Ask a man about the value and quality of his suit, shoes and watch and the response will come quickly and with ease. It’s these specialty mens products that gents are familiar with, because they purchase them regularly. The same rules apply to interior products, so I am here to get you up to speed so you can become as wised up about your coffee table purchase as you are about your last shoe purchase.
One of the first questions I ask my clients when we first chat about their interior project is what their budget is. The response is commonly “ummmm” and fair enough! If I weren’t a designer and trained about furniture, finishes and all things interior, I wouldn’t know what value to place on home products either. The thing is, until there is a dollar figure on what you have allocated to spend, the furniture shopping can’t begin. Here’s the catch 22 though, you can’t name a figure when you don’t know how much things cost.
YOU GET WHAT YOU PAY FOR
This can be a grey area, especially when designer brand names become involved, but generally speaking you do get what you pay for. If you buy a $50 chair, you will get $50 of value from it. There are no guarantees how long it will last. Don’t be surprised though, if you have to replace it in a years time.
This is always where I get up on my longevity and sustainability high horse. When you buy crap that you have to throw out within a couple of years, it generally ends up in landfill. When you buy something that will last you for many years to come, it is an investment and providing you look after it, you won’t have to shop for a replacement anytime soon.
There are many levels of furniture and finishes from super cheap (Ikea sofa from $499) to top of the line Italian (Molteni sofa for $12,000 and upwards) and everything in between. It is dependent on what size it is, what materials it is made out of, the quality of the frame, cushion filling and fabric and where it is made (locally or overseas).
Do your research and don’t be afraid to ask questions when you are shopping. Enquire about the product and its manufacturing. I also recommend visiting a few different stores that offer different quality categories of furniture. This will start to help you categorise quality and value. Once you get an understanding of the different levels, you will be in a better position to know what you are getting for your money. Keep that magic rule in mind – you often get what you pay for.
Mix it up. You don’t have to have a house full of imported Italian or Scandinavian furniture, although if you did, it would be amazing! You can buy the majority of your products in the mid-range and then have a few key designer items.
QUALITY OVER QUANTITY
This is always an underlying style rule, especially at Designer Man Cave. Have a think about how to spend your money and what you actually need. You are better to have fewer beautifully designed items with amazing craftsmanship than a room of lots of cheaper stuff, just for the sake of it. Remember also that interiors can evolve. You can always add to it down the track or when you have more budget for that next piece. Don’t think you have to do everything at once. Prioritise.
Doing an inventory check of what you need now and what you can put on the ‘later list’ is something to do before you hand over your credit card. Check out this DMC guide: Before you start shopping for your man space home or office. When you have a shopping list roughed out, start to jot down some estimate pricing as you do your research to get an idea of the big picture. Obtaining prices off websites or enquiring online will save you time pounding the pavement.
Keep the comparison about your clothing and furniture purchases in mind. Buying a cheap tie is similar to buying a cheap upholstered armchair. The fabric quality is low, the stitching isn’t top notch, it looks cheap and you won’t use it for years to come. Compare that to purchasing a mid-high priced tie. Not only have you bought something that is better made and a classic addition to your wardrobe, you also place a higher value on it and more likely than not, feel better when wearing it (or in the case of an armchair – sitting back in it!).
Some tips for when you’re out shopping:
- Enquire about the specifics of the product you are interested in. The sales assistant should know all about the items they are selling. If they don’t they can find out for you.
- Ask about where it is made – locally in Australia? Asia? Europe?
- Check the availability of stock. There is no point falling in love with a piece of furniture that you need immediately, only to find out it will take 10 weeks to arrive.
- Ask what the delivery price is and add it to your budget allowance.
- Shopping for multiple items in one store is not only less of a headache of running around town, but is more efficient when it comes to the delivery cost and logistics. One payment, one delivery.
PS If this all seems to hard and you need some help, let me know. That’s what I do! Check out the design service packages here.