What all clients wish they could start with is the furnishing and decor of their new home. The difficult part of the equation is that this stage is after all the other super expensive stuff like wall, a roof and electricians and plumbers. What I tell clients is that the expense of furnishing your home with all new furnishings will be about 10% of the cost of your project. If you are spending $1,000,000.00 you will need to find, save or finance about $100,000 for furnishings if it is all new.
What I run in to all the time is GC’s and myself as a designer and project manager ask homeowners to supple the appliances, they are often not in the budget for the project. This is because peoples tastes, expectations and performance is different with every project. The task that homeowners are in charge of are learning and shopping for their own appliances. I suggest that this is done in the beginning of the project.
In the same vein, I suggest that the homeowner shop for furnishings at the beginning as well. Typically a renovation can take 3-6 months and a new construction project , once under way can take up to a year. This time frame should give you enough time to shop and figure out about how much you will need to save or finance for furniture.
As a designer, we create furniture plans while doing your house plan or renovation construction documents. You should be able to figure out with your designers help what should go where and what you will need to purchase. All of this should be done on a clear floor plan with dimensions.
If you hire your designer to help with furnishings, the task can be far less daunting. We do not handle most furniture purchasing unless it is custom. Most people find that there is free design help at local furniture showrooms. This can save the client some cash. We typically will put together a concpet for the home owner to shop from. This seems to work best for where we serve our clients.
FromWes Moss… and The Balance
Plan out Your Vision
When you move in or when you visit the house before closing, take a pad of paper and a pen. Sit in every room of your house or condo for about 10 minutes and start listing out everything you think the room needs including large items (beds, chairs, couches) and smaller items (garbage cans, picture frames, lamps, etc.) Even sitting in the foyers and hallways to determine what you need to fill the empty space.
Now that you have planned out your dream home, it’s time to prioritize. Trying to fill every room at once can be an overwhelming task, but the good news is, it’s unnecessary. Look at your list of rooms and rank them in order of where you believe you will be spending the most time. For example, you’ll most likely list your bedroom before the laundry room so you’ll want to fill this room first and make it feel comfortable and cozy before you tackle anything else.
Here is the heart of your plan. It’s time to determine what your actual budget is for furniture. Lots of websites and other sources say that we should plan to spend between 10-50% of the price paid for the house on furniture.
That’s a wide margin so here’s another suggestion. Keep your checking and savings account in mind while determining what your new monthly expenses will be in the house, including mortgage payment, insurance, taxes, utilities, food and discretionary spending. Once you have figured out your spending, multiply it by three.
For example, if your spending number were $4,000 a month, your three-month savings number would be $12,000. Whatever you have above this amount is what you should spend on furniture during the first round. And then whenever your savings gets above that three-month mark again, then allow yourself to buy that next round of furniture for the next room.
Fill the Room
Remember that priority list from earlier? Now that you have your budget and you know which rooms need to be furnished first you can start buying the items you wrote down in step 1, for those high priority rooms. When your budget runs out, save up and then go back to the list and continue to fill out your rooms based on your priority list.
Quality Over Quantity
Finally, don’t let your desire just to fill the room take over the aspiration to have quality furniture that will last you long after you need it to. Remember that the point of prioritizing the rooms was first to fill the rooms you will be spending the most time in.
For those rooms, especially, you want to have some good quality stuff that can follow you from house to house. Try to pinch pennies on the end tables and spend more on your mattress or bed frame, which will likely follow you to the next house, whether it is for a guest room or your next master.
There’s not an exact science to this method of filling your new house with furniture. But having a clear process may help bring you some peace of mind during this chaotic time of your life. Keep in mind that it’s not worth sacrificing the home you’ve been dreaming of just to get the whole house filled right away, this will leave you constantly feeling unsettled.
Take a targeted approach, and the home will feel finished before you know it. The house doesn’t have to be perfect in one week or even one month. It likely won’t ever be perfect, but it will be yours.