailers and high-end makers. For the most part, they operate on a comparatively smaller scale, oftentimes with an actual designer at the helm of each velvet-tufted armchair, or offer exclusive collaborations with big names. While that can translate to a tighter stable of products, you’ll find that it bodes well for quality. As in: You likely won’t get a coffee table for $50 or less, but you’ll probably have it much longer.
If we’re on the same page, read on for our alphabetized list of go-to sites that offer great-looking furniture and won’t wreak havoc on your bank account.
The Best Affordable Furniture Brands
Shipping notes: Free shipping; in-stock items arrive in 1 to 3 business days | Customer service: Support not available 24-7, contact via an online submission or visit a showroom | Standout feature: 7-year warranty
Best for: Office furniture that doesn’t look like it belongs on Star Trek.
Searching for home office furniture that won’t break the bank? Branch is at the top of our list. We recently got up close and personal with the Verve chair, which basically vanquished our staff writer Kenya Foy’s bad habit of working from bed. A DTC furniture company based in New York, its pre-pandemic start was aptly timed, as it’s all about “creating inspiring offices” for those of us who fall under the remote employee category.
The chair won a 2022 iF Design Award in product design, and, while the price tag is mildly steep (sale alert—it’s 10% off and ships for free right now), we’re not talking the same as an Aeron from Herman Miller. Plus there are a few less expensive options. Other high-end office essentials you can shop here include an assortment of desks and filing cabinets all made from innovative materials, whether that’s a 3D-knit fabric for comfort or impact-resistant laminated melamine.
Shipping notes: Free delivery in compact boxes that typically arrive within a week | Customer service: Text, call, or email (though only available certain hours during the day) | Standout feature: Modular design that’s easy to install
Best for: A bookish household that’s light on power tools.
Burrow is widely known for its adaptable sofa system, but we’re particularly fond of the brand’s storage and case goods. Specifically: The Index shelf system, which is constructed of solid hardwood and one of our top picks for best bookshelves. A single wall shelf is just $330 at the moment, but you can seamlessly expand vertically or horizontally when you buy an additional 32-by-32-inch unit; you should be able to outfit an entire wall for less than $2,000.
We love that it ships with everything you need to hang it, like a template poster, mounting brackets, and even drywall screws and anchors. The goal, according to the brand, is to provide a painless install process, and an able-bodied person (or two) can probably hang these on their own.
If the idea of using a stud finder or dealing with the aftermath of drilled drywall freaks you out, there’s also freestanding versions (bookcases and consoles) from the Index and Canon collections. Both offer modular shelf styles made from quality, eco-friendly materials like sustainably forested solid hardwood, engineered hardwood, and powder-coated steel.
Shipping notes: Can take time; one flat delivery fee | Customer service: Chat, call, or text | Standout feature: Complimentary design services
Best for: Those in need of a one-stop shop for modern furniture, especially boutique-looking side tables.
Originally labeled as the “first-time homeowner” furniture and decor arm of Crate & Barrel, CB2 offers a similar style for the modern aesthete at a price tag you won’t gawk at. That’s why it’s worth mentioning in our list of the best affordable furniture brands.
Certain things, like some designer collabs (yes, that Goop collection), enter expensive territory. But we promise there are plenty of hidden gem alternatives—you just might have to do some digging or hold off until there’s a sale on, which, honestly, is pretty often. Here, you can scoop up solid concrete side tables for less than $200 or a modern, no-frills bed frame for under $400.
Shipping notes: Freight furniture delivery fee (12% of order value); lead times can be long | Customer service: Chatbot available; separate outreach for trade and contract | Standout feature: Easy assembly, with guided video instructions for in-depth details
Best for: American-made furniture that isn’t a hassle to move—to a different room or home.
Detroit-based maker Floyd is all about designing the best affordable furniture to take with you. Sure, that storage-abundant IKEA Brimnes bed may only run you $400, but putting it together (and then breaking it down the next time you move) is a hassle that’s not really worth the price tag. For just a couple hundred more, you can pick up a minimalist platform frame made in the U.S. that’s a breeze to assemble and move around. And if you end up in a larger bedroom, you can order a new piece to take your setup from queen to king.
This modular configuration and no-frills design is why Floyd has been a Domino-favorite brand for years. That’s true of all the company’s offerings, like the two-piece sectional that took home our first-ever Good Design Award for best sofa. This is the sort of furniture designed with staying power in mind, so you can leave fretting about daily wear and tear with the more “budget-friendly” types.
Shipping notes: Depends on retailer (Design Within Reach, MoMA Design Store, Ssense) | Customer service: Depends on retailer (Design Within Reach, MoMA Design Store, Ssense)| Standout feature: Colorful, fun finishes that are durable
Best for: Multifunctional, powder-coated pieces that can mingle both indoors and out.
If you’re on a budget, you may assume that Hay—the vibrant Danish brand that makes the beloved sectional our chief content officer owns—might be out of reach. But here’s the thing: Our advice is to skip the sofas and iconic relaunches like the Rey chair and stick to more palatable price tags associated with its outdoor furniture (a number of powder-coated options are under $200); contemporary coffee tables (the minimalist Tulou is just $195); and storage accessories (the stackable, colorful crates are an all-time favorite and should never cost you more than $39 apiece). Most items are versatile and multifunctional, made from quality materials built to last (think: UV-resistant polypropylene), and easy to clean. They’re the type you definitely won’t put out on the curb come moving day.
