Confession: Over the past couple of months I've been having anxiety. Over a sleeper sofa.
I'm turning a spare bedroom into my home office and it's going to double as a guest bedroom.
So, a sleeper sofa is a great piece that can fit both needs...but I get anxiety every time I go to pull the trigger and order the darn thing.
And when I say ‘anxiety’ I mean I'm freaking out inside because: “Yikes, this is a whole month’s rent! Do I really love it? What if it doesn’t fit through the front door? I mean, do we really have enough overnight guests to justify buying this? Maybe not having a sleeper sofa at all isn’t that bad?!”
So. Believe me...
I know how incredibly stressful and intimidating it can be to purchase big ticket items for your home.
And I am intimately familiar, both personally and professionally, with the head trips and paralysis these types of purchases can cause.
But, let me tell you something I've learned from experience...
It’s this stress, indecision and self-doubt that keeps us stuck living with things we've had forever, inherited pieces we don’t love and a home that ultimately doesn't provide what we truly need or want.
But, when we take conscious, calculated actions towards what we want in our space and the home we want to create, big shifts happen:
So it's time to pony up and make a couple of those big purchases.
And to finally say goodbye to your grandma's coffee table and nightstand from college.
1. IS THIS AN INVESTMENT PIECE?
Designing the interior of our home is always a process that takes time. We can't get it all done in a day, a week or even a month because...well, time and money. One of the best things you can do upfront is to decide where you're going to invest and where you're going to save on furniture and accessories.
If the item is going to be a focal point in the room, it's probably wise to invest. If it's an on-trend accent piece, you can likely save. If it's something you're going to use everyday and it effects your quality of life, like a mattress, invest.
Making these decisions upfront will certainly ease the pressure when it comes time to make the big ticket purchases because you have a plan and you've chosen how to best utilize your budget. Clarity equals confidence.
2. WHEN YOU INVEST, BE SURE YOU'RE INVESTING IN HIGH-QUALITY
Aim to buy the highest-quality piece of furniture you can afford, within reason. A bargain sofa now might turn into an even bigger expense when the fabric rips or the springs give way next year and you have to go through the process all over again.
If you’re looking for upholstered furniture that will last, consider a synthetic fabric that has been made specifically to resist stains. Steer yourself away from silks or fussy fabrics because you intend to keep this piece for a while. For any furniture, look for something with a good solid wood frame (not particleboard) that’s jointed rather than just glued—the harder the material naturally is, and more soundly constructed, the more durable your purchase will be.
3. WORK FROM A SPACE PLAN
A space plan is a fool-proof way to get a good idea of how your space will look and feel with your new furniture and decor. It may sound tedious now, when all you want to do is get the room put together asap, but it'll give you the best insight on size, shape and the flow of the room.
A space plan is essentially a sketch of the room. You'll want to write down measurements, make note of ceiling heights and draw in the new and existing furniture to scale. It sounds like a lot of work, but in reality you can do an entire living room in under 30 minutes.
If you don't want to do this yourself, or you don't have the time, have a designer create the optimal layout and do the space planning for you.
With the space plan you essentially have a shopping list of the exact size and shape of pieces you're looking for before you even begin. This helps narrow your search significantly, saves time and gives you the piece of mind of knowing everything will fit perfectly.
4. TRIPLE CHECK DIMENSIONS
I'm sure you've looked at the dimensions of your big ticket item, but do a couple more times. Sometimes we read things wrong or our memories fail us.
5. MEASURE THE DOORWAY
I wasn't the first and I won't be the last to purchase a piece of furniture that doesn't fit through the doorway. It's a bad experience when this happens after you taken the time, made the decision and spent the money - and now you have to send it back and start over at square one.
Before you even start looking for furniture measure every doorway and take note of any turns or stair landings that could effect getting the piece into your space.
6. DON'T FORGET TO GIVE IT A TEST
Sit on it, open and close the doors, try lifting it—if it feels flimsy, it probably is. If it's not comfortable now, it won't be later.
7. DO YOU REALLY LOVE THIS PIECE? IF THE ANSWER IS NO, RECONSIDER.
There are times when you find a piece that checks all the boxes, but for some reason you just don't love it. For big ticket items, if you don't really really love it, keep searching. It'll be worth the wait in the end!
8. DON'T FORGET TO EAT SOMETHING
We've all been guilty of acting out of hanger, but this time bring snacks.
9. UNDERSTAND THESE BIG DECISIONS ARE OFTEN CHARGED WITH ALL KINDS OF EMOTIONAL STUFF
Reminiscing about the dining table from your childhood, the feeling of “beauty” you associated with your Grandma's vanity chair, what a huge deal it was when you bought that sofa with your first paycheck—these are all things that come up when you’re buying new investment pieces for your home. Expect that you will have emotions come up, and allow yourself to feel them.
10. ARE YOU BUYING THE RIGHT EXPENSIVE ITEM?
There's nothing wrong with buying an expensive material item, but there are some ways to increase the chance that it will actually make you happy. You might get sudden rush of excitement when you buy something expensive, but nothing kills your happiness faster than a wave of buyer's remorse.
I say, spend your money where you spend your time. It might seem obvious, but spending money on things that you actually use will make you much happier. For example, if you sit in a desk chair most of the day, I'll bet you'll be pretty happy buying a new chair that's incredibly comfortable — even if it doesn't seem like a "fun" purchase. On the other hand, if you rarely use your formal dining room, an overly-expensive dining table will just feel like a pricey item in your home that never gets used, which certainly won't make you happy.
11. CELEBRATE YOUR PURCHASE
You've done it! You planned, you searched, you made some tough decisions....and you made the investment. Look at you! And now you deserve a nice glass of wine ;)
TALK TO ME.
In the comments below: What struggles do you have when it comes to making big decisions and purchases for your home? Can you relate to feeling stressed about pulling the trigger on a big ticket item?
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