Furnishing A New House On A Budget

So apparently I have done something wrong in a previous life, because I am now moving houses.  I realize this is a first world problem, but it doesn’t make it any less tedious knowing that I have self inflicted unnecessary stress to my already hectic life.  Having said that, you don’t come out of a journey like moving without learning a few things.  Although each person will deal with things differently, here are a couple of general tips that I think will apply for most people who are deciding or are already in the process of moving houses, not so much dealing with packing or house hunting (there is already a wealth of info and some great tips online on those two topics); but more so on furniture shopping, especially if you’re with a cost saving state of mind.

Measure, everything!

Every little nook and cranny is important, you need to measure every wall indentation.  Measure heights and make sure you know where the outlets are and the trims.  Draw a rough sketch of the room and write the measurements.  This will make sure your furniture fits, or that it’s not too small, and that you’re not overlapping by an inch or two.  Can’t stress how important this is, and you’ll have to be thorough.  If you don’t have much time measure for the essentials (i.e. appliances, bed) and then for the rest of the “less important” furniture you can measure in more detail after you move in – plus if you buy most of your furniture after moving in that will save you money with the movers.  This risk though is that items you had wanted might get sold (see last point below.

Buy slightly dented appliances

In many major department stores you can score a top of the line appliances that is priced the same as lesser models, for the simple reason that they might sport a hard to see dent or scratch.  In most cases three sides of an appliance (four if you count the bottom) are hidden from plain sight, and if any one of those sides have a slight dent or scratch you might find it is well worth the price.  If you do go down this path, which to me is a smart choice, go with bigger name stores, because typically they will give you the same warranty as they would give for “pristine” appliances, have them delivered, set up and serviced just like any other piece for a much lower price.  Just make sure you know where the dent or scratch is, and how bad it looks.  If it is something you can tuck hidden away, it can been an easy money save.

Check reused furniture

Plenty of online sources for used furniture.  Typically I would start by looking for what I want in actual runoff the mill furniture stores, get prices for comparison, and then look for similar items online in the buy-and-sell apps.  That way I know what colour I want, the size and the main features of any piece before going down the abyss of second hand furniture shopping.  Don’t underestimate the quality of some second hand furniture; some are a few months old depending on the circumstances of the seller.  So don’t assume they are selling them only because they are damaged.

Go into non brand stores

With less budget for marketing and advertising, you’ll get the cost savings passed on to you.  Plus you are more likely to get better service, more attention, and added extras to close the sale.  Don’t judge a store by its display windows.  I actually went into a couple of furniture stores for fun thinking they were so tacky, I went in to make fun of the pieces only to come out buying an L-shaped sofa or a table.  It can be tedious but going to the random mom and pop furniture store can be surprisingly satisfying and even easy on the wallet.

Plan ahead for out of stock items

Lately the “out of stock” sign, or button if you are shopping online, seems to be everywhere.  With supply chain issues still a problem, for everything, it might be best to plan ahead.  This can still be a common issue even once the supply chain delays are resolved at some point in the future (fingers crossed).  Make sure you buy early and try to delay delivery time to the day of your move or shortly after to save money on the movers.  If items are out of stock and you weren’t able to buy ahead, make a list and prioritize the furniture you need on day one and can’t live without, and list those that you can wait for.  To be honest, any kitchen cabinet or appliance is a top priority and maybe the sofa.  Other than that, beds can wait (sleep on a mattress), a TV unit can wait, a dining table or a desk can wait, and even shelves and drawers can wait (at least for a week or so – you can live out of a box).  If you have kids your list might be modified. But essentially buy early, plan ahead and wait for the furniture you love, even if you have to suffer a few days living out of your bags, better that than settling for furniture that’s meh!


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