Designing Your Home When You’re Not A Designer…on a Budget: Part 3- Where to Buy The Right Furniture
Oh Right The Actual Shopping Part
Last week we looked into how to find the right furniture for your home. If you missed that or the start of this home decor series, go check out the start here and last week’s post here!
So at this point in this series, I’ve helped you get your list of items to buy, now it’s onto shopping. Which with as many sources there are out there, it can be overwhelming. Maybe you don’t even want to think about this step until you’ve first budgeted, and that’s totally cool. Go ahead and sit out this one and come back to this post after next’s week post all about budgeting.
For me, I liked the idea of shopping before I set down my hard numbers for my budget.
I knew I had a realistic idea of how much I would be willing to spend on certain items, so I made sure I wasn’t going to be looking at furniture that cost more than I even make in a month.
When it comes to shopping, first you have to figure out where to shop for furniture. You’ve got a few options of how you want to go about it:
Pro: Supporting local stores is crazy important! It’s important for your local economy, but even better you are directly affecting the lives of the people you are seeing right in the shop! These are your neighbors, friends, and family. By buying local, you are helping the owners continue their dream/business and the employees are continued in their livelihood. It’s really hard for so many local businesses, so when you can this is the most responsible place to go!
Con: Price & Selection. Because local shops tend to be brick & mortar, they do have more overhead costs than online shops. So they do tend to be pricer because they have to. Which is a bummer on the wallet, but is way understandable.
Selection on the other hand really varies on the store your in. Maybe the owners have taste that aligns with yours and you’ve hit the jackpot! Or maybe you really have to search to find something you like. It can be a hit or a miss.
Pro: Once again, you’re usually supporting the local economy and in most cases non-profit! These places can be full of hidden treasures and usually way, way cheaper than anywhere else.
Con: Not all thrift stores are great, in fact, I find I have to avoid certain ones because they have histories of donating to anti-LGBT groups and other things I just can’t ethically get on board with. This might not be a problem for you, but I do suggest you do your research before you support them and see where the money goes to. Mind you that is just for non-profits. If it’s a for-profit resale shop, it’s run like any other retail business and the money is generally funneled back into the business.
And thrifting is well, kind of an art. It takes time and skill to search. You might not find anything great in one trip. If you’re looking for pieces that you’ll love for a long time, you’ll usually have to become a regular to really get a better selection. Then there’s also the issue of buying these used items, sometimes things are broken and need be repaired. And other times you’ll just need the vision to DIY something old and okay, into something new and great.
Side note: I worked at a thrift store for a couple of years and honestly you learn a lot about thrifting when you work at one. Drop me a comment in the comments section if you want more guides or posts about thrifting!
Big Box Stores
Pro: Places like IKEA, Pottery Barn, Target and West Elm exist basically everywhere. They generally have a range of prices, so you can choose what fits your budget. Most items are available for long periods of time, even years. Most of these stores also sway to a certain aesthetic making it easier to figure out which ones for you to shop at based on your own aesthetic. And big stores can afford to have pretty good sales and coupons!
Con: The quality can be questionable. They can still be kind of pricer than say thrifting or online options. And they can be super cookie-cutter.
Pro: Nearly limitless selection of furniture from tons of different websites and tons of different price points. You aren’t limited by geographic location! And you can usually find really good deals.
Cons: Not seeing furniture in person! Not being able to feel the texture of a fabric, or sit on a couch to test it out, well that sucks. It’s a gamble to figure out the quality of the pieces and it can be hard to imagine the size of things.
Side note: Online reviews are king! Being able to see customers images, thoughts, pros and cons, and even better, video reviews, is an essential on feeling confident on your selection. It really helps out on the whole gambling on comfort and quality side of things. But take everything with a grain of salt.
The Where to Shop Leads to…How much to spend?
Once you figure out the places to source all your furniture, you can start looking for sales and coupons. When you shop is an extremely important part of figuring out how to afford the things you truly want.
Look online for coupons and deals, sign up for store’s email newsletters and start to get to know the prices of items you’re attracted to. Doing all these things will start to give you a clear number on how much you’ll be spending per item.
But don’t worry about all of that. I’ll get more in-depth into the actual budgeting part in next week’s post: Designing Your Home When You’re Not A Designer…on a Budget Part 4: Furniture Shopping On a Budget.
So where is your favorite place to go for hunting down the perfect furniture? I’m a bit of an IKEA fanatic myself. Let me know if you are too in the comments down below!