Adulting 101: How To Buy Furniture Without Losing Your Mind Or Getting Divorced

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Just like that first trip you took to Home Depot voluntarily, nothing feels quite like adulting as much as buying something with a tag that says you’ll be arrested for removing. Whether you have good taste, bad taste or no taste (or you just aren’t sure either way), buying furniture is generally expensive, time-consuming and one of life’s major annoyances if you do it wrong. So, don’t do it wrong.

Two years ago, I got rid all of 99% of my furniture. My then fiancé (now husband) and I were moving into our first place together and it was time to cleanse myself of all things bachelorette. He also got rid of all of his furniture. Not because I mostly hated it, but because we were in the process of combining things like airline miles and sock drawers.

Here are the most important things I learned throughout the process.

Measure The Room, Measure The Furniture, Measure Your Head

This might be the most important tip. Buy a tape measure and figure out the dimensions of the room you plan on putting the furniture in. If you aren’t sure if something is going to be proportional, ask for a tear sheet, go home and measure. If you still aren’t sure if something is the right size, take masking tape (string and dental floss also work) and outline the pieces on the floor.

Ask Yourself How Long You Are Going To Use The Furniture For

Because we were buying quite a bit (and by that I mean literally everything), we decided that what made the most sense was to buy furniture I’d keep for five(ish) years. That seemed like an adequate time goal. While I am not sure my bedroom set will be in my bedroom for more than five years, I love it enough and it’s good enough quality to be relegated to my future guest room. If I change my overall décor style when I move, my current bedroom set can easily work.

If you are in a place in life where you aren’t sure how permanent your current home is, it’s not necessary to invest in expensive furniture that you probably have to sell or throw out later. But if you are truly adulting, aim for the space that is between crap and heirloom. That being said, if you buy nice things, you can always have them moved, NBD. 

Consider What You Are Going To Use Most

Things like couches are really important because you sit on them and probably choose the rest of your furniture around that one large piece. You sleep on a mattress every single night. You likely pass out and possibly drool on your throw pillows. On that note, my throw pillows were expensive and all I want to do two years later is throw them out. A coffee table that is too short will annoy you on the regular. Spend your time/money/energy where it counts.

Don’t Be Afraid To Fall In Love

If there is a piece of furniture or décor you really love—think about it like an outfit. You can buy the fancy designer version or you can buy the less expensive Forever21 version. The same applies to furniture. If you have a reasonable budget, you can probably find a version of it you can afford. You might just have to search a little, but it is possible. There are even knockoffs or as they call it in Furnitureland, “replicas.”

Ask Questions

Let’s say you find a piece you LOVE, but it’s not within your budget, ask someone working at the store when they are having a sale. Stores find ANY reason to have a sale—after Christmas, Arbor Day, National Donut Day, etc. Sure you might have to wait a few weeks, but it’s totally worth it. Also, find out if there are any floor models available.

The same goes for colors. If you see something you like but the color doesn’t work—it might be available in another color, even if you don’t see it right there.

Stores Want To Give You Financing

This is not a finance blog and I’m certainly not telling you to buy something you can’t afford, but let’s say you have some cash coming in and you can’t wait for a television stand--just finance it. Pretty much every furniture store, whether it’s a local store (Stu’s Furniture) or a major like Crate and Barrel offer financing, often at a lower rate for a specific time period. Don’t deprive yourself of something you really want if you can’t afford it upfront or rack up a ton of interest on your current card.

There are also other benefits of store credit cards including discounts, events, free shipping, etc. If you aren’t sure if a store offers financing, just ask. When I was deep into my furniture hunt, I noticed some stores had signs out while others did not.  

Remember It’s Not Forever

Two years into this furniture and I’m already thinking about what I will do next go-round.  

Pinterest This! My So-Called Bar Cart

In a previous post, I talked about an aspect of my living space that I didn’t like, which is my lack of closet space. But, there are so many things I love about my home, including my little bar cart corner. I love bar carts because they’re an easy, sophisticated way to decorate your space. They also serve a purpose, especially if you don’t have a ton of storage for bottles and glasses in your kitchen.

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If you’re wondering why I took off the wheels off (I guess its technically no longer a cart, oops) it’s because of Milo (big) and Lulu (little).

The bar tools and shaker are Preston by Ralph Lauren. There is an entire Preston line, which includes an ice bucket, a wine coaster and drink coasters. But, I only choose a few items because I’m not a fan of having absolutely everything matching. The ice bucket, decanter and glasses are all from Tiffany & Co, but different lines.

There are so many ways to style your bar cart, depending on your space, style and budget. If you're a wine drinker, your cart will look different than someone who is really into mixed drinks. Here are some of my favorite bar carts and accessories. Well, at least my favorite ones that I didn't buy. 

Wayfair: Loudon Chrome Serving Cart

This is similar to my CB2 cart, but less than half the price.

CB2: Elixir Mini Bar

If you prefer a cabinet to a cart, this midcentury modern mini bar is so stylish.

Anthropologie: Oscarine Lucite Bar Cart

The brass on this lucite cart pops, but if brass isn’t your thing, it’s also available in silver.

Apt 2B: Deepwell Bar Cart

If The Great Gatsby were a bar cart, this would be it. Obsessed with the rose gold detailing.

Crate and Barrel: Set of 12 Stemless Wine Glasses

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I use these glasses as my everyday drinking glasses, so they're not currently on the cart. They’re cheap, durable and dishwasher safe, so you can break them guilt-free.

Crate and Barrel: Nattie Champagne Glasses

Love these classic champagne glasses from Crate & Barrel. Like the stemless wine glasses, they're cheap. Read: good for the clumsy. 

Michael Aram Dogwood Napkin Holder

 

Napkins are really just disposable coasters.

Kate Spade Mask Bottle Opener

I love this bottle opener, but please don't ask me how it works. 

F- It Fridays: Your Weekly Dose of Retail Therapy (Throw Blankets Edition)

Most of us have had a really challenging week in one way or another. It’s often during these times when we want to throw in the towel, throw our electronics out of a window (but please don’t) or just throw ourselves on the couch and cry. So, for this F-It Friday post, we're going to look at some stylish throw blankets because retail therapy helps. (Oh, and if retail therapy doesn't quite do the trick, here are some other things to try.)

Lulu likes to steal my throw.

Lulu likes to steal my throw.

This Burberry throw is beyond luxurious, but in a totally subtle way. And what could be softer than cashmere?

MISSONI SIMONE THROW

Missoni’s Simone throw is one of the more reasonably priced throws made by the legendary Italian label. Fun, but sophisticated, it adds color and texture to any couch or chair. 

Fabulous, yet practical, this faux fur throw from Anthropologie is available in grey, white and navy.

NORDSTROM AT HOME GRAND CABLE THROW

No matter what style your home is, from traditional to modern, you can’t go wrong with a cable knit throw like this one from Nordstrom

THE WELL-APPOINTED HOUSE HERRINGBONE PLUSH FRINGED THROW

I love this herringbone throw from The Well-Appointed House. Available in sixteen different colors, it can be monogrammed or customized with a message. It also makes a great holiday or housewarming gift.