So you and your partner, or you, by yourself, have finally bought that dream condominium or house. You’ve been saving and scrimping just for the down payment, and now it is yours. The papers are signed, the keys are jingling in your pocket and you are all moved in. Hmm, but the walls look bare, and it just doesn’t feel “homey”. You need new furniture, and all kinds of little accessories for decorating. What to do? Well, I have a few ideas based on personal experience that are sure to transform your home into a much cozier abode!
The first and most important part of decorating is furniture. Since you will be spending lots of time in your home, hopefully for many years, you will want to get furniture you truly like, and that is of the best quality that you can buy. There are several sources available to you. First is estate and garage sales. Never underestimate the power of these wonderful sales. If you have a good eye for quality, and know what you want in a sofa or coffee table, and have the ability to coordinate mix-and-match pieces, this is a great way to get started! Often, people having garage sales are going through some sort of change of life. This means a divorce, death, marriage, birth or major move. In all of these cases, the sellers may just want the item for sale out the door quickly, without having to bother with it anymore. And this is where your wonderful opportunity comes in. You have negotiation power! Take cash, and be prepared to barter. You may walk away with an expensive couch in great condition, for a fraction of the original price, just for asking for a lowered amount. Always ask and negotiate! Remember, the very worst that you can hear is the word “no”, and that’s not such a bad risk to run, to possibly garner an incredible furniture bargain!
A second excellent source of new or used furniture is craiglist.com. If you live near a major city highlighted on craigslist, you’re in luck. New ads are being posted daily on the site, many with pictures, for quality new and used furniture, and anything else you can imagine. All you have to do, is a search for the item you are looking for, such as “kitchen table”, look at the listings, email those who have what you like, and settle on a price and pick up time. I bought a table and chairs set from this site, and since there were so many other sets like it listed, I was able to dicker back and forth with the seller, and she came down on her price by $25. That’s $25 I didn’t have to spend, just for the asking!
A final source for furniture is low cost retail department stores such as Walmart or Target. Yes, these stores have gotten on the furniture bandwagon as well, and although you may not get the very best in quality, you may still find many durable pieces of furniture which are surprisingly asthetically pleasing and low cost! I was in Target recently, and saw a whole baby nursery outfit that looked beautiful for a very reasonable price. Even my Mom, the true furniture snob, stopped dead in her tracks when she saw how beautiful (and low cost) this lovely set was!
Next on your decorating list may be items such as small lamps, candles, pictures, and other household knick knacks. In my experience, one of the best places to go for these types of items is Big Lots. These stores are amazing, and have an incredible, high-quality, low-cost selection of all types of household decorating items. Scented candles, gorgeous lamps and end tables, framed decorative pictures, table runners, and welcome mats can all be yours for pennies on the dollar in comparison to the prices they were marked up to, at the big retail department stores. For example, I recently purchased a beautiful candle and candle holder set for a friend, that still had the original retail tag on it from Macy’s. I got a sweet deal on this set, and my friend is none the wiser, and very happy with it! All you have to do is keep your bargain eye alert, and sift through the selection until you find what is right for you!
A last finishing touch to your decorating may be more specific art for your walls. A great source I have found is art.com. This website has an endless supply of every kind of wall art you can imagine, and whats more, you can search by topic, artist, or most anything in between. If you want the print, and decide to purchase, you can also select a high quality frame from their web site choices and put it together yourself on line. There is an extra charge for this, but I feel it is worth it, in the time and hassle it saves in taking your picture to a framing shop.
These are but a few mere examples, but as you can see, there is a world of bargains out there waiting for you, to help your new home look its best. All it takes is a little patience and some time. A small investment of time will yield fabulous results for you, in that you will have extra discretionary cash left over in your budget to lavish on your new investment even further. Enjoy decorating your new home!