As the year is coming to an end, I thought I could sprinkle some word magic across the blogosphere!
My latest obsession has been furnishings and home decor. For a year and a half I shared a flat with my best friend so buying individual furniture wasn’t a top priority. However, in the middle of the year I moved to my own little place and I am slowly trying to make it feel like a home.
One thing is for sure, furnishing a home is not cheap! I get frustrated all the time because I have to buy one major piece of furniture at a time cause obviously I can't afford it all at once (a raise would be nice...hint, hint boss) That said, I do feel a great sense of achievement as I see it all coming together (painstakingly slowly)
I thought I could share some tips of the things I've learnt in trying to furnish my place for anyone embarking on that journey for the first time.
1. Take Your Time
You don't have to do it all at once. If you try to get everything at one go you will only end up financially constrained and frustrated. There is a lot of pressure when you move to a new place to want to have everything, but trust me, everybody who has a great looking house didn't do it overnight.
2. Start With The Basics
The important thing is to start with the basics. By this I mean stuff like a stove, a fridge and a bed. These are absolute necessities so you can't avoid getting them. Don’t worry if you don’t have stuff like a couch, your friends will understand if they have to sit on a carpet for a few weeks till you’re set!
3. Plan Ahead
The best advice I got from a friend when I first moved into my flat was to furnish my house one room at a time. For example, if you choose to start with your bedroom you can plan to buy bedding, wardrobe, curtains and things like that and you can coordinate them all. This also makes it easier as you shop around because you are focused on what you want. Plan to get one big thing every month. For example you can start with a bed, then the next month a wardrobe and so on.
4. Do NOT Impulse Buy
I am a compulsive impulse buyer and this is something I learnt never to do when furniture shopping. You know how you see really pretty yellow curtains and when you get home you find it can't match with your pink wall? An extreme example, but what I am trying to say is that when it comes to furnishing or decorating your home, you must already have an idea of what kind of pieces you are looking for. This way you don’t end up spending money on something that will end up gathering dust in a dark storeroom because you can’t find a way to make it fit in your home.
5. Shop Around
Before you buy something look around different furniture shops to see if you can get it for a better deal. Furniture at malls is usually quiet pricey so don't hesitate to go around outside the mall and strike good deals.
6. Don't Be Afraid To Go Local
One really great thing I've found is that you can actually get stuff made locally. This is actually fantastic because not only can you get something much cheaper than from a store but you can go with an actual design that you have in mind and they can make it for you. It's really a win-win situation. Find out what good local carpenters are around and go with your design and get a good bargain!
7. Visit Expat Sites for a Good Bargain
I haven't actually used this myself but I have friends who have furnished their homes by buying off stuff from expatriates who were leaving the country and were selling their furniture. