Having to come up with funds to fill the new home with furniture and décor essentials can be a rather intimidating task. Spending wisely on furniture or whether to invest in other important stuffs for the house are two key questions that many couples face when setting up home.
For those of you who are preparing to or in the midst of renovating your new home, it’s probably the right time to start thinking about your furniture. In my opinion, buying furniture for your first home is very much like buying a car – you are always better off financially not buying it but yet it’s a necessary part of life.
So when you do start shopping around, a word of advice is to spend a fair amount of time to do some smart planning – just like you would test drive a car. You’d also be better prepared with adequate information and time to snag the best deals.
I would like to share some important do’s of furniture shopping that will hopefully come in handy for those of you who are moving into your new home soon.
Start Saving As Early As Possible
The earlier you start saving, the easier it gets. Some couples start worrying about money for furniture and other knickknacks for the new house until it is too late.
Although a few banks in Singapore do offer furnishing loans (along with a renovation loan) capped at six times your income, burdening yourselves with additional debt is never a good idea.
Even if the keys to your new home will only come in a year or two, put yourselves in a better financial position by saving $100 or $200 per month into a new home fund. The bottom line: The sooner you start, the better.
Quality Over Price
Furniture is a long term investment. If for example, you invest in a cheap dining table only to have it last a few months, then it isn’t worth it at all.
You are better off spending a bit more to ensure one that would serve you well for a few good years. You definitely DO NOT want a rickety dining table to collapse halfway through a meal.
The same goes for your bed and sofa. They will stay with you for a long time. Statistics show we spend a third of our lives resting and sitting at home, so for the sake of comfort and your health, it makes plenty of sense to pay more for quality.
Consider Your Lifestyle
Since many married couples have busy lifestyles and would only be home in the evening hours, why not consider opting for basic furniture first at the initial move-in phase.
You could then add pieces of furniture gradually over the months instead of buying everything for the entire house all at once.
This would also help in managing your expenses since a substantial sum of money would have been used to pay off your home renovation and other essential household appliances such as the TV, refrigerator, washing machine etc.
Additionally, it may only be the two of you for now, but do keep future lifestyle changes in mind such as the arrival of a baby or elderly parents moving in etc. These factors will also impact the type of furniture designs (for safety aspects) and their layout in your home.
Reuse Existing Furniture
There’s an old saying, if it ain’t broken, why throw it away?
If you have existing or vintage furniture and they are still in reasonably good condition, you may want to spruce them up a little and bring them over to your new home. You could then shop for some new ones to match those existing pieces.
Spend Within Your Means
The trick to setting up a comfortable first home on the cheap is to wisely manage your budget and know how much you can afford to spend. Keep a look-out for warehouse sales, clearing stock offers or even garage sales.
Retailers would regularly clear excess inventories or past season goods at events like these and often times, you could spot some good buys.
If you don’t have enough funds to furnish the whole house all at once, then focus on the living area and your bedroom first because they are where the both of you spend most of your time.
Embrace the Serendipity
You will realize that your first home will not be perfect. Learn how to live with the sporadic odd piece of furniture or a sofa that may not be your ideal because that is exactly how real life is. You’re learning what you like to live with, not just what you like in a picture.
Measure Before Buying
It would be wise to measure the room or area which you intend to furnish and remember to take into consideration existing features such as windows, doors, pillars etc. This will help you gauge sufficient floor space in which you intend to place the furniture comfortably and look aesthetically pleasant.
If you are looking for a particular furniture item, make an effort to note down its manufacturer, price, model number etc. This way, it would be easy for you to make comparisons at different places and to get the best deal on that item.
Ask Friends and Family
Get recommendations from friends and family as they may provide you valuable inputs on the right places to shop in. Who knows, they might even have some pieces that have outgrown the house or they simply need room for new things, which you could use.
Daunting as it may seem, the entire process of shopping for your furniture and decorating your new home is nonetheless a wonderful experience. To conclude, don’t rush into things because you need not buy everything in one go. Take your time and make informed choices to style your home right.