How to buy smartly for your home

Do you ever feel like you’re not making any progress when it comes down to picking stuff for your home? You search the internet, search the shops, flick through magazines and catalogues and still can’t find that perfect piece which you have in your mind? Or you might actually find something you like but it’s out of your price range or not in the right size, colour or shape? Let’s be honest nowadays you can get anything.  We are constantly bombarded and flooded with information from every corner. We are not limited by giant retailers who dominate the market. As consumers, we are in charge. Even though this may be a great position to be in, to some of us, the ability to sift through the offerings can be quite challenging.

So I came up with a 3  step process which I use all the time on everything I buy for my projects. I promise you it will make your shopping experience clearer, more focused and quicker.

STEP 1. – identify your budget

This should be your number one priority before style, shape, size and colour. I read an interesting article this week called “Why I need to know your budget” from a designer, who told a story how he went along with his dad to buy a brand new car. Back in the day this was quite a big event for them so they put on their best suit and headed over to the showroom.

They were greeted by the salesman and his dad was immediately drawn to the latest and most expensive car in the showroom.  It was like the Ferrari, the creme de la creme. Even though his son told him that they can’t afford buying this car, he spoke to the salesman in such a way that led the salesman carry on with his sale pitch and even letting them to take it for a ride. When it came down to closing the deal and the actual numbers, his embarrassed father had to admit that this car was way out of his budget. They left with a pretty ordinary estate car in the end but the question the salesman asked was: “Why didn’t you tell me what you could afford?” 

Instead of looking at the whole showroom, narrow down the search from the start. Even before you go out and search. It will save you so such time which you can utilise doing other stuff. Plus it immediately eliminates furniture pieces, materials or accessories which you can’t buy. The thing is that sometimes you feel like you want to keep your mind open just in case you see something, or you feel you miss an opportunity. No, you don’t! You can always find something similar which is in your price range.

There are too many things on the market already at every budget level. It’s bursting with products. It’s little bit like the fashion industry. Designer’s lead the trend and high street retailers jump on the wagon, replicate and bring it to the masses. The similar thing is happening in the home decor industry. Designers design and get copied at every price level. It’s all business. So don’t be afraid to set your budget!

STEP 2. – the style

My second tip after establishing your budget is style. You need to know what you like. So many of you struggle with that because you like more than one style or idea.  That’s a great news! This is what makes you unique. SO don’t be afraid to mix and match. Don’t pigeon hole yourself into “I’m the traditional or shabby chic girl”. You can be both. I always say to my clients “mixing is who you are”. Some designers say that you should respect your property style and reflect it in your home. I go one step further.

It’s more important to reflect your style in any property. My grandma lived in an apartment building built in early 1900s. Her furniture was purchased in 1950s and stayed with her until her last day. However, when my cousin moved in after my grandma died he changed it completely and brought the interior to the 21st century. He remodelled the layout. His home is contemporary and suits his modern living needs. When you walk in you see that he likes to keep up with latest modern technologies, materials and gadgets. He has modern art on walls and shows off who he is. His personality is scattered all over the place.

If you don’t know where to start with finding your style, check out this article I wrote called “How to add personality into your room”.

STEP 3. – know your size

Measuring is the key here. Again, I see so many people getting this part wrong. Getting a bed or a sofa which is too big or too small. Ordering too much or too little of your flooring. Getting cabinets that don’t fit into your space. Sounds familiar? Hands up who’s done a few of these. I did! First when we moved in in our house I ordered way too much of the carpet. Second we bought our wicker furniture online for our conservatory which was way too big. We couldn’t move around at all so I had to sell it.

Before you start your search or head shopping know your dimensions, ideal sizes or amounts. It will save you time and money.

After these steps you can start thinking about colour options and everything else. The key to successful and stress free buying experience is having a plan. Go through these steps and you know that you are prepared and therefore buying smartly.

Apart from these can you think of other tips which you can share?

Back later with my fashion series before the weekend start! It’s going to be a fashion inspo explosion. Get ready.

Karolina Barnes Studio


Photo credit: Designed by malamo