Shipping notes: Costs extra for larger items; can take time since each piece is handmade | Customer service: Email and by phone | Standout feature: 100-plus patterns to choose from; check out a swatch for $1
Best for: Upholstered furniture to add whatever pattern—stripes, animal print—is missing from your room.
This fabric-forward furniture brand—it sells everything from throw pillows to headboards—is best known for its designer collaborations with big names such as Scalamandré and Clare V. It’s a color fiend’s dream. Most items, everything from slipcovered bed frames to scalloped room dividers, can come upholstered in 60-plus fabrics and more than a hundred different patterns and Technicolor shades. Digital printing capabilities keep costs (and waste) down, speeding up the handmade process. All you have to do is select an available material.
“Inside has the best customized product in textile design and interior furnishings,” a past shopper confirms. “Its screen dividers create a unique statement with a personal touch. I would recommend taking a chance!” If you’re overwhelmed by the many choices, the brand also provides budget-friendly design consultations to walk you through all the options, starting at $79. The only caveat we could find? Each product only comes backed by a yearlong warranty, though there is a company “Happiness Guarantee.”
Shipping notes: Made-to-order, so shipping times are longer | Customer service: Email only (can take 23 to 48 hours for a response) | Standout feature: Eco-conscious manufacturing and a Repair Don’t Replace program to reduce waste
Best for: Spillproof, small space–friendly velvet sectionals and love seats.
Our style team is of the opinion that an affordable sofa is anything less than $2,000, depending on the size. At that price, you can generally count on solid wood construction, quality cushions, and good upholstery. Sustainably made options can fall into that category, too, and be stylish, to boot. New York–based Sabai specializes in living room furniture like coffee tables, sectionals, love seats, and ottomans. All are made with recycled, eco-friendly materials, including a velvet look-alike fabric woven from plastic water bottles and upcycled poly-cotton blends. Multiple reviewers rave how easy the furniture is to assemble, how good it looks in person, and how the high-resilient, chemical-free foam cushions are durably firm but not uncomfortably so. One commenter writes, “I’m so pleased with my seafoam green couch…I love the low-impact shipping materials. The velvet covering is durable, soft, and not too high-pile. Sometimes I just want to sit and stroke it. The pillows do need some fluffing, but that’s easy enough.”
Despite the green manufacturing process, the Essential sofa won’t cost you more than $1,400, and you have five color options, from an elegant indigo to a trendy mustard yellow. Choose from three finishes for the FSC-certified wood legs and you’ll be ready to go.
Shipping notes: Free shipping on orders $75-plus | Customer service: Chat, call, or text | Standout feature: Viral items are often in its assortment
Best for: Trendy storage solutions offered in a wide range of styles.
For kitschy, eclectic, or of-the-moment finds (plasterlike shelves, anyone?), Urban Outfitters is a must shop. Its selection runs the gamut, from designer-approved market sellers (think: Open Spaces) to its own limited-edition collections. Its strength lies in chic storage, and offerings include everything from a sought-after arched cabinet and bamboo upholstered bench to a top-rated wheeled cart for all your bathroom cleaners or pantry overflow.
But with so much to comb through and an ever-revolving assortment, our top tip to determine if a buy is worth the price is to read every review. Commenters often won’t hold back if something arrives scratched, wood is warped, or a credenza ends up being impossible to assemble.
One-Step-Up Furniture Brands
Still haven’t found the one? These makers don’t always fall into that “affordable” realm, but you can often find a good deal, whether that’s on smaller items or in the sale section.
Designed in Minneapolis by its own in-house team, Blu Dot’s price tags are justified. Sure, aside from pillows and felt baskets, the “cheapest” item available is a $195 mesh metal ottoman, but these items have proven to last, surviving move after move without a ding or scratch. To note: Deals aplenty can be had over at the outlet section of the site.
Another Scandi-made brand, peruse this Copenhagen-based company’s contemporary wares through Burke Decor, Nordstrom, Ssense, and Finnish Design Shop, to name a few. Psst: Its Isola side table won the Best Storage category in our first Good Design Awards and it’s only $275.
Hem is an independent brand that hasn’t shied away from taking creative risks, like commissioning Sabine Marcelis to design a doughnut-shaped pouf that runs more than $1,000. Its fun yet functional products sport the sort of price tags that will likely set you back, especially after you tack on expensive shipping at checkout. However, its sales bring the rates down, and a good chunk of side tables, seating, and slim shelving clock in at less than $500.
“High-quality pieces that you can love forever” is the name of the game for Sundays. The online-first company offers free delivery and assembly on large furniture, such as it best-selling modular sofa. And if you sign up for the company’s newsletter, you can get a $100 promo code.
To us, Thuma makes one of the best platform beds—its no-fuss design uses Japanese-style joinery for tool-free assembly. While the upholstered headboard is included in the price of the frame, an all-wood look will cost you at minimum $695.