Whether you are furnishing your first home, doing a room makeover, or purchasing for a vacation home, budgeting is important. Knowing where to place your dollars can make a big difference in stretching your budget as far as possible. Based on many years of experience and thousands of client purchases, these are some things you may want to consider.
With any purchase there is a difference between cost and value. This is something I define for all my clients. Just because it costs more does not mean it is a better quality product. I will also add one more column to our discussion and this is perceived value. Keeping it very simple, cost is what you are going to pay for the product, value is the difference between what it cost and the quality of the product. Perceived value is what it looks like it cost. Value is also what the product is worth to the buyer and its’ priority in the home. I always operate in value and perceived value. Whether you are doing a whole house or just one item, you need to decide the priority of the piece or the room you are purchasing for. I have found that the most important purchases in a home can be unclear or not thought through. We often spend the most amount of money on the least used rooms in the house. (i.e., living room and dining room) Therefore, the return on your investment is lower. This is where I stress perceived value. I can show you dining chairs that cost $975.00 per chair or ones that cost $450.00. Both chairs will be suitable for your project, but one choice offers a budget option. As a designer, I feel it is my responsibility to make you aware of the product details and quality, make design suggestions, and offer you options. If I have done this, then your final decision will be an informed one.
So what should be your buying priorities? From my experience, the top four selections are the sofa you sit on, the table you eat on, the master bedroom and MOST IMPORTANT the mattress you sleep on. I know these are not some of the more glamorous purchases, but they are the most impacting to you.
The Sofa You Sit On (the most) : You should always buy the highest value sofa you can afford. Notice I said value, not price. This is the one piece of furniture you will spend the most shared time on. Your family and guest will use it every day so it needs to be durable and very comfortable. There are many options to explore when purchasing a sofa. The style and size of this piece can determine the total look for your room. Frame construction, cushion fill, fabric durability, design and comfort should all be considered. A great sofa is a good feeling.
The Table You Eat On (daily): For most people this is the kitchen table. Many people think this is a place they can cut expenses. After all it’s, “just the kitchen table”. But this is the one piece of furniture that is in the central area of the home. Everything happens in the kitchen. It doesn’t matter how big your house is when you are having that social gathering, everyone always seems to end up in the kitchen! The kitchen table is the piece of furniture that can tell your family stories. It is where we laugh more, cry some, do homework, pay bills, tell our dreams, confess our secrets, console our friends and get the closest to our loved ones. You use and touch it every day. If it is going to be that integral to the home, it should look great, feel comfortable, and be a quality purchase. Family happens at the kitchen table.
The Master Bedroom: For some this is a tough priority decision because “nobody sees it”. But, YOU see it. You will have a direct relationship to this furniture daily. You will see it, touch it, feel it, open it, close it, pull it, and shut it every day. You will see the wood, feel the hardware, and open the drawers. It is the room where you will have the most pieces of any collection. This is a room that will have one of the highest returns on your investment. You will start your day and end your day in the master bedroom. You need to love the furniture that is there.
The Mattress: Your mattress is the MOST IMPORTANT home furniture purchase you make. It is also the least considered and the least researched by the customer. You spend more time on your mattress than any other purchase. This should have a high priority in your budget. A good mattress is an investment in your health. Many factors should be considered when you purchase your mattress. What room is it going in, who will be sleeping on it, what is the size and style of the bed it will be going on, etc. A mattress is not just something to put on your new bed. It is a “quality of life” purchase.
Whether your budget is large or small, for a whole house or just one piece, a good design consultant can direct you in your purchase and help you make informed decisions. Setting your priorities will be very helpful in completing your design project. Quality and value should be the goal. Home design is an investment into who you are. It’s not just furniture.
Terry Parker| Furnitureland South Design Consultant