Business

Don't go broke furnishing your place

BY PAUL ALLEN
Observer writer

Sunday, July 14, 2019

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A strategically placed mattress on the carpet in the centre of the living room doubled as the improvised couch for the house-warming/games night in my first apartment.

While my friends and I found the entire situation hilarious, it was also recognition that I needed to be deliberate about purchases and do so in stages to not only spread expenses, but also allow my style and need to influence furnishings.

Moving into a new apartment or house can be a daunting task, especially when it is unfurnished. The transition can seem like forever, more so if the space lacks certain requirements that would make it feel homey and more welcoming.

However, in the quest for comfort, we should ignore the pull of instant gratification as it could lead to making poor decisions regarding the cost, quality, and necessity of certain items.

“I racked up almost four hundred thousand dollars' worth of furniture and appliances within the first week of moving into my apartment about six years ago”, said Andrea Lee, 37, who said she “walked into a store and just picked up things I thought I needed immediately. A month later, when the first hire purchase downpayment was to be made, I realised that was a huge mistake.”

Additionally, Lee said she later regretted several of her hasty purchases, either because she thought she overpaid or because they did not reflect her personal style.

“I bought a couch that clashed horribly with the colour of the living room walls and selected a refrigerator that was much too large for my needs and more expensive than I would have paid had I waited and thought it through.”

While aesthetic and affordability are important, they aren't the only factors to be considered.

Most experts will tell you to buy quality pieces and appliances when furnishing your place as this limits the likelihood of you having to replace furniture unless damaged or no longer suited for your lifestyle.

Having moved into his first home four years ago, Marlon Waite, computer technician, agrees but adds: “buy pieces that are quality for you and your budget, not those outrageously priced things you see on cable TV. This may mean that you have to save up and wait a little longer to than is ideal to get good pieces, but these are also investments for you so it's worth it.”

However, buying with consideration for a change in lifestyle is something Waite learned the hard way as he and his significant other welcomed their first child about a year after their move. While they were ready to greet the bouncing baby girl, their furniture was not.

“The minute she started walking I knew we were in trouble (laughs). The material for the couch, rugs, drapes…they just could not stand up to the kind of damage a toddler can wreak. We needed things that were less likely to hold dirt and show marks or, at the very least, easier to clean.”

Making your house into a home is a major priority for most people, but few things worth having happen instantly. Adequately furnishing to account for your budget, lifestyle, and taste may take time, but allows for you to adapt when done in stages.

Start with the essentials and get the rest over time, giving yourself room to save and build out your ideal place; it took the better part of six months before my friends stopped watching TV from the floor.


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