Back when I was in design school we were given projects for hypothetical clients, and there was never a budget. It was fun working for these non-existent people because the sky was the limit! Now that I work for clients in the real world the situation is very different, but I enjoy the creative challenge of working within a budget. Here are some of the things I’ve learned about using my clients’ money wisely: 1. Invest in the important pieces – Think about how you spend the majority of your time when you are home, and which pieces of furniture get the most use (it is probably your bed and sofa). Consider these investment pieces, and allocate more of your budget to get quality items that will last. If you were to calculate the cost per hour of use, it makes more sense to splurge on these pieces instead of the dining room table that you only use a couple times a year. 2. Consider secondhand – I have furnished my own home very reasonably using mostly secondhand furniture (read more about that here). You can often find better quality used pieces for a much lower price. Shopping for used furniture does take more time than buying new, but if you are patient you can find excellent bargains. Make the rounds to used furniture stores and thrift shops in your area, and try online sites like Craigslist and Facebook garage sale groups, I’d also encourage you to ask family and friends – most people I work with have excess furniture that they would love to give to a good home. 3. Save on accessories – The finishing touches, like artwork, rugs, and tabletop décor, are what make your space come to life, but by the time you reach that step in your project funds may be depleted. I often shop at discount stores like TJ Maxx and Marshalls to find accessories at low prices. Overstock.com is my go-to source for a huge selection of reasonably priced area rugs. And Etsy.com has lots of custom, hand-crafted furnishings, like throw pillows, original artwork, and even furniture. You can find one-of-a-kind pieces there, and feel good knowing that your money goes directly to the makers!
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