Sunday, February 26, 2012

Home Furnishings on a Budget

Buying a home is an exciting event.  After months of planning and searching for the right home at the right price in the right neighborhood moving day arrives.  In our case all that was being moved required multiple trips in the car.  No u-haul was needed because there was no furniture.  I take that back.  There was one bed, a desk, and a t.v. with a stand.  A friend provided a pick-up for this one load.  A house seems so much more spacious without furniture.  We wandered around the open spaces deciding what we really needed and wanted.  We talked about getting a pool table for the empty living room. The air mattresses really are quite comfortable.

I did have some pieces in a storage unit so it was good to get arrangements made to close that out but it was mostly personal items and family heirloom pieces.  The lot consisted of mom's treadle machine and kitchen table, my antique buffet, 1 bed, and grandma's 100 year old oak chairs and hope chest, and two dressers.  The long trip with all my stuff in a horse trailer including the dog ended up costing possibly more than the value of replacement of the items but really, can grandma's chairs ever be replaced?

We had decided before moving that as tempting as it might be there would be NO DEBT PURCHASES.  No monthly installments, no 90 days same as cash, and no regrets.  No sweat.  That was until a major expense came up right after moving that had not been revealed on the inspection that was an immediate MUST FIX item.

Does this sound like life or what?

So with the pocket books much diminished the hunt was on for somewhere to comfortably sit.  Our weekly adventures were to hit the garage sales, consignment and thrift stores, watch the ads, craigs list, and keep our ears open for deals.

The first blessing was a brand new bed offered for free from a friend with a guest room that was no longer needed. 

Shortly after moving in we found our first garage sale score just down the street.  I had decided that I would rather have a seating area in my room than a dresser and found a love seat, chair, and ottoman for $150.  The price included 2 men carrying the set 5 doors down the street and depositing it in the home.  I really like the different periods of furniture and these pieces reminded me of something from the days of blond wood,  only popular for a season and reminiscent of the 1950's. Since there was no other couches in the living areas we left them there temporarily while we continued our search.

Weeks passed and the hunt went on.  The furniture consignment center looked like the most promising spot. The prices were good for the quality but still a little more than we wanted to spend.  Biglots even had a nice new set and with the discounts gave room for pondering. 

Then it happened.  We came to a garage sale where a grandma was selling her 1970's claw foot living room set in excellent conditon.  We all burst out laughing the moment we saw it because it had to be one of the ugliest sets we had seen.  It was as if the designer could not quite figure out what style they were going for so put all the styles into one eye catching combination. Yet at the same time we could all picture it right in the living room.  The set included 2 love seats, a chair, and an ottoman.  While we looked at it the owner lowered the price from $200 to $150.  We whispered to one another that if they could deliver we were on.  The question was asked and before the money exchanged hands the furniture was loaded.  A wood rocker was added to the deal for an additional $30.  We laughed all the way home.  When the men saw our older antiques they commented on the vintages though I had never thought of 1970 being an antique.  It was just the age of ugly furniture but I do admit it looks nice with the 1930's buffet and Singer that is even older than that.

Only one room left to go.  And, this was where we would spend the most time.  The rec room.  I said that to someone and they had no idea what I was talking about.  I responded "you know, where the t.v. goes".  They thought I meant the living room.  The conversation went back and forth as I explained that t.v. does not go in the living room because that is where company stays or one goes to read a book.  Of course if you only have one room then the t.v. would be there but not if there are two.  Then I referred to it as a family room and they still did not know what I was talking about, no it was not a den.

We were at 6 to 8 months now as our quest continued.  We joked about how long this would go on.  At this point it didn't really matter because we were comfortable, not sleeping on the floor, and still had plenty of space if someone wanted to ride a big wheel in the house.  All of our garage sale shopping was paying off with books, clothes, toys, kitchen appliances, and other fun stuff.   But, we knew our shopping days might soon be over because we were getting to the point that we needed to have a garage sale not go to a garage sale.

