You’ve purchased a house and want to turn it into a home with new furnishings. But you have few leftover funds after closing costs and an inflated housing market. Here are some tips to feather your nest without breaking the bank.
1. Shop closeout sales. This may seem like obvious advice but look for better-quality furniture at end-of-season or discontinued prices — as opposed to pieces that are designed to be offered at lower price points. This allows you to purchase better, more durable items at a lower cost.
2. Consider secondhand. Explore your local thrift and antique stores for older furniture that may be even better than what you can find new. However, focus on case goods (furniture made from wood) as opposed to upholstered items — you never know if there might be a lingering smell or other problem. Also, stay away from used items for babies and children, which might not adhere to current safety standards.
3. Go multifunction. These days, there’s a lot of cleverly designed furniture that can pull off more than just one function. You can find coffee tables that raise up to dining height and ottomans that conceal hidden storage. And sometimes, well-planned furniture placement can help you do less with more. For example, a small desk can double as a nightstand.
4. Model good behavior. If you’re lucky, you may be able to find a model home clearance center near you that resells pieces designers selected to stage builder homes for sale. This can be a great way to get stylish furniture at a fraction of the retail price.
5. Repurpose existing pieces. Your current bedside tables might work well as end tables in your new living room. Likewise, your old sideboard could be a terrific TV stand in the guest room. Look for new uses for existing pieces to save money.
6. Use color to your advantage. Sometimes, you can get away with less when the “bones,” or background, of the room is great. Use a bold paint color to “furnish” your space or to create an accent wall. It’s amazing how different your old pieces can look against a new paint color.
7. Makeover existing pieces. Give existing furnishings a facelift with a fresh coat of paint or stain. Paint wood pieces white or a fun jewel tone. And it’s often more cost effective to reupholster an existing sofa (as long as the frame is in good shape) than purchase a new one.
8. Get personal with accessories. There’s no need to shop the big box décor stores for accessories when you can use your own travel souvenirs and personal memorabilia to add finishing touches to your space. A bowl of shells from a beach vacation and other natural elements can bring the outdoors in while stretching your dollars — and conjuring up fond memories.
Whatever you do, avoid raiding your retirement savings or running up a huge credit card bill to furnish your new abode. With a few smart strategies, a budget in hand and a little patience, you can make your home sweet indeed and still have enough money left for a housewarming party.