The Art Of Filling An Empty House Without Losing Financial Balance

Early next month, my family and I will be moving into a house with more than three times the square footage of our current tiny apartment. This, of course, means that after we move, our home will be very spartan. For some, this might be an excuse to bust out the plastic and go on a credit-based buying spree, but we’ve actually been planning for this situation for quite a while (one of the few smart financial moves we made before our meltdown and after).

First, we established a house fund with the money gifts from our wedding. This fund was originally intended to help with a down payment, but given our new financial discipline, it will now actually be used for furnishing the home.

Second, our current furniture selection was extremely inexpensive. We both realized that we would be moving into a much nicer home in the next few years, so rather than buying some nice furniture for our apartment, we bought cheap furniture and contributed to a home furnishing fund that was basically impossible to touch (CDs, actually).

This leaves us right now with a substantial ball of cash that we’ve been saving up just for the purpose of furnishing our home, but we have very little to start with. Right now, our plan is to fill the home with a mixture of items of differing levels of quality, while still leaving at least a couple of rooms quite spartan. Here’s our plan.

Very spartan living room We’re basically going to have a couch and a bookshelf in there to start with, cutting down on furnishing one of the potentially expensive rooms without intense spending. The focus of our wall decoration in here will be a large canvas by my great aunt, an established artist who regularly has gallery showings in the Midwest.

Bookshelves from Ikea While part of me would love to commission similar shelves from a local woodsmith, the price for exactly what we want is incredible, and we saw exactly what we wanted at Ikea (the large version of this in birch). Given that we also have young children and will be using one of these in the family room as well, the price point feels very appropriate to us.

Family room furniture (and a few other items) from a local furniture outlet This is, of course, after checking local consignments and estate auctions. There’s a furniture outlet nearby that has a huge mishmash of items in it at very nice prices, especially considering the quality of it. We plan on two rocker-recliners and a couch from here for the family room, the couch for the living room, a desk for the office, and a bed for the kid’s bedroom will all come from here.

Other items We plan on leveraging most of the stuff we currently have in various ways. Our primary bookshelf now is made out of two by fours and bricks (seriously), and that will be converted into shelving in the garage. Our current dining room furniture will also continue to work, as it was the only quality furniture item that we purchased after our wedding (due to a gift certificate with an expiration date). Our current bed will be put into the guest bedroom.

We’ve already calculated things up and it appears as though we will be able to furnish our house while still severely under the money we’ve saved. If this is the case, we’ll use that remaining money as the basis for a house emergency fund.

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