2022-05-10T22:19:21-04:00May 31, 2021|

Furnishing your home as a newcomer in Canada

Finding a place to live in a new country can be a challenging and exhausting process. Add to it the task of furnishing and making it “livable,” and things could start to get stressful especially if you are unaware of various retailers, their price points, or other options where you could shop for furniture. But don’t worry, we have you covered!  

In this article:

Popular places to buy affordable furniture in Canada

There are many stores you can buy furniture from in Canada; some are niche and high-end (often limited with their presence in select cities) while others are more affordable and have a presence across Canada – there’s a store for every budget. 

With that said, no matter which city you decide to settle in, you’ll be sure to find some large well-known furniture retailers close to you. As you plan the interiors of your new home, these are good places to start browsing so you can get a feel for prices and quality and accordingly decide where you should get your furniture from.

Here are some big retailers to check out: 

  • IKEA: IKEA is one of the most popular furniture stores in the world and is known for being affordable. Their stores have everything you could possibly need to furnish your house or apartment. Note that delivery charges and assembly fees will be an added cost, if you opt for it. 
  • Structube: Structube is similar to IKEA in their offerings. If you’re looking for different designs than what you find at IKEA while still staying within the same price range, Structube is a good option. They also offer free delivery for orders over $300 CAD. 
  • Leon’s: Leon’s has a long history of being a furniture retailer in Canada. For decades, it has been a go-to source for both furniture and appliances. Whatever furniture or home decor item you’re looking for, you’ll be sure to find it at an affordable price at Leon’s.
  • The Brick: The Brick promises a refund of the price difference if within 90 days you find the same furniture item at a lower price anywhere in Canada, or even if The Brick reduces its own price on that item. Prices here are low due to their large volume purchases and special deals.
  • Wayfair: Wayfair is an online-only retailer. They have a wide selection of items and offer free delivery for all orders over $50 CAD. 

Tips Icon  Tip:
Check the daily spending limits on your credit and debit cards when making large purchases such as furniture items. Some banks may need you to call and inform them about a large transaction value you intend to make so they can approve it. Also, remember to factor in taxes as they can add up quite a bit on large purchases.

Additional options to buy furniture and housewares 

There are a variety of other options that you can explore to buy unique home decor items while still sticking to a budget. Here are a few to consider:

  • Small local furniture stores: You can often find these stores in your neighbourhood. Head out for a walk and have a look around; you’ll be surprised at some of the interesting outlets. Purchasing from these stores is also a good way to support local business owners.
  • Second-hand and antique stores: Second-hand stores are a good way to save money on furniture purchase. Antiques are often very valuable and can cost a lot. However, the term is also loosely used for old items that are being resold. Depending on your budget, you can sometimes find quality, unique home decor items at these places at reasonable prices. 
  • Thrift stores: These stores sell all kinds of used items, including furniture. Buying second hand furniture is also an environment-friendly option. You can get furniture at a low cost at thrift stores because it is usually donated by various people and organizations. Here are two popular ones: 
    • Salvation Army: The Salvation Army is an international charitable organization. The Salvation Army Thrift Stores are popular for selling clothing, smaller items, and furniture. As these stores are non-profit, all income from the sale of items go back to the charitable work of the organization. Here, you’ll find something to fit every budget. In some stores, for a small additional charge, you can even arrange for delivery through an external provider. 
    • Value Village: This chain of thrift stores is similar to the Salvation Army stores with the only difference that they’re a for-profit business with an association to a local charity. Majority of the earnings goes to the owners or shareholders of these companies.
  • Furniture Bank: Furniture Bank is a registered charity and social enterprise which redistributes gently-used furniture and housewares from donors in the community to individuals or families in need, including women and children leaving shelters, people transitioning from homelessness, and newcomers and refugees to Canada. 
  • Online marketplaces (Facebook, Kijiji, etc.): Sometimes you can find good deals for used and new items on Facebook Marketplace or Kijiji. However, be careful of scams and check the quality of the product before you pay for it. When purchasing on these sites, transactions are usually conducted in-person after the buyer inspects the items, so ensure you don’t make any advance payments online. 
  • Garage sales (or yard sales): Garage sales are good places to find used furniture at very reasonable prices especially since the owners no longer need them and want them cleared out. All purchases at a garage sale are final so inspect all items properly before you buy. If you are contemplating buying baby cribs or car seats, do check if they meet current safety regulations outlined by the Government. Some neighbourhoods have annual yard sales which are a convenient way of shopping for furniture or household items you need.

6 tips for furniture shopping

1. Measure everything before you buy

First, measure every room in your house, apartment or condo. Make note of the dimensions, including the width and height of the doorframes, halls and staircases. Next, measure the furniture items before you buy them. Plan your furniture layout such that it doesn’t make the room feel too crowded and gives you enough space to move about freely. 

2. Look for seasonal deals and discounts

Many furniture retailers offer seasonal deals and discounts – which are a good way to get highly priced furniture for a steal. Beware of stores that offer zero per cent down payment type of financing deals as they often have the cost of financing built up into their pricing model. 

3. Consider quality over quantity

Budget furniture items sold at large retailers may show signs of wear within a few years. Good quality furniture is often expensive. Estate sales are good places to look for used quality furniture at reasonable prices. When buying used furniture, mattresses, sofas or carpets, remember to check for any defects and bedbugs. 

4. Maximize storage space

When living in condos and apartments in major Canadian cities, storage space is often an issue. Hence, when you plan your interior and decide on which furniture pieces to buy, keep an eye out for those that have additional storage and/or save space. 

5. Think about cleaning and maintenance of items

Items such as carpets and rugs can spruce up your interior but require periodic cleaning and maintenance. Do take this into consideration while shopping for floor textiles and furnishings. The same applies to upholstered furniture. 

6. Plan for furniture delivery

Most furniture stores will charge extra for delivery; you should budget for this cost as you plan your purchase. To get large furniture items home yourself, you may want to look into renting a van or pickup truck. If you live in a condo or an apartment building, you are required to book the “moving elevator” to bring in larger items, and may also have to pay a small refundable deposit to cover any damages in transit. Most of the buildings have specific dates the moving elevator is available; you are required to book it in advance to secure a timeslot.

Setting up your house or apartment in Canada is a big part of settling in. Familiarizing yourself with local options for furniture shopping will not only help you find good deals while staying on budget but also help you create a space you can call ‘home’.