With sky-high rents and living expenses in the city, making your house a home isn’t always easy — and making over an entire space at once isn’t always financially feasible.
When it came to redecorating my place — which, thanks to limited windows and poor lighting, felt small, dark and dreary — I decided to take a slow and steady approach. Instead of splurging on big ticket items like a couch, TV stand and a coffee table all at once, I patiently waited for steals on my ‘dream’ pieces to build my perfect living quarters.
With that being said, it’s important to remember that if you’re redecorating a place on a budget, not everything needs to be shiny and new. By taking advantage of Facebook groups like Bunz Home Decor Trading Zone and my neighbourhood buy and sell, I was able to purchase normally pricey pieces for less than retail. You can also find different steals and deals on decor and more at retailers across the city (re: our top 10 favourite places for affordable and trendy furniture).
Here are 6 items that I chose to save on:
Decor: These items are easy to save on and you can collect them along your home decor journey. I purchased decorative little trinkets like clocks, lanterns and more from IKEA, and paired them with old magazines and souvenirs from my travels like posters and other knick knacks.
Bed Frame & Headboard: Instead of buying a fancy bed frame, I purchased a basic steel one for about $80. While I bought mine new, you can find used ones for less on sites like Kijiji and Craigslist. To jazz up an otherwise boring bed setup, I created my own simple headboard using these DIY instructions, though Pinterest has tons of DIY inspiration that’ll save you a couple of bucks.
Textiles: When it comes to bed sheets, cushion covers, and decorative throws, it’s best to save. I was able to find the softest sheet set (which included 1 flat sheet, 4 pillow cases and 1 fitted sheet) on Amazon.ca for just $38, and a duvet set (which included 1 duvet cover and 2 pillow cases) at H&M Home for $39.99.
If you’re looking for a simple way to switch up your living room’s look, try swapping out your cushion covers. H&M Home has a variety of covers in different sizes, textures and designs. I purchased velvet covers for just $12.99 each, and H&M’s selection is all priced at $49.99 and less.
Faux fur throws add texture and luxe to otherwise boring spaces — I like to use them on chairs, my couch, and even my bed. These faux fur throws are a great find, and you can typically score them at Marshalls, Winners and HomeSense for between $29.99 and $39.99.
Couch and seating: While some say a couch is worth the splurge, I say save on this piece of furniture — especially if you aren’t living in your forever home, yet. I was lucky enough to inherit my couch from my partner’s parents, but I often see deals in my neighbourhood’s Facebook buy and sell group from condo dwellers who are moving constantly. Just be sure to check the couch for flaws (and dreaded bed bugs) before you hand over the cash, and that you have affordable means to transport it. Because the space is small, I opted for two Eiffel chairs instead of a loveseat sofa. The chairs, which are reminiscent of Eames, were just $49 each from Structube. Along with Structube, retailers like IKEA and Small Space Plus are good spots to scope out for affordable apartment-friendly furniture on offer.
Coffee Tables: After much deliberation, I decided to wait for a good deal to pop-up before I replaced my basic IKEA coffee table. I was lucky enough to score a major deal on these West Elm marble coffee tables (which regularly retail for $279) for just $40 each from a Facebook friend who was looking to move them quickly. Facebook friends and buy and sell groups are treasure troves for home buys — you just have to keep your eyes open.
Rug: While you could opt to spend $300+ on a rug for your space, I chose to save on mine. For just $200, I was able to find a faux cowhide rug at HomeSense that really warmed up the place — but other than the price, what I especially love about my synthetic rug is that though the colour is light, it is almost indestructible. Mud, spaghetti sauce and red wine have all come off with ease.
Here are 5 items that I chose to splurge on:
Light Fixtures: Another way to instantly change the vibe of a room is to purchase new light fixtures. But with that being said, finding cheap light fixtures isn’t always easy, which is why I chose to splurge at Home Depot, where light fixtures average between $100 and $600.
TV Stand: To match my clean white theme, I decided to splurge on a brand new TV stand. Sticking to lower budget, I was able to score this one from IKEA for $249, which is well worth the price — my last IKEA media stand lasted me 7 years, and has since been passed down to a friend. Again, if you’re looking to save on this purchase, keep an eye on Facebook buy and sell groups, and resale websites like Kijiji and Craigslist.
Mattress and Pillow: I once heard that you should always pay good money for anything that keeps you separated from the ground, including shoes and mattresses, and I’ve lived by that rule ever since. A good sleep is essential for quality life, and for something that you spend 8 hours (more or less — we’re not judging) on, a splurge is well worth it. Casper was a natural go-to for me; I live in a tight space and manoeuvring a mattress in full form would not have been pretty. Luckily, the mattress is delivered straight to your home within days of ordering, vacuum sealed in a neat package. While the company (which was voted one of the best inventions of 2015) offers 100 days to test and try, I won’t be returning the mattress ($1075 for a full) anytime soon. Built with memory foam and a springy top layer, the mattress is soft, yet firm at the same time. Add on two pillows, which in my opinion are worth the $80 price tag, and you’ll be a regular sleeping beauty.
Dresser & Night Stand Table: With limited closet space, purchasing a dresser and night stand table was a must for my apartment. While I say I splurged on these items, neither broke the bank. I went to the trustiest source for affordable furniture: IKEA. My basic dresser was $119 and my night stand was just $69.99, but once more, you can find these items for much less by purchasing second hand.
Diffuser: I am absolutely obsessed with my Sage Wellness diffuser, which enhances the atmosphere with relaxing scent and acts as accent decor. At about $110 for the actual diffuser and $44 for a set of scents, it’s a bit of a splurge, but well worth it. Alternatively, you can find cheaper diffusers at stores like HomeSense, Winners and Marshalls.
What other items should you splurge and save on in your home? Sound off in the comment section.
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