In the same way fashion revolves around seasons, furniture follows suit. Certain times of the year are better than others to shop for different types of furnishings, from desks to sectionals to porch seating. While there are many factors that go into purchasing furniture, two of the biggest considerations are cost and when to buy.
Furniture goes on sale during certain times of the year, just like mattresses and appliances do. And the lower the prices, the more potential options you'll have that fit into your budget. It’s a good bet that you’ll find a deal on indoor, outdoor, and office furniture around major holidays, but that's not the only time you can save. Here's exactly when you should shop to get the best price on all types of furniture.
The Best Time to Buy Indoor Furniture
If you're ready to spruce up your kitchen or living room, January, July, and holiday weekends are the best times to look for deals. These sales and the subsequent restocking cycles “tend to not be room-specific," according to Bill McLoughlin, the editor-in-chief of Furniture Today. Couches and sofas, and bedroom and living room sets are all considered one category.
January and July
Since retailers start selling next season's new furniture styles in stores and online in February and August, you'll find the best deals before then. This biannual cycle means you have two guaranteed times to shop at lower prices.
The furniture business relies heavily on holiday-driven promotional cycles—Presidents' Day, Memorial Day, Labor Day, the Fourth of July, Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and more—so retailers are marking items down, both online and in stores, explains McLoughlin.
Amazon Prime Day and Way Day
Even if you're not buying furniture from Amazon or Wayfair, McLoughlin recommends keeping an eye on the date for these market-moving events. Furniture sellers, both online and in-person, want to compete with Amazon and Wayfair, so they will align their prices with these anticipated sales.
The Best Time to Buy Office Furniture
In June, office retailers and manufacturers attend a tradeshow called Neocon, and it's there that all the latest and the greatest innovations in desks, filing cabinets, organizers, and more are first announced. However, the products aren't found in stores until the fall. All last season's furniture will go on sale right before the new products arrive.
In 2021, this conference will shift to October but will resume its usual timing in 2022.
Back to School Season
Typically new office desks, chairs, bookshelves, and filing cabinets launch at stores during October, November, and December, explains Phil Robinson, show director for the International Contemporary Furniture Fair, a trade event for manufacturers, designers, and retailers. Therefore, the best chance for deals is right before that in August and September, when stores are clearing out their previous inventory.
The Best Time to Buy Patio Furniture
As soon as the holidays are over, retailers start working to get you shopping for spring, meaning new outdoor furniture typically shows up on retailers’ floors in February. If you want brand new styles, “start thinking about your outdoor space at the beginning of the year to make sure you’re all set when the weather is warmer,” Lowe’s Trend Strategy Manager Caroline Harmon says. But if you’re scouring bargains, there’s one best time to buy.
Late Summer and Early Fall
From August to October, stores are trying to sell all their barbeques and patio displays as the months turn colder. You can expect to find steep discounts on everything from outdoor dining tables to weather-resilient sofas.
The Worst Time to Buy Furniture
If you're looking to save money on indoor, outdoor, or office furniture, there are some times of the year where the discounts won't be as big, or even exist.
For indoor furniture, you're unlikely to see low prices during February and August.
Try to avoid buying outdoor furniture in the months leading up to when you'll use it, and early summer.
Office furniture is typically more expensive during the late fall months into early winter—think October, November, and December.
Furniture Buying Tips
When it’s finally time to buy a new piece of furniture, it’s usually a splurge. Waiting for discount days, or using coupons can help knock down the sticker price. We recommend you look for closeout, clearance, and floor sample sales to actually find deals. Oftentimes, furniture is marked up, so you might think you're getting a deal, but you could be saving more.
You can save by negotiating with sellers of new furniture in-store, it's just not super common, McLoughlin says. In-store prices now typically match online prices. Plus, sellers expect that most buyers have already done their homework online. However, during big sale times, like January and July, be sure to ask about floor models and samples, plus any special pricing in store.
2. Know When to Shop Online or In-Store
“People aren’t coming into a store anymore to kick the tires,” McLoughlin says. Historically, when furniture shopping, the average store visit was 6.7 times per purchase. It's now down to two, explains McLoughlin. Now when people enter the store, the salesperson knows it's likely they'll come in with a specific type or brand in mind. Online shopping gives you the price comparison tools you'll need.
In-store shopping is best to feel and touch anything before buying, so you can compare a leather couch to a velvet one properly. However, more companies are offering trial periods and extended return terms to make online sales more attractive to customers, so you can try your new recliner in the comfort of your own home.
3. Ask About Warranties
Before you close the deal and walk out of a store with that sectional you've been dying to have, make sure to ask about the warranty. Some indoor, outdoor, and office furniture pieces will come with one. McLoughlin advises that buyers read warranties thoroughly to understand what they do and don’t cover. Save yourself the headache—and money—of not being able to return a big-ticket purchase, he says. You can also check out extended return terms and trial periods.
4. Sign Up for Alerts and Email Newsletters
If you know the exact piece of furniture you want, sign up for email promos at local stores and online retailers, so you can monitor when they have sales. “While there may be some seasonality to furniture, if I’m looking for a specific item I always set up a search alert to get notified when similar items pop-up for sale near me,” says Deb Liu, founder of Facebook Marketplace. It'll save you time and money while you're searching.
5. Add to Cart, Then Exit
In addition to putting yourself on all the email lists, try adding the exact item you want to your cart, and then closing out of your browser. Retailers keep track of people who 'abandon' their carts and will often email you a discount or promo code to help you see that purchase through.
The best time to buy furniture is the months of January and July, followed closely by Presidents' Day weekend.