You have just purchased a home, or maybe you are about to start the process, and the one thought that comes to mind is trying to budget for the furniture you will need to complete your space. Often, it can be overwhelming when you begin to consider the number of rooms that need filling and the budget this requires. This guide is here to get you started and to help you break down the best ways to furnish your home.
Furniture Costs and Budget
When it comes to furniture costs, there is a broad range of quality and price tags you will encounter. If you aren’t paying attention, you might find yourself with a home that is under furnished or over budget. One great way to keep track of your costs and budget is to create a spreadsheet. “Staying on budget requires planning and research. For our clients, we make a spreadsheet or list of what is needed and put a dollar amount to each item; this gives a realistic idea of the budget required. Then, as we select items for purchase, we fill in another column with those real-time prices. This keeps us on track,” explains Cecilia Redmond, president of Redmond Interior Design in Burlington, Vermont. It is a simple, yet effective, way to pay attention to where you are spending.
Another important way to pay attention to costs is to purchase from big to small. Find those larger pieces or big ticket items first and then fill in the smaller pieces as you go. This takes care of filling the room appropriately as well as bringing the most essential items home first. This means that if there is a particular chair or sofa that you know is a splurge, buy that first, and then you can adjust your budget accordingly when it comes to side tables or accessories.
Personal Style and Coordination
The key to turning a house into a home is figuring out your style. If you already know what you are looking for, it makes it an easy choice to find furniture that will appeal to you. If you are still unsure of the exact style, start with a little research. There is a wide array of design styles to choose from, many of which blend with one another to create a whole new style. Popular styles include:
- Transitional – A blend of traditional and contemporary, it has classical elements without too much ornamentation; geometric patterns are a signature of this style.
- Modern – Think of pieces with clean lines, unique materials and smooth finishes.
- Traditional – This is characterized by classical design with Italian and French country influences.
- Contemporary – A blend of modern and traditional elements, this uses classic lines and understated ornamentation.
- Eclectic – A blending of all styles, decor in this trend has a mix of pieces that speak to the homeowner’s personal taste.
- Bohemian – Carefree and relaxed, this style is all about comfort and a mix of textiles. Think poufs on the floor, tapestries on the walls and vintage touches.
- Rustic Modern – A blend of two different styles, it takes the materials and styling of rustic design and adds the distinct lines of modern design. Flannel, natural wood and no ornamentation are key.
If there is a particular item that you have fallen in love with, you can build the design for an entire room around inspiration from that piece. “Always begin with the pieces you love first placed in the room. Those are the items that you will work around when building the room,” says Karen Gray Plaisted of Design Solutions KGP in Warwick, New York.
One of the more challenging aspects of bringing furniture into your home is finding the right size to fit your space. A piece that overwhelms the room can become a regretful purchase, and one that is too small can become dainty and lost in a room.
If you are starting with a home that is empty, use the blank slate of each room to your advantage. Measure out the space with a measuring tape and some graph paper and begin placing furniture on your drawing to see how it all works together. If drawing it out is harder to visualize, you can go full scale with some painter’s tape. Using your measuring tape and the sizes of furniture you intend to buy, tape the outline of the furniture sizes to the floor and walls. Painter’s tape is forgiving to most surfaces and is easily repositionable.
Hollie Blakeney, the Design Director of Compass Modern, has a few tips when it comes to space planning. “Too much furniture can make a room feel crowded and uncomfortable; too little makes a room feel uninviting and clinical. Rooms need to have enough furnishings to meet the needs of the people using the space.”
Incorporating the Old and the New
Almost every new homeowner is faced with the challenge of incorporating furniture they are bringing from their previous home and blending it with newer pieces. If the styles of your new and old pieces are similar, it could be a fairly seamless blend for you.
However, if you have heirloom pieces or are changing the style between your new and old, you will want to pay attention to how you incorporate furniture pieces into your space. One possibility is to update the older pieces to work well with your new pieces. This might include a coat of paint or a new stain or sending it out for re-upholstery. You might have an older sofa blend in well with other older larger items, such as armchairs, and then bring the new elements in with smaller pieces such as side tables. Alternatively, you might have the newer items be the larger pieces and the older ones be the smaller ones. One design style that lends itself easily to incorporating the old and the new is eclectic, as it celebrates the blending of styles.
Buying furniture is all about finding what works for you, paying attention to the sizes and doing your best to stay on budget. Do you have any questions? Enter a comment below.
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