Most of the couples that hire me don’t have a clue where to start (that’s why they call me), and I ask them some very pointed and specific questions during our initial two hour in-home consultation. These are questions you need to ask yourself because if you just go out and start buying furniture, rugs, window coverings, artwork, and lamps all willy nilly without first knowing the answers to these questions you will be in trouble (and make a lot of costly mistakes).
Your Furniture Budget Step 1: Determine How Much You Can or Want to Comfortably Spend
There is a difference between what you can spend and what you want to spend and it is important to first establish that figure. Does that seem backwards? You are probably thinking, “wait shouldn’t I know how much things cost first, then I will know how much to spend.”
NO. And the reason is because in the furniture market there is a vast spread in cost and quality (and often times they don’t correlate). But if you have a finite dollar amount you can spend say, $20,000, then that is all you can spend. Period. No more, no less. And you have to stick to that amount. Following steps 2 -5 will help you STAY within your budget. On the other hand, even if you can spend more, but are only comfortable spending $20,000, you need to know that as well.
Having a complete list with each item you need and how much you want to spend on it (see step 3 and 4) will keep you on budget and make your available dollars go farther.
Your Furniture Budget Step 2: Determine What You Need or Want
Take an inventory of what you need to purge and what you want to keep. Generally, when couples come to me, they have purged everything, but let’s say you have a desk or chair (or whatever) your favorite great-aunt gave you and it is very important to you, then keep it and incorporate it in your design. Take stock of what you want to keep and up-cycle and get rid of everything else.
Sometimes this is difficult, but you will be happier in the end.
Your Furniture Budget Step 3: Make A List of Must Haves
Once you’ve taken stock of what you are going to keep, it is time to add to the list all the things you will need. Think about how you live.
Do you entertain a lot or not much?
How much seating do you need?
Do you want a square or round coffee table?
What about end tables?
How is the lighting in your space? What is on the floor?
What will go on the walls?
And don’t forget the windows, they need love too.
Your Furniture Budget Step 4: Have an Accurate Dimensioned Drawing of Your Room
Grab some graph paper from an office supply or art supply store and sketch out a dimensioned floor plan. You don’t know how many calls I get that start with,
“I just bought a new couch and it doesn’t fit in my room!”
Oh sure, it was a great buy and you love it, but if it doesn’t fit (you must aquit – I know cheesy, but I think of O.J. every time I hear “if it doesn’t fit……..”) then you didn’t get a bargain at all.
Before you purchase anything, sketch it out on your dimensioned floor plan to make sure it will fit. (Click here to get instructions on how to measure and draw your floor plan).
Your Furniture Budget Step 5: Figure Out What Things Cost
This is the hardest part because, like I said, there is an enormous spread on the cost of furniture.
Ask yourself where you are in your life. Have you just moved into your forever house? Then you will probably want higher end pieces.
But if you are just starting your family, then perhaps cheaper furniture that will only last five years makes more sense until junior is fully potty trained.
Follow these five steps and you will be on your way to creating your true furniture budget.