So here it is:  The $200 furniture.  Comfy, good condition, easy to wipe with a damp rag if needed.  One can stretch out, lay down, or use the ottomans as extra seating if needed.  The set came with the couch, chair, two ottomans, and two tables.  And, of course, same day delivery.

The best thing about these purchases in addition to the daily use they get is that in the future any of the pieces can be replaced guilt free, resold at a garage sale for a similar price, or if an out of area move  occurs they can be used and given away.  Replacement could happen at the other end except of course for the heirloom pieces entrusted to my care.

They were not purchased for the style so much as for their function. Style can come sooner or later when the money has been saved and other financial goals acheived.  If you have been keeping track the total is $530 for three rooms of furniture.  Lamps, rugs, and decorative items are being added along the way.   Whether this furniture is used for two years or twenty years it will still feel like a good deal.  The buffet?  I bought that in 1984 as part of a dining room set for $150.  I no longer have the table and chairs and if you notice one of the little knobs is different which I am fine with.  There is still a tag inside that indicates that it was built in Portland, Oregon in the 30's. 

Though you may not share the same taste in choice of styles the outlets I have mentioned carry all styles.  The consignment store especially carried many high end pieces for a fraction of their new cost. 

Happy shopping!


Practical Parsimony said...

I have forgotten where you live, but family room and den are interchangeable, as is den and rec room. They may have specific meanings and functions to you, but for all intents and purposes, people are speaking of the same concept.

Mostly all I have ever had was old furniture. The sofa from 1968 was bought new, but it is trash now, covered with a swanky piece of velvet. It serves my purpose. I have been writing a post of finds of mine and the restoring of old/vintage/antique lamps.

My table and chairs were purchased new in 1968, our first and only table and chairs. The chair I am sitting in was purchased new in 1970, and is still comfortable.

I think I remember you had to leave most everything behind, maybe the horse trailer contents?

If I ever had to move, I would probably put few pieces in storage, trash some, and then have only boxes of books and kitchen ware, and clothing to travel by car.

Washer, dryer, refrigerator, stove, table and chairs, treadle, other sewing machines, and one antique dresser would need a horse trailer.Ha! Is that too much for a horse trailer? llol.

Did you have to move appliances?

Buying used would be the only way I would go for the bed and sofa I would need. You made smart decisions. There is only me, so seating would not be urgent or maybe not even

Carol Schultz said...

lol. Had to laugh at your comment about the horse trailer. In addition to the furniture I mentioned I think I had 20 boxes of books and three generations of family pictures. When I moved things went into storage for a year before they were brought down so I had not even sorted. I also had a mover, power washer, 250 egg incubator, and saddle. All the things I needed for a smooth transition into city life. :)

donna said...

I happen to like all the pieces pictured, but i am also very ecclectic in my decorating style...and enjoy it (could that be a bit of bohemian) or just walking my own path?
Pottery Barn has some really neat ideas, and i found out how to make a piece look old and worn...(i am doing beachy w./shells and sail boats and light houses...and wicker, and candles, and trays and glass....i have huge glass pieces (GoodWill) that are FULL of shells!

Carol Schultz said...

Donna, I love the water themes. Always so peaceful.

anieb said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
anieb said...

Nice Home Furniture.Specially the second is the best in all these products.The color of the sofa's is the best.I love design the nice product.I wanted to thank you for this great post!! I enjoyed every little bit of it, I have you bookmarked and waiting for all the new stuff you post.
Home Furniture

Carol Schultz said...

I need to make one correction to the post. When we rediscussed the prices I had not included $20 for the tables so the correct total is $550.

Practical Parsimony said...

When I said all I had was old furniture, I meant other than the new we bought when we married. Actually, we had no sofa for a year or two. Then, a used one appeared. Then, the new one. However, I got over wanting new furniture and turned to antiques. I have Singer like yours.

You had lots in that horse trailer. Yes, things for a city life. Now, I thought you left the city for the country. Did you go back. I guess I am getting things confused.

Carol Schultz said...

I have been back and forth from the country to the city a number of times. Right now it is city but I still have my rural home. My ultimate life goal is to become a snow bird.