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Keep in mind a few interior design shopping tips for your next big project. Image: Alex Maguire Photography
For most of us, interior design purchases are a big commitment. In addition to likely having a higher price point, these items need to serve us well for several years. With expectations like those, it’s no wonder many of us want to be completely sure we’re making the right choice before buying a new sofa or dining table. The question is: How can you be certain?
If you’ve found yourself wondering something similar, you’re in the right place. We’ve compiled our favorite interior design shopping tips to help ensure you buy the right piece, every single time. Use them as you tackle your next design project and we guarantee your wallet will thank you.
Plan out your design ahead of time. Image: Panoply Interiors
1. Organize your inspiration before buying
If you’re a regular reader of Freshome, you’ve probably noticed our emphasis on finding design inspiration that fits your personal aesthetic before starting a new project. Today, we’re taking that advice one step further. Not only is it important for you to zero in on décor you love, you should also consider how well pieces fit together before making any purchases.
There are plenty of tools to help plan out your interiors. It can be as simple as creating a vision board like the one shown above or making a new board on Pinterest to house all your links. That said, if you really like to plan things down to the finest detail, there are also several online resources that allow you to tackle tasks like scoping out floorplans and manipulating layouts.
Buy pricey items first. Image: Niche Interiors
2. Put big purchases first
When you’re trying to stick to a budget, there is one cardinal rule: Prioritize your big purchases. In the world of interior design, this means making sure you have your furniture in place before buying any accessories. That way, you know the room will still be functional, even if it takes you a bit longer to save up for the finishing touches.
If you need help prioritzing, we suggest making two lists. The first should include all the things you want for the room. Then, from that list, make another that includes the bare essentials in order of importance. Include prices for the items on your essentials list. This will help clarify how far your budget will go and allow you to create tangible savings goals.
Try shopping aggregators for budget buys. Image: Godfrey Hirst
3. Use search aggregators to find deals
Those on a really tight budget should not shy away from using secondhand sources to furnish their homes. With a little diligence, it’s possible to find solid pieces for a fraction of the price they would be in-store. You can use search aggregators to easier comb through the listings in your area.
Sites such as Search Tempest and cPro Marketplace are the thrifty designer’s best friend because they compile listings from a variety of sources — like Craigslist, eBay and Amazon — into one place. They also offer search filters like price and distance to help you zero in on the options that fit you best.
Double check your measurements. Image: Highland Homes
4. Measure twice (at least)
Anyone who’s ever tried and failed to get a piece of furniture into a room can tell you the importance of getting measurements right the first time, both at home and in the store. If you’re buying furniture in a brick-and-mortar location, remember to write down the measurements or take a picture of the tag, so you have the information on hand for later.
Then, when you get home, work on your layout. Use pieces of string cut to those measurements to block out the space each new item will take up in the room. Doing so will help you get a better sense of how all your furniture will fit together, as well as the walkway space you’ll have once the new pieces are in place.
Verify the color before you buy. Image: Leigh Olive Mowry-Olive Interiors
5. Double-check your color choices
Color can be hard to nail down. The settings on your computer monitor can make a shade look vastly different than it does in real life. Even if you’re buying in-store, the lighting in that location can change how a color looks. With that in mind, do your best to make sure a hue matches what you’ve envisioned before committing to the purchase.
Your best bet is to ask for samples. Many furniture and flooring retailers offer swatches you can rent to make sure a color will fit in nicely with the rest of your design. If that’s not an option, read online reviews of the product.