I often recycle my stocks of styling accessories, as-well-as as my own home items as I’m forever changing things up – the curse of an interior designer. A lamp here, a plant there, coffee table books, candle holder etc. help to keep things fresh and on trend. It’s also a lot of fun.
Thanks to tools such as Outlets, online stores, Gumtree and Facebook (Buy, Sell, Swap pages), it’s possible to browse 24/7 and revamp, repurpose, or rework an array of items on a shoestring. Naturally, however, we shouldn’t buy something, new or used, just because it cheap. As with all design there needs a plan in place, to determine what you need, what your concept is, and the style you’re looking for, but above all you need to stick to it.
So here are my top buyers tips, for individuals looking to style their home by revamping, repurposing and reworking items.
Make a design plan and stick to it. Never enter a design project without making a plan. Use Pinterest, mood boards, scrap books etc to bring your vison together. This will help you see what style and colours work (or more importantly, don’t work) together and will help to pull together a sourcing list. The type of room may also impact the finishes, after all your lounge or main bedroom Vs the small box room you’re finally getting round to styling, can afford different finishes.
Make a realistic sourcing list. Pull together a list of items that you’ll need to source. Be sure to think about items in your current home that you can reuse/repurpose, don’t be afraid to change colours, fabrics or uses of items etc…get creative. For everything else that you need to source, try to give it a cost, but be realistic. Don’t just assume something will cost $100 because that’s what you have, through the internet and retail visits do some diligence and determine what your feature pieces are and where your budget is best spent. This will then confirm a likely budget, if you can afford it and where you can make tweaks.
Don’t let the “plan” get you down. If there one thing I’ve learned, don’t get melancholy if you have champagne tastes on a beer budget. There are always options and compromises that can be made. This is and should be a fun process, so get creative. If you can’t afford something at full retail price, can you source items from a different stockist, or overseas, look at seconds or floor clearance stock, or find a similar used item. As with repurposing your own items, you can use upholsterers, fitters, handymen, or your own skills to repurpose pre-loved items.
Be flexible. Fluidity in your design can help with a tight budget but be sure it’ll work. While “eclectic” is a very forgiving word, in design terns it doesn’t always work and you’ll go over budget trying to rectify mistakes. Go back to the plan and make changes to determine the flow on impacts of any big design modification, especially with feature pieces.
Value vs Perceived value. People can be short-sighted here as psychologically buying a $600 lamp Vs a $15 lamp is a very different thing. If you’re buying a $120 pair of lamps in excellent condition and working order for $30, that’s a good deal. So set in your mind how much you can buy that or a similar product for new (this comes down to your diligence), consider the asking price and then how you much you have to spend. You’ll know if something is a good deal of not, and if you’re not sure test it out with a friend. Above all else, no matter how good the value is, if it doesn’t work within your design or can’t be changed within budget to fit, walk away.
Ask questions…a lot of question. So you know how much something is worth, that you can afford it and want it, now you need to know it’ll meet your expectations. Remember if you’re going to reuse, repurpose of revamp, not everything is going to be in shiny new retail boxes, so expect some wear and be honest with the sellers. Does the item work? Where are the scratches nicks and bumps? Does it wobble? Why are you selling? How old is it? What was it used for? Has it been repaired? Etc etc etc.
Welcome to Barter Town. Bottom line if you want it, you’ve agreed a price, can afford it and it’s a deal – go for it! Don’t procrastinate because you can’t get an extra few dollars off…it’s not worth the stress. Psychologically we all want a deal but what is the perceived value Vs the actual vaule? After all it’s more disappointing to miss out then to get a extra few dollars off. It’s also amazing what those extra few dollars will buy you in good will: delivery, help, availability of other items, bulk deals etc.
One of the things I love about design is it’s constantly changing and moving. And if you have the right eye for design items, new or used, and have a plan in place, your space can be ever evolving and interesting.