So the remodel, addition, or brand new home is complete. Hooray! After months of living with drywall dust, plastic tents, and strange men in overalls inhabiting your space, you are ready to move in and become king/queen of your castle. But alas! Compared with the new awe inspiring space, your furniture looks and feels tired and frumpy. What to do? Lucky clients (very few to be forthright) are able to rush right out and buy the brand new living room set or master bedroom suite. For many clients, their budget has been stretched to the limit simply getting the project completed and there is little cash left over for all new furnishings. Here are a few friendly tips we’ve learned over the years to enable you to furnish the new space economically so it feels fresh and can evolve as you live in it over time:
- Organize existing furniture and accessories into categories of “keep as is”, “keep and re-furbish” and “donate”
This seems pretty straightforward and it is.
– There are always items that are worth keeping and will be perfect when used in the space in a new way without refinishing or refurbishing. Set these aside and open your mind as to how they might be incorporated in to the new space (example; an old chair may be better used in the new library as opposed to where it was always positioned in the Living Room).
– Look at old items in a new way: Can the old birdcage be re-worked to act as a fun lampshade? Locate these items and set them aside as fun, economical projects to add to the space.
– Purge! Purge! Purge! Do not be intimidated by the “donate”pile. It is better to have a sparsely furnished space than an inappropriately furnished space. Allow pieces to be recycled and re-used by others who can appreciate them more (nice way of saying, “get rid of the junk”) Once the space is free of clutter, a true vision of how to move forward in the space becomes clearer.
- Make a list of items you need immediately that you are not able to re-use from existing pieces:
Again, this is not rocket science!
– Make a list of “must-have” items (your family eats at the dining table every night and you just donated the old table and chairs), a list of “would really like right now” items (not critical, but would be top of the list if possible), and a list of “can wait” items.
– Focus on the “must haves”. Many clients have had great success scouring garage sales, Craig’s List, and E-bay to locate the perfect pieces for their new space at a fraction of the full retail price. If this is not your style (or you do not have the patience), take your “must have” list and visit local suppliers and retailers; focusing only on the items you need immediately. Once the “must have” list is satisfied, you can shop at a more leisurely pace for the items on the remaining lists, allowing for time to spot sales and solidify the items you want to include in the space.
– Helpful Tip:
We have always found it helpful to start with a space defining piece such as an area rug when trying to determine the colors, look and feel for the pieces to be included in the space. A contemporary rug will suggest contemporary pieces, etc and the color palette for the space easily able to be defined and elaborated upon.
A recent article related to mixing new and vintage that could be helpful when furnishing a new space can be found in Modern In Denver.