Furnishing a home means making choices. Whether it’s a 400 sq. ft studio apartment or a 10,000 sq. ft foot home, it can be very overwhelming and yes, let’s be real, quite expensive. So let’s mix high-quality items where it matters with less expensive items where it doesn’t.
Before furnishing any space in your home, do me a solid:
- Write down all the pieces that you need to purchase. Like a sofa, a bed frame, a coffee table, storage bench, a blender, curtains, etc.
- From that list, think about which pieces you’ll use the most. Those that you’ll use the most are most likely the ones you should consider spending versus saving.
After figuring out what pieces of furniture you need, and you begin sourcing, do me another solid and ask yourself these two questions for each item you’re considering buying:
- Will I still be in love with this piece 5-10 years down the line?
- Will this piece be able to transition with me to future homes?
Trends come and go. Not everything you buy for your first apartment (or 2nd or 3rd or even 6th, in my case) will make it to your final home and your style may change. However, I stress the importance of asking yourself these questions because in the long run, it’ll save you money, time, and most importantly, your sanity. I’ve learned from my own mistakes.
After doing these simple steps, you can now feel confident in your selection decisions. The goal here is to spend on items that you’ll love and have for the long haul, not spend small amounts over and over again, eventually breaking your bank. To help get you started, below are a few suggestions where you might consider spending versus saving.
| Sofa | A sofa should reflect your lifestyle. For those of you who spend the majority of time in your living room, a sofa that is not only comfortable, but made high in quality will be amortized over many years – 15-20, even 30 years! Why shell out 1k every other year, if you can spend 6k on a high-quality sofa that’ll last for 15-20 years? Keep in mind the size. I wouldn’t advise purchasing a sectional if it won’t be your last home. The facing of the chaise can screw things up. Stick to standard dimensions and a classic style, if you can, so that it can move with you.
| Smaller, storytelling pieces | A smaller piece more easily fits into any space and can be used as an accent in a variety of rooms. Those pieces that have a story or meaning behind them will inevitably transition with you from home to home, and make for fun conversations between you and your guests!
| Mattress | This is another item, like a sofa, that can last many years. And anything that concerns your health and well-being is worth investing. We sleep a third of our lives so make it worthwhile, and treat yourself!
| Window treatments | Windows are often focal points in rooms, and the positioning of your treatment can make a room look a lot larger and taller. It’s worth spending whatever is required to make them look their best. Use good-quality fabrics for drapes or roman shades – the difference between top-line and cheap is noticeable. Hardware, on the other hand, is where you can save. Hardware is mostly hidden by the fabric, and many companies make stylish rods that look fabulous for less.
| Paint | Paint can run the price scale, anywhere from $30 to $150. The cost differences have to do with a variety of factors – a major one being durability. Back in the day there was a significant gap in quality from the Home Depots of the world (low end) and the Benjamin Moores (high end), but that quality gap has shrunk. Home Depot has got their ish together! While I’m not suggesting you totally skimp on paint quality, I am saying that you can get away with a mid-end manufacturer and it will still look great.
*Tip: Before you decide on painting your entire house, please, please, please trial the paints out in the respective rooms. You can do this by painting a 12×12 inch square on the wall (3 coats), or making a draw down with several colors. Live with it for a couple of days to see how the color looks in different lighting throughout the day. You’ll be surprised at how different a color looks from online to in person to on the wall.
| Side tables | You can get a side table anywhere. And folks these days are being inventive in making their own – like using a wine crate with a glass top. In addition, these tables don’t get used often so quality isn’t all that important.
| Sheets | When a sales representative talks about the thread count my blood boils a little. A higher thread count does not mean it’s better quality. Anything above a 200 thread count, and you’ll be good. Fiber is where it’s at – long fiber like those in Egyptian cotton is the standard of excellence. Check out this article in the Huffington Post that goes into the trenches about sheets.
| Artwork | The wonderful thing about artwork is that you can make almost anything into a piece of art. Get crafty – frame fabrics, wallpaper, postcards, or even scarves. Slap a frame on that bad boy, hang it, and you’re set! You can visit butfirstcoffeemom.com for more ideas.