As many of you already know, Ted and I bought our very first home late this past summer. What you probably don’t know however, is how much we agonized over the decision. As silly as this might sound (considering we’re married and had both already moved continents for one another!) it felt like our first real foray into the adult world, something which brought with it more questions and more frayed nerves than I ever could have imagined – especially in my case! If I’m being totally honest? I’m extremely prone to over-thinking and over-stressing most things in life (I like to say I’m a realist but Ted claims “disasterist” would be much more appropriate) so my rather intense reaction to “adulting” really shouldn’t have come as such a surprise. Another thing I should have expected? Just how overwhelming I was going to find furnishing the house . . .
5 Questions To Ask Before Investing In Furniture
Do you really love it? You’re not always going to be in a position to spend exactly what you’d like to but if you don’t love that couch, coffee table or cashmere throw then it may not be worth it. Shopping for media consoles at Raymour & Flanigan, Ted and I found ourselves completely torn between two different mid-century styles; one I really liked and a more expensive version I really loved – typical!
Eager to stick to our budget we already knew compromises would have to be made but we hadn’t quite figured out when or where to make ’em. Thankfully, Carrie (the infinitely patient manager of R&F’s Warwick location) helped put it all in perspective by reminding us of a few things including 1. the fact that we were planning on making this a very central piece in our home and 2. we’d be spending quite a bit of money regardless of which console we opted for.
As you can probably guess, we went with our hearts and we’re so happy we did. Those bigger, foundational pieces? Much more deserving of your love and your hard earned dollars – particularly if there’s a chance you’ll end up replacing something a year or two down the road simply because you “just don’t love it enough!”
Is it a good investment? It’s perfectly ok to buy a piece of furniture to last only a few years (especially if you’re prone to moving frequently or if you just want your furniture to survive your
Goldendoodle’s children’s messiest years) but if you’re genuinely ready to invest in a piece that’ll go the distance then really take the time to investigate it’s quality. As tempting as it might be to spend $1000 on a couch versus $2000 it may not feel like such a bargain if the fabric rips or the springs give way a year later.
Again, you’re not always going to be in a position to spend what you‘d like when you’d like but it’s generally best to buy the highest-quality items you can afford – within reason that is!
A few quick tips;
* Look for furniture with a good solid wood frame (not particleboard) that’s jointed rather than glued.
* If you’re searching for upholstered furniture that’ll last, stay away from silks and light-colored cottons. Spill prone? Consider stain resistant synthetic fabrics.
* Don’t forget to give it a test. Sit on it, open it, lift it – you get the picture!
Of course, a good investment isn’t determined by quality alone . . .
Will you still love it in 10 years? Yeah, we’re talking ’bout the yucky love stuff again – heads up Julia Roberts! But on a serious note? This is probably the most important question to ask yourself and (bonus!) probably one of the hardest to answer. Truth is, there’s no such thing as guarantees but you can stack the odds in your favor by opting for designs both classic and versatile.
Even better yet? Do as Carrie (no, not Bradshaw, I’m talking about my main girl at R&F – but seriously, she helped us with so much!) advised us and give yourself time to live with the “idea” of a piece before actually making the purchase. Still in love with it after a week? Pull. The. Trigger.
What do you really need—vs. want? One of the things we loved most about our new home? The deck. Having purchased at the height of summer we were both dying to make it rosé-ready but creating a cozy-chic outdoor space to “sip in style” when fall is right around the corner? Not what you’d call essential! A bed for the guest room you’ve already offered up to multiple family members in the coming weeks? A little more pressing!
Making a list of the things we needed and the things we wanted for our new home allowed us to identify priorities and focus our spending in the most practical way possible. My advice? Make the list, check it twice.
Do I actually understand the size of my home? First things first; measure everything twice. Once you have that information? Use it wisely.
I had no idea how important proportion really is when we first started furnishing our home. Now (following multiple back-and-forths with Carrie) I understand that it’s actually the key to creating a home as comfortable as it is beautiful – #sizematters. A too-small rug? It’ll ruin a room. A media console pushed into the furthest corner of a room in order to accommodate another piece? Not worth the cramped look.
Despite coming to understand the importance of proportion it was still really hard for me to visualize our space – leaving enough space between items as well as room to walk around them were two things I forgot all about embarrassingly often. If you’re struggling with the same issues then I’d highly recommend making a “furniture plan.” The guys at Raymour & Flanigan actually have an amazing program that lets you digitally furnish your home to scale so you get a clear, visual representation of your would-be space.