Furniture can be insanely expensive, and investing in designer or heirloom pieces isn’t always possible. How can you furnish your home with pieces that look and feel like they will last more than a season? At Décor Aid we always try to get the best deals for our customers. Here are some of the best tips from our designers for maximizing your budget.
Pictures: Living room from our project featured in New York Magazine.
Be ready to buy floor models
You can save a lot of money by buying pieces at the end of the season when stores switch their display to new collections. If you can find a cheap piece of wood but the shade is too light, you can keep it darker. If it is slightly damaged, it can be easily repaired.
Do not forget to carefully examine the floor models
Sit in a chair to make sure it’s stable. Press down on a table to make sure it doesn’t wobble. Open and close the dresser drawers to make sure they slide smoothly. Look at the quality of the finish – there should be no bubbles, peels, or chips, and the paint should be applied evenly. The upholstery seams should be straight and there should be no holes in the fabric.
Get as much information as possible about the story of the piece: how long has it been on the floor? Was it a customer return? If a customer was a return, be careful – the full history is unknown. Find all of the skeletons in the closet before making a purchase.
Consider buying a replica
This is a great way to get a high quality looking piece without a major investment. Although these pieces are not heirloom quality, they will last a long time depending on how you use them. If you later decide that the piece no longer fits your style or works in your space, you won’t feel bad selling or swapping it out.
Don’t buy anything that feels weak
Typically, if a piece is light, it probably isn’t sturdy or well made. Even wood-based materials like furniture made from MDF (medium-density fibreboard) are heavy if they are of good quality. Solid wood items are preferable.
Pay attention to the fabric
Natural fibers and fabrics are preferable, but most have plastics mixed in – even the highest quality textiles have a small percentage woven through for durability and stain resistance. Buying fabrics mixed with plastics can help keep costs down. But be aware of the quality: a fabric with about half or less synthetic is fine as long as it still has a natural appearance.
The most durable upholstery fabrics are velvet and tweed. In the case of windows, linen offers privacy and lets in light. Wool satin is the ultimate choice for a more substantial fabric: it’s ultra-luxurious and falls well with a subtle sheen.
Don’t forget to consider your lifestyle
If you have children or pets, or are choosing a piece for a high traffic area, we often recommend fabrics for indoor and outdoor use. They are super durable and beautiful so you don’t have to worry about your living room being 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 fabrics. They’re also durable, versatile, and available in every imaginable color.