Finding a house in a desirable area for raising a family or just feeling safe is becoming more and more challenging as the price of purchasing a home can leave you without enough money to purchase a reasonable amount of furniture, making you “House Poor”.
Living in an empty house does not a happy family make, as living in that house is the main requirement. A well appointed room that addresses all of your needs and provides a nurturing environment for your loved ones is paramount.
That’s probably why so many people are drawn to the Big Box stores to get a “suite” of furniture at a “sweet” price.
But once you get that furniture home , it might not look the same as it did in the store. The design aesthetic falls flat in your home. It looks boring. It might even be too large scale for the rooms or even too small scale if you have the high ceilings. Another factor could be that it begins to lose it’s shape after two years. The cushions are collapsing. The vinyl is torn. The fiber board tables are chipping. The cute nail head chairs have wobbly legs.
The furniture could even be making you and your family sick.
Don’t worry, I’ve been there. It’s disappointing to say the least.
No matter what stage you find yourself, I would urge you to think Quality over Quantity.
There are some furniture stores that carry the better brands who offer free interior design services. Be prepared to spend from $3,000. – 20,000. dollars per room. If you have the money, it’s worth the investment. You will get good quality furniture that will last seven or more years, depending how you treat it.
Some of the stores to check out are Calico Corners, Bassett, Thomasville, LazBoy, Ethan Allen, Pottery Barn and Restoration Hardware. ( on the west coast)
Find a designer you feel comfortable with and who listens to your wants and needs.
One of the first things that you will need to do is establish your budget.
If your budget is under $3,000. you may have to take your time exploring thrift stores, Facebook ads, Craig’s list, and Ikea.
Make a list of everything that you already have that you will be keeping and a list of what you need for each room. ( See my printable Designer Checklist below)
Start with the Basics
Sofa – Spend your money where it counts on a well made sofa. A limited lifetime warranty is about 7 years on the frame and springs. Upgrade your cushions to a 3-5 year warranty and they will last a lot longer. A good sofa will cost minimum around $1,000. ( Don’t Skimp Here) You’ll be sorry if you do .
Quality Mattresses – Quality Mattresses are a must for a good nights sleep and better health
Case Goods – These include tables, desks, armoires, chests, bookcases, buffets, and furniture items made of wood. Look for solid wood, dovetail construction, and quality craftsmanship. Go second hand here to save money on your chairside tables, bedroom furniture, and dining room furniture.
Accent Furniture – Get to know your local upholsterer. There are many well-made second hand chairs that will look brand new with some new fabric and a little refinishing. Most upholsterers will also do the refinishing on your wood pieces like chair legs and arms. I have second-hand chairs in my home that I’ve had reupholstered or I’ve made slipcovers for and they’re still in good shape years later. If you can sew, you can make a chair slipcover. Lamps – I’ve found many an interesting lamp at various thrift stores but it’s rare to find a matching pair and important to have updated wiring. Consider rewiring antique lamps. You can buy kits to rewire at your local hardware stores, or take it to a lighting store that provides the service. ( Don’t Skimp Here) Look for lamps that stand 28-30″ tall.
Artwork – Hang at eye level – find some large pieces that make a statement.
Area Rugs – Area rugs should be large enough for all furniture legs to sit on it. Going too small here will only make the room look cluttered. Polyester rugs are the most affordable, easy to clean, and resist stains and fading. Wool s easy to clean, will last forever and will have a grounding effect in the room. ( Yogi’s are know to use wool or silk to sit on while meditating). Faux silk has a beautiful luster and luxurious feel underfoot, but if you spill anything on it, it will never be the same, and requires special cleaning techniques. Kilim rugs are usually made of natural fibers like wool. I have been know to put mine in and oversized washing machine on cold water wash gentle cycle then air dry laid out flat on the patio or another flat surface – This could be great for pet owners. The natural fiber rugs ie. Sisal and grass rugs are very popular. I don’t have a lot of experience with these, but love the casual vibe they offer, and they work great for layering other rugs on top. Warning: If you have cats, they might like them for a scratching post. I’ve heard comments that often times a new one will need time to “gas-off”, so leave the windows open.
Accessories – When shopping for accessories look for larger and fewer items to make a statement. Too many small items will not attract the eye and will end up looking like clutter. ( Check out my Designer Checklist below for tips on which accessories to keep in your arsenal).
When shopping for furniture, it’s important to keep your storage solutions in mind, always giving thoughtful consideration on how you and your family are going to be using the rooms.
Think about how you want to feel in the rooms when choosing colors.
Pull pictures from magazines, start a Pinterest Board, or make a vision board for each room. Here you can add paint swatches, fabric and wood samples, and photos that inspire the look you want to achieve.
Have family meeting to get everyone’s input of what they want and need in each room.
Start a binder with all of the ideas that you have gathered. Make a separate one for each room if you need to.
Congratulations on the purchase of your new home. I hope this article has given you some insight and hope that you do not have to live in an empty home. You can have a home that nurtures and sustains you through the best and the toughest times in your life.
Have fun with the process!
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