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Renovating and refreshing your home can be a long and slow process. I grew up watching Changing Rooms, a British home improvement show where neighbours were tasked with renovating each other’s homes in just 48 hours. That gave me the perception that when it came to decorating my own home, a weekend would be enough time to develop a concept, source everything and install it. I look back at my innocent self from my half-constructed bathroom while avoiding splinters from the floor I have yet to sand and laugh. Oh, how I laugh.
The more home refreshes and renovations I’ve put under my belt, the more I have realised that the best results have come from taking things a tad slower than the breakneck speed of reality TV. If you are reading this and saying, “No poo poo Sherlock”, I don’t blame you.
However, I have learned that people are desperate to get furniture in as soon as possible. This often results in a one-stop-shop to Ikea, a cart filled with flat-packed furniture and a frustrating evening spent comparing screws to see if they are P6-4afr or P6-5afr.
Ikea furniture has its place, and I am not knocking it; however, sometimes opting for furniture with a little more heft and a little more (whispers) quality will ultimately give your home the look you are searching for. The reality is that you may not be able to get it that day, but the wait can be well worth it if you are looking for a long-lasting change rather than a quick fix.
After a love affair with the furniture equivalent of fast fashion that left me with a sore back and depleted bank balance thanks to frequent purchases, I’ve made it my mission to find furniture that can last.
Okay, so this one requires a bit of work on your part, but I am in love with hunting down high quality, reclaimed furniture from places like Etsy and Folksy. Antique furniture isn’t going to cut it in my house but reclaimed furniture that has already stood the test of time certainly will!
Chests of drawers are my personal pet peeve. I cannot stand the type that has a flimsy fiberboard base. Give it a month or so of overstuffing, and the base pops right out. Completely solid drawers are the only way to go, in my opinion. Finding these solid drawers in new chests of drawers is no mean feat, and I find myself consistently reaching out to upcyclers to nab a really cool piece with a bit of character and a long life span.
Furniture that doesn’t cost the earth
We can’t escape the disposable nature of our society. While I am usually a proponent of cheap and cheerful, there are certain things that I have come to realise are just worth spending the money on.
Sofas and armchairs, the staples of living rooms, are some of those things. I’ve been on the lookout for companies that are stylish, long-lasting and kind to the planet. After some searching, I have hit upon Collins & Hayes. They handcraft the frames in their furniture from sustainable wood and ensure that the fabrics use environmentally friendly dyes and processes.
Many of their styles allow you to use a slipcover which is ideal for us. Dog hair and spilt snacks can easily be washed off to make the sofa look presentable for when the in-laws’ popover. Plus, I can change colours and patterns to give the room a new look rather than chucking everything out and starting from scratch.
Furniture that grows with the wee ones
If you have kids, you know they can outgrow things in the blink of an eye. They can be busting out of clothes, Incredible Hulk style, that were comically large on them only a week ago.
While furniture takes a little longer for them to grow out of, it can get expensive very quickly if you buy only single-use furniture for their room. Instead, opt for ones that can serve multiple purposes by looking for transforming furniture that will perfectly complement the changing needs of your little darling.
Stokkes’ Trippp Trapp high chair is an excellent example of a minimalistic design that can take a baby from just sitting up to a sassy teen. However, they also have a changing table that converts into a desk and shelving units in a clever way. The initial price tag may put you off, but the value of that versatility can’t be doubted.
These are just three examples of places to find furniture that will give you bang for your buck in terms of quality and versatility. What I like about them is that they can change with my changing tastes and needs.
Whether it’s a new colour that is required or a new function, they give me options. And the reclaimed furniture? I’ve been known to repaint and change the knobs on a few pieces that I have bought over the years as a way to realise my inner Linda Barker.