Furniture can be crazy expensive, and investing in designer or heirloom pieces isn’t always feasible. So how can you furnish your home with pieces that look and feel like they’ll last longer than a season? At Décor Aid, we always try to score the best deals for our clients. Here are some of our designers’ best tips for maximizing your budget.
DO BE WILLING TO BUY FLOOR MODELS
You can save a lot of money by purchasing pieces at the end of the season when stores are changing their display to new collections. If you find an inexpensive wooden piece but the shade is too light, you can restain it darker. If it’s slightly damaged, it might be easy to repair.
DON’T FORGET TO INSPECT FLOOR MODELS THOROUGHLY
Sit on a chair to ensure it’s sturdy. Push on a table to make sure it doesn’t wobble. Open and close dresser drawers to check that they slide smoothly. Look at the quality of the finish–there should be no bubbles, peeling, or chips, and the color should seem evenly applied. The upholstery seams should be straight and there shouldn’t be any holes in the fabric.
Obtain as much information about the piece’s history as you can: How long it has been on the floor? Was it a customer return? If it was a customer been a return, beware–it’s full history is unknown. Find all the skeletons in the closet before deciding whether or not to purchase.
DO CONSIDER BUYING A REPLICA
This is a great way to get a high-end looking piece without a major investment. Although these pieces are not heirloom quality, depending on use they will last a long time. If you later decide the piece no longer fits your style or works in your space, you won’t feel bad selling it or swapping it out.
DON’T BUY SOMETHING THAT FEELS FLIMSY
As a general rule, if a piece is lightweight, then it’s probably not sturdy or well-made. Even engineered wood products, such as furniture made from MDF (medium density fiberboard) are heavy if they are a good quality. Solid wood items are preferable.
DO PAY ATTENTION TO THE FABRIC
Natural fibers and fabrics are preferable, but most have synthetics mixed in–even the most high-end textiles have a small percentage woven through for durability and stain resistance. Buying fabrics mixed with synthetics can help you keep costs down, but consider the quality: A fabric with about half or less synthetic is fine, as long as it still has a natural look and feel.
The most durable fabrics for upholstery are velvet and tweed. For windows, linen provides privacy and lets light in. Wool sateen is the ultimate choice for a more substantial fabric: its ultra-luxurious, and drapes well with a subtle sheen.
DON’T FORGET TO CONSIDER YOUR LIFESTYLE
If you have kids or pets, or you’re choosing a piece for a high-traffic area, we often recommend indoor/outdoor fabrics. They are super durable and beautiful, so you don’t have to worry that your living room is full of patio furniture.
If you or a family member has allergies, synthetic fabrics are the way to go. Ultra suede and micro suede fabrics feel lush and soft. It has a thin pile, so it doesn’t collect dust like thicker weaves do. They are also durable, versatile, and available in every color imaginable.