There are certain considerations that affect the judgment calls we make when shopping for different objects for our homes, no matter how crazy we’d like to go. It doesn’t matter if the purpose behind the purchase is for beauty or for utility: budget is almost always one of the deciding factors.
When budget is low and creativity is high, most people succumb to looking for pieces that they can get on bargain. These pieces are either on brand new but on sale or inexpensive but second-hand. While both would generally fit the bill of a smart shopper, there are things to consider before buying one or the other. Let’s take a look at some of them:
Buying: Decorative, like figurines, paintings, etc.
Consider: Aesthetics, value and safety. Since these are objects that make a room pretty but are of no use to you, make sure that they are indeed beautiful. Antiques, especially crystals and certain metals, are perfect examples of expensive yet good investments, but only if you are looking at its decorative value. Making sure also that these objects would not cause any harm to you, your family or your guests is another factor to consider.
Verdict: Some objects amass certain value because of its history and beauty, while some depreciate over time, so not all second- (or third- or fourth- or fifth-) hand objects are more valuable than brand-new ones. Go for second-hand goodies if you have the budget and a classic, vintage taste. Brand-new decorative materials tend to be mass produced and, therefore, a bit generic. Otherwise, go DIY.
Buying: Furniture, wooden
Consider: Durability, aesthetics and value. Buying furniture is trickier than most because it has to be durable and beautiful at the same time. One should consider the way a piece fits with all the other pieces in the room without forgetting the piece’s main purpose. Heavy wood is more expensive most of the time and are usually considered antiques, so this must be put into consideration as well.
Verdict: Buying second-hand is all right, as long as you are sure that they can literally hold their end of the bargain. An antique wooden chest may be beautiful to look at but if your piece cannot hold the expected number of clothes or ware, then you are better off with a new one (or the usual Orocan if you’re on strict budget).
Buying: Furniture, soft
Consider: Durability, aesthetics and cleanliness. Would you ever buy something that looks like it has been used and neglected by another? Of course not. Furniture that has some kind of cloth in it, like sofas and arm chairs, should be maintained to avoid it from being dirty, lumpy or even moldy.
Verdict: Better to buy brand-new when buying something that can look, feel and smell weathered over time.
Buying: Dinnerware and kitchenware
Consider: Durability, value, safety and cleanliness. Another tricky case, buying dinnerware and kitchenware should be well thought of, especially since they will be used in food preparation and service. Kitchenware should be tough, safe and clean enough to be used in cooking, while dinnerware must be safe, clean and presentable enough to be used in dining.
Verdict: It is always safer to buy brand-new, unless you are looking at some seriously good antique china.
Buying: Appliances, such as refrigerators and TVs
Consider: Durability, aesthetics, value and carbon footprint. Generally speaking, appliances decrease in value over time, so when buying them second-hand, consider the number of years since its manufacture date. Surprisingly, however, some appliances bought second-hand are all right because of their long shelf lives, some even lasting for over thirty years! While knowing how long a certain appliance can be of use to you is very essential, it is also quite important to know if they are made to fit present ecological standards. Those that do are said to help you save energy and, consequently, money.
Verdict: Either. Weigh your pros and cons before making a decision.
Shopping for things at home, whether for the sake of redecorating or to fill a new house, is always an exciting time for most people. After all, there is always something quite thrilling in choosing the piece of furniture or appliance for a certain room in your house. Always remember though that, like most art, interior decorating is an avenue for self-expression, and being represented truly and faithfully through your humble abode should always be a factor to consider perhaps more than anything else.