Everyone has some kind of budget for their decorating projects. Even a large budget provides some kind of spending boundaries. But if the furniture fund is small – or if you have a lot to buy and less money than you'd like – you have to be more thoughtful. Whether you are in a first or transitional apartment, or living in your starter house, your budget process requires planning, prioritising and an eye to the future.
Start with a list
Include everything you need for each room you have to furnish. Don't worry if your list is too long, you can make changes or delete later. If you need a desk but don't know where it will go, list it under all the rooms where it might end up. Seeing it in each list will help you weigh one piece against another as you set priorities.
Essential items like beds, dressers, sofas and tables come first, followed by 'close seconds' like additional seating and storage pieces like dressers, chests or nightstands. Finally, add embellishments – accent furniture and accessories. Keep in mind that one person's luxuries are another person's essentials. If you spend a lot of time at the computer, you need a desk or worktable and a good desk chair. If a TV or sound system is the centre of your home, at the very least you have to keep the components organized and off the floor.
Define your look
Do a little research. Take a look at the Furniture.com Style Guide to help expand your style vocabulary. Keep a file or box of photos from catalogues, magazines and online sources. Note whether you continually gravitate to a certain kind of home magazine or room style. Spread your materials out and you'll begin to see the common threads. Knowing your preferences will help you create a unified look, with pieces that work together in a variety of combinations.
Make a floor plan
A common mistake people make is buying too many items, or pieces that are the wrong size (usually too big) for their rooms. It's easy to guess wrong about how much space you have to work with, so don't guess. Measure the space the furniture is to go in and compare it to the accurate dimensions given on each product on the Pineonline Website.