11 Ways to Score Free Furniture (So You Can Save for That Investment Piece!)

updated Dec 8, 2022
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Collection of antique furniture
Credit: Lisa-Blue/Getty Images

Sticking to a budget when you’re shopping for furniture is tough — especially when the furniture that’s considered to be “cheap” these days really isn’t all that inexpensive. If you’d much rather spend your money on a modern Eames chair or a Moroccan rug instead of a couch or bed frame, you’ll have to make some compromises — and borrow heavily from your overall budget. That said, there are several places where you can get free furniture — yes, I’m talking $0 furnishings. 

If you’re totally strapped for cash but still want to spruce up your whole house or find furniture for a small space, consider one of these budget-friendly sources to help you find free furniture. Remember that there are a few pieces you shouldn’t take secondhand, like mattresses and heavily-soiled upholstered couches and chairs. Take a look at this list, and good luck finding your future (free!) furniture.

1. College Move-Out Day

Scouting for free furniture doesn’t have to mean dumpster diving. If you live near a college campus, you can almost certainly score free stuff on or around move-out day. There are a few ways to go about doing this: You could create a flyer to post around campus that lists what you’re looking for, or you could simply hang around as students clear out for the summer. Either way, it’s a pretty sure bet. 

2. Nextdoor

Nextdoor is basically a social media site for your neighborhood. And what better way to score free items than from your own neighbors? Once you sign up, you’ll be able to post and see posts from those in your local area, which allows you to ask for what you need, or browse furniture postings to look for free items. 

3. Free and For-Sale Pages

Most cities, towns, and neighborhoods have some version of these pages, which are often accessible through Facebook (look for your local Buy Nothing group) or other local message boards. Usually, the requisite for listing an item is that it’s free of charge or super low-cost. Furniture tends to wind up on these pages when people are moving or replacing a large or bulky item and don’t want to deal with its disposal.

Credit: Erin Derby

4. Facebook Marketplace

While most people use Facebook Marketplace to sell their goods, there’s a wide range of free items you can peruse, too. Simply type “free” into your search bar, and you’ll get pages of nearby items with a price tag of $0.

5. OfferUp

OfferUp is like a new and improved version of a classifieds site or page in a newspaper. It has a free section where you can find everything from sofas to desks to televisions. If you’re OK with spending a bit of money, their home section is also a great place to find super-cheap furniture, too.

6. The Free Section of Craigslist

Ah, Craigslist — a classic place to find cheap furniture. It can also be a great place to find free furniture. You’ll find the “Free” section under the “For Sale” heading on the main page for your city.

7. Freecycle

This website is similar to Craigslist, except absolutely everything is free. Freecycle is an online forum where people can offer things up to their neighbors instead of throwing them away (the original Free and For Sale page), and there are groups for almost every city. If you see something you like, act quickly — the good stuff goes fast.

8. Curbside Treasures

This one might catch you off-guard, but if you live in a city, you know dumpster diving (aka “stooping”) — or just picking a piece up off the street while it’s waiting to be collected as “trash” — is just as viable of an option for free furniture as any other. 

Because moving in a city can be a big hassle and there’s sometimes a need to vacate quickly, it’s often easy to find furniture in impeccable shape right on the sidewalk. Even if you’re in a regular suburban neighborhood, many people will set out items with a “free” sign before garbage day, so keep your eyes peeled for gems. “Hippie Christmas” is an especially good time to be on the lookout. 

9. Your Apartment Building’s Donation Zone

If you live in an apartment building, check to see if there’s a designated area where residents leave items that are up for grabs. You can check with your neighbors, management company, or just look around for a table or zone filled with free furniture or small household items — it could be right in the lobby, in the basement, or near the laundry area. Not all buildings have one, but some larger complexes do! 

10. Garage Sales

Although it’s not quite free, here’s another idea for getting furniture for (almost) nothing: Try stopping by a garage sale toward the end of the day. Chances are the organizers will be eager to get rid of larger items and may be willing to sell you any furniture that’s left for reduced prices. They may even let you take it free of cost just to get it off their hands.

11. Estate Sales 

This isn’t necessarily a resource for free furniture, but it is another way to score some unbeatable deals. Rather than going to an estate sale during the big rush when it first opens, wait until the end of its last day. That’s when the sellers are eager to clear out everything and extra willing to accept your barters for a very reduced price.