Great finds, like this ornate wooden bedframe, animal-hide chair and vintage armoire, can be found cheaply if you know where and when to buy smart.
January is the best time to buy furniture on clearance, as stores make room for the new year's lines and models. You'll also find White Sales galore with savings of up to 50 percent on sheets, pillows and other linens. Been longing for a plasma TV? Electronics are often marked down after the holiday rush. Also look for "open box" reductions on high-tech gifts that were returned.
President's Day weekend is a great time for deals on mattresses and box springs. (Ditto for last year's new cars that are still on the dealers' lots.)
What spring thaw? If you're building a log home in Snow Country, watch for deals on winter items like shovels and snow blowers. Online shoppers, check for shipping specials, too.
Tax season brings specials on home office furniture and supplies. Another great use for that tax refund? Home improvement! Specials on DIY items kick in this month.
What's more American than Mom and shopping? Just in time for Mother's Day, May brings discounts, specials (think no-interest financing) and promotions (free blender with purchase, anyone?) on home appliances. But the real gem is Memorial Day weekend, when the sky's the limit on sales!
For Father's Day, stores will advertise sales on guy-friendly products (recliners, lawn mowers) and essentials (storm windows) to generate traffic for all Pop-centric products. Also start hitting flea markets for shabby-chic rehabs and high-ticket antiques. For the best price, negotiate with sellers just before closing time—and be read to haul that big bureau back home today!
In preparation for the nation's biggest furniture trade show (held each October in High Point, North Carolina), midsummer is a great time to scope out major clearance sales from high-end furniture and accessories dealers. Also look for "public" shopping days at local design centers and showrooms that usually cater to design professionals.
Mattress dealers continue to get sales incentives from manufacturers through early fall. Back-to-school or "dorm" items (think mini-fridges, desk lamps) go for a song. Take a road trip to the outlets and stop by the customer service desk to ask for any coupons. Also look for rug and furniture "tent sales" held by major department stores.
You'll find specials on sofas all year long. (Storehouse, for example, holds Twice Annual Upholstery Sales.) But look for the best deals on sleeper sofas in the fall when folks are preparing for holiday guests. Labor Day weekend is another sale extravaganza. The hot clearance items: yard furniture and other outdoor finds.
The much-anticipated holiday season brings sales on dining room furniture from late October through early November. Look for ads that promote discounts on "complete sets" and free extras like armchairs, servers and china cabinets. Clearance items: fishing gear, fabric and fall decor.
Don't fall for the after-turkey trap. The best prices on home products are generally not around Thanksgiving. There may be a few exceptions if you're willing to hit the mall at 6 a.m. on Black Friday! (That's when some stores offer a few dirt-cheap promotional items and "early bird" discounts to get you through the door.)
Shoppers looking for cookware and bedroom furniture often score well this month. Also keep an eye out for promotional holiday "sets" (tools, cosmetics, etc.), which can be a good value compared to buying items individually. Some sets get marked down after Christmas. But once they're gone, they're gone. So don't hold out too long!