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  • Tips for furnishing new home

    So I think I’m finally there - past the live like a resident phase. I’ve been in a stable job that I like for almost 2 years, have no debt, have 6 figures saved for a downpayment, 6 figures in a retirement account plus a 5 figure cash cushion. We’re all set to close on a house in the next month that has a mortgage of about 2x my annual income and have automated savings of ~30% including employer contributions.

    We have a LOT of upcoming expenses with the new house. Everything from minor repairs (changing a few sconces, retiling a fireplace) to practical everyday things (wire or plastic storage shelf in laundry room, shower curtains and rugs in new bathrooms) to major furniture purchases (couches, dining tables, etc) to replacing some really old stuff (e.g. towels from Med school). And we’re going to have to upgrade the wife’s car at some point in the semi-near future because we’ll need a third row.

    I wanted to know what your best tips were from when you bought a house? Where did you save money that you were happy about it vs. where do you feel like you cheaped out on something and had to replace it? Where did you splurge that you were happy about vs. where did you splurge and wish you had save? Any stores you would say to avoid or specifically look at for certain things?

    Thanks!

  • #2
    It really depends on your taste. I furnished my house gradually by going to a local antique auction which is held once a month. If you like antique/vintage stuff this is much cheaper than any store. It is also very fun.

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    • #3
      Man, I hate to say it but with home stuff you are basically always getting what you pay for IMHO/experience.

      Home Goods is a great place for things like sheets/towels/rugs.

      But as far as furniture goes you pay for quality and when you try to go really cheap you don't get quality stuff. I think with things like chairs, couches, etc you have to sit down in them and ask if you feel awesome settling into it. If not, you are probably going to get rid of it at some point fairly soon.

      Case in point, we tried to do some budget deck furniture. Looked fine, wicker and cushions and all of that. But... it just wasn't comfortable and b/c of that we never used it or sat on our deck. Ended up just getting rid of it and now have to buy deck furniture again.

      All of that being said, we have had some great luck getting rid of nicer stuff using the app Offer Up. I think you can find good stuff on there.

      I will remind you of my #1 furniture hack which is to buy a used mattress. Go into one of the big box mattress stores, figure out what you generally like, then ask the salesperson to search the warehouse for returned beds. All of those places have 90 or 100 day sleep guarantees. We got our #2 choice for like 60% off basically brand new. It's not gross, they are professionally cleaned and inspected. It's less gross than sleeping on the guest mattress at your best friend's house.

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      • #4
        Go slow. Remember, you don't have to furnish the entire house all at once.

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        • #5
          Purchases delayed are almost as good as purchased deferred. Pick a few things that you need right away and then add and upgrade over the next few years. Buying a new house seems like a good excuse to just replace everything but I am sure you can make a lot of your stuff work.
          Yes replace the towels. ew

          MPMD Okay I can be downright cheap at times but no. That is too far.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by artemis View Post
            Go slow. Remember, you don't have to furnish the entire house all at once.
            great advice. We went from a 2 bdrm 1000 sqft apartment to a 3500 sqft doc house. It took 5 years to fully furnish. I'm glad we went slow. tastes change, esp if you don't have kids yet but plan to or have young kids now who aren't going to be so young in 5-10 years

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            • #7
              'Old' things in our 'new'ish' home: Blue Plastic cup from before my wife and I got married. Extra bowls, dinner plates and a pizza pan (that my son considers his own) from before we were married. Also have 27.5 yo t-shirt I regularly wear still (yes I wash it also).

              Yes go slow in purchases and you do get what you pay for. My advice (FWIW): If you have an unusual room size/layout, I would consider a custom piece. We did this for our informal dining room table (more rectangle vs. square) and the price versus quality was significantly higher versus a furniture store (meaning the price was only slightly more than something at a mid-range furniture store). Also, it is alot easier to replace an accent piece (say a rug) every 3 to 7 years versus a complete family room set. Bed Bath and Beyond for drapes and such, anything in draperies is crazy expensive via online or having a person 'come out' to provide an estimate.

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              • #8
                I'll echo "go slow."

                Get a feel for how you use each main room and how you may want it laid out. We have bought too quickly then end up re-buying.

                Take solace in the fact that your kids will destroy pretty much all furniture. Built better will last longer but make no mistake - they can still destroy it all. I've just come to accept this and once you accept it it makes life better.

                We try to buy solid wood and have had success on a budget at Nadaeu (https://www.furniturewithasoul.com/). Knobs and stuff break but it's solid and doesn't break our hearts when the kids scratch and dent it.

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                • #9
                  Thanks for all the advice thus far. I think Nadeau is where we’re going to get our kitchen table - we’ve gotten something from there that has survived several moves. My wife has wanted to upgrade our dining room table for nearly a decade (scratched floor model from when I was in med school) - I told her that whenever she finds one she loves we can pull the trigger; I owe her this one, lol.

