Design Dilemma: Design on the Cheap | Home Design Find

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Design Dilemma: Design on the Cheap

2 21 08qualityfurniture2 how to tips advice

When times get tight, interior design naturally takes a back seat. Who can afford to splurge on new furniture or a renovation when it’s a challenge enough to cling to a job? And yet, having a peaceful and beautiful home actually takes on more importance during economic downturns.  We need a place to recharge and feel nurtured. We want to feel in control of (at least) our home environment. We want a place to be safe.

Still, it’s not easy spending the hard-earned bucks on decorating. Aside from the well-known strategies of shopping flea markets, thrift shops or Craig’s List, what else can you do to get good design on the cheap? Here are some suggestions:

1) Buy Floor Models. Sample furniture that has sat out on display is often offered up at a pretty stiff discount, but with relatively little wear and tear. Floor models often cost less than 50 percent off regular price. Keep a sharp eye out and ask wherever you happen to be shopping.

2) Shop the “As Is” section. Some stores have a special section of damaged merchandise for sale. (Ikea, for example). Is the damage something you can live with? Often it is. If you know you can easily fix a damaged piece, take the plunge and buy it, at a steep discount.

3) Inspect new furniture and look for damaged merchandise. Next time you’re out shopping, keep a sharp eye out for merchandise that may be slightly damaged. Often, you can persuade a store to give you a substantial discount for relatively small damage that can easily be disguised, repaired or hidden. Some stores will give you a discount, just for accepting merchandise in a box that has already been opened.

4) Make friends with an interior designer or decorator. Professional designers and decorators routinely get 10 to 20 percent discounts at many furniture and home stores. You can benefit by taking an interior designer friend shopping with you the next time you’re in the market for a significant new piece of furniture.

5) Shop your local universities. Schools and universities are perfect for finding expertise at a reduced cost. Want new art for your walls but can’t afford gallery prices? Visit your local art school. These schools often put on student sales with student work for sale several times a year. If you need a woodworking project done in your home, investigate local woodworking schools where some students might be willing to build a bookcase or a table for less. The same principle goes for interior design and decorating schools.

6) Learn to love the hunt. When money is hard to come by, it’s not easy to run out and pick up whatever you want on a whim. You have to save and hunt for deals. You have to comb Craig’s List and local antique shops, and wait around until you find the right price. So embrace the whole process, and enjoy the hunt of searching down good design as much as the gratification of finally buying a long-coveted piece!


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