Erik J. Martin, CTW Features
If you want to snazz up your digs, you don’t necessarily have to fork over an arm and a leg and frequent expensive retailers. Especially now, at a time of continued high inflation when home goods, furniture, trinkets, and decor seem ridiculously overpriced, it pays to think outside the big box retailer paradigm and pursue alternate sources of affordable accouterment.
“Redecorating your home can add up quickly, particularly as we have seen supply chain issues and inflation cause prices to rise for everything from furniture to decor to paint. Shopping around and considering alternative options is more important than ever if you want to stay on budget when trying to update a space in your home,” says Andrea Woroch, a money-saving expert in Bakersfield, California.
Grace Baena, an interior designer, echoes those thoughts.
“Carefully shopping for home decor and furnishings today ensures you will get the most value for your money, which is especially important while prices remain high for everyday goods,” she says.
Don’t be afraid to go off route and peruse used décor items, which can reward with years of use at a lower price. That’s why many pros continue to point to thrift stores like Salvation Army outposts, secondhand shops, and consignment stores as worthy sources of valuable decor that was previously owned. Local garage and estate sales are also worth considering.
“Thrift stores generally have fixed prices – especially well-known organizations like Goodwill. However, they offer a more traditional shopping experience because you are not interacting directly with the owners of the items as you would online or at a garage sale,” notes Cinque Cerra-Saunders, an interior designer and host of A&E’s “Living Smaller”.
“Facebook Marketplace and Craigslist are also great sources for a mix of both newer and used items that sometimes tend to be more gently used than items found at thrift stores. While the items may possess less wear and tear, the price points for items can vary drastically across these and other platforms,” says Kristin Patrician, owner/principal designer for Dwelling Envy Interiors.
“Just be aware that many sellers on these sites price these items not based on market value but rather on perceived value. Often, there is an emotional attachment to these used items, knowing what the object originally cost them to purchase.”
Good Craigslist alternatives include OfferUp, Letgo, Poshmark, and Freecycle. It’s best to opt for an online platform where you can connect with and pick up from local sellers and thereby avoid exorbitant shipping charges.
Knowing whether a price is worth it or not requires a bit of skill, research, and patience.
“For items sold online, look for words in the description that explain that the piece is made of solid wood, for example,” Patrician ads. “If you are considering a furniture piece, look for dowel joints such as dovetail or mortise-and-tension. Metal-glided drawers are a better option than wood-on-wood glides. And for upholstery, eight-way hand-tied coils are the mark of a well-made sofa, chair, or sectional, but sinuous wire is more prominent in today’s world.”
Red flags include heavily stained or soiled upholstery, visible springs popping through the cushions, or heavily dented, scratched or veneered wood peeling off the piece, cautions Patrician.
If you are determined to purchase new items for less, give thought to recommended retailers like Target and IKEA.
“For first-time homeowners and those with mild to low affordability, IKEA is the best choice. Their prices are reasonable, considering the quality of the products, and their designs and styles can fit into virtually any home style,” says Dustin Fox, owner/Realtor with Fox Homes in Fairfax, Virginia.
Additionally, ponder home decor stores like HomeGoods and Marshalls.
“I found a vase for $24 at Marshalls that looked like one I was eyeing at Crate and Barrel for over $100,” says Woroch.