                  We’ll try to go slow, but there are a few things we need to get in somewhat short order. Specifically, we need to get a sectional - any tips? We also will need to buy a washer/dryer immediately - our current rental has one. Rugs, chairs, etc are not pressing and could delay some. When we do buy rugs, anywhere y’all would suggest good bang for your buck?

                  I’m going to do all of the interior paining myself (I realize it would probably be more cost effective to moonlight and hire a painter - but I don’t mind painting and am somewhat cheap). I’m debating changing out a few sconces myself (I’m handy enough), but think the time it takes may favor hiring an electrician.

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                  • #10
                    I've been out of residency for 5 years now and we are still happy with our Nadeau kitchen table and kids room furniture and TV stand/hutch from there. Minor things like pulls break, but easily fixable.

                    For rugs IMO you either go cheap (homegoods, local discount drug places, online, etc) with plans to replace every X years, or go big and get a nice one. Not a lot in between. We have three kids under age 6, so we chose the former. We have had some luck with used rug stores before.

                    Don't expect a cheap rug to last though.

                    For washer/dryer you may pay a little extra, but I prefer to buy from places that have in house service people. You get better response with fixes when you buy from them in my experience.

                    For sectional you may need something custom to fit well. I'm on the cheap end but we had semi-custom couch from a local high to upper end furniture store to fit our oddly shaped living room. Of course we often keep it covered with blankets given said children, but it's a really nice couch.

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                    • #11
                      My best advice is to get furniture that's more for function/comfort than it is for looks. We bought nice looking couches when we bought our house. They aren't as comfortable as our couches that we got when we were poor students. Every time we sit in our basement (where the older couches are) we are like, "Whoa, these are comfortable!"

                      And if you need a third row vehicle because you're about to have a 3rd kid, you can't have nice looking things anyway. So just get comfortable ones. We also have a lighter colored chair that we can't believe we bought 4.5 years ago. But I guess that was 3 kids ago.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by EM-CCM MD View Post
                        Thanks for all the advice thus far. I think Nadeau is where we’re going to get our kitchen table - we’ve gotten something from there that has survived several moves. My wife has wanted to upgrade our dining room table for nearly a decade (scratched floor model from when I was in med school) - I told her that whenever she finds one she loves we can pull the trigger; I owe her this one, lol.

                        We’ll try to go slow, but there are a few things we need to get in somewhat short order. Specifically, we need to get a sectional - any tips? We also will need to buy a washer/dryer immediately - our current rental has one. Rugs, chairs, etc are not pressing and could delay some. When we do buy rugs, anywhere y’all would suggest good bang for your buck?

                        I’m going to do all of the interior paining myself (I realize it would probably be more cost effective to moonlight and hire a painter - but I don’t mind painting and am somewhat cheap). I’m debating changing out a few sconces myself (I’m handy enough), but think the time it takes may favor hiring an electrician.
                        Ugh we finally got living room furniture and got a sectional. I had these wonderful hand me down couches that were so comfortable but they were hideous. My wife finally had enough and we spent a few grand on a sectional ottoman and accent chair. No joke the kids got come play putty stuck to it the next day. Lucky that microfiber stuff cleans well.
                        Also if the cushions come off I hope you like making forts.

                        We have not the best lighting in our house. It was built during the early 2000s when it was popular to have the light switch control the outlet for lamps. Well lamps and toddlers do not mix well. Having an electrician rewire for ceiling lights was some of the best money we spent.

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                        • #13
                          Any thoughts on a national chain like pottery barn for a sectional vs a local furniture store? It seems like a lot of these places contract with manufacturers and custom order your couch. There are so many permutations with quality of studying, cloth, etc that there’s no way to compare apples to apples.

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                          • #14
                            "I'll echo "go slow."
                            Get a feel for how you use each main room and how you may want it laid out. We have bought too quickly then end up re-buying."
                            Saw the comment about the dining room. To me I am not sure it that makes the most sense. I'll leave that to you.
                            Make a list of rooms and what you need.
                            Like appliances for kitchen.
                            Bed for bedroom (you can leave the furniture part until later)
                            Family room couch and chairs or whatever (you can leave the accessories until later).
                            The point is do not try to do it all at once. Buy the main pieces utility wise and fill in the rest later. Saves buyers and decorating regret later.
                            Window coverings need to be pretty high up on the list if you don't want sheets on the windows!

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Lordosis View Post
                              Purchases delayed are almost as good as purchased deferred. Pick a few things that you need right away and then add and upgrade over the next few years. Buying a new house seems like a good excuse to just replace everything but I am sure you can make a lot of your stuff work.
                              Yes replace the towels. ew

                              MPMD Okay I can be downright cheap at times but no. That is too far.
                              no way dude.

                              if you travel even a few times a year you almost by definition sleep on a mattress that has seen worse.

                              if you have stayed in a hotel you have 100% slept on a much grosser mattress w/o a second thought. if you have ever slept in a budget hotel/motel you have slept on a mattress that is 10x grosser.

                              obviously if they are visibly soiled they aren't refunded or resold.

                              the markup on mattresses is nuts. my patented system got me a top of the line mattress for the price of a WalMart one.

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