When we bought our house, we needed a lot of furniture. A LOT of furniture. We were going from 800 square feet to 2,400 square feet, which included three separate living spaces, two dining spaces and four bedrooms. That's a big jump! And, as with most of us, our budget was not unlimited. So what's a girl with high-end taste and a realistic budget to do? Bargain hunt, of course! Today I want to share some of my top tricks for finding elegant home furnishings on a budget, including what we scored for our own house.
1. Know the Look You Want
When I thought of the home I wanted to create, I knew the look I was going for. I used Pinterest, catalogs and magazines to jumpstart my creativity and work out the look I wanted in my head. So when we needed a sofa, I already knew just what I wanted. The Willow sofa by Crate and Barrel. This thing is gorgeous. And...it's $1,900. Wasn't gonna happen. So what's a girl who wants a comfy white slipcovered couch to do? Head to Ikea of course, which saved me $1,500. We LOVE our Ektorp and I am continually impressed with the quality. Same look for a fraction of the price.
2. Use Overstock for Rugs
One of my favorite features of our house is the original hardwood floors. But hardwoods definitely need some softening, and rugs can be expensive. Neutral rugs like sisal and jute can kill your budget in a hurry. By far my favorite affordable rug source is overstock.com. I found our 9x12 jute rug there for $360. I also like Joss and Main for rugs, though honestly Overstock usually has the same ones for even less.
3. Craigslist Is Your Best Friend
Leather furniture is one of the best ways to add a high-end look to a space. I had been drooling over the cognac leather arm chairs at Pottery Barn and Ballard. I scoured Craigslist for weeks and finally scored an almost identical chair for $120. It just shows it pays to be patient and persistent when it comes to Craigslist. You never know what might turn up!
4. Be Willing to Compromise (a little)
I loved that our house had a bar off the kitchen, but I wasn't really prepared to drop several hundred dollars on bar stools. I knew I wanted to incorporate kubu wicker throughout our home, and fell in love with these kubu stools when I saw them at Pier 1. But a few weeks later, I walked into TJ Maxx and there were kubu bar stools for less than half the cost - just $60 each. They didn't have backs on them like the stools from TJ Maxx, but that was a compromise I was willing to make for the look and the price.
5. Use Daily Deal Sites
One King's Lane and Joss and Main are two of my very favorite home decor sources. They hold daily sales that last for just a few days, and you can score furniture and accessories for a fraction of what they go for elsewhere. Not every item is significantly less than other retailers, but most are discounted and some are huge steals. Both our club chairs and our console table were less than half the cost of other retailers from Joss and Main and One King's Lane. Can't beat that!
6. Find Lighting Duplicates for Less
Have you priced light fixtures lately? I think lighting is the most over-priced aspect of home furnishings I've come across. Again, I knew the look I wanted - very Pottery Barn meets Restoration Hardware - so I scoured alternative sources for similar finds. The table lamp below was just $34 on clearance from JC Penney, as opposed to a very similar $400 lamp from PB. And while my dream chandelier was out of reach at $650, I still achieved an elegant French look by purchasing World Market's vintage-style chandelier during a sale for $110.
Chandelier No Longer Available | Similar here
7. Secret Source - Home Decorators Collection
Another of my favorite sources that I don't hear much about in the blog world is Home Decorators Collection. I've been able to find so many gorgeous items at incredible prices. They seem to be priced lower in general, but they also have constant sales and promotions, so I've never paid full price for anything. I absolutely love the parsons chairs I purchased for the ends of our dining table. They are custom upholstered when you order and the quality is beautiful. Our bricklayer coffee table is also from Home Decorators and it gives such a high-end look to the living room.
I love Pottery Barn, Ballard and Restoration Hardware just as much as the next person, and do own several pieces from them. There is certainly nothing wrong with that. But it seems most people are on a budget that doesn't always include high-end furnishings. Hopefully our house proves you don't have to spend thousands upon thousands to achieve a high-end, elegant home. My husband is a teacher and I work for a church. We are far from wealthy. But having a beautiful home is important to us, so shopping around and getting off the beaten path is a must when buying furnishings. Hopefully this helps inspire you to do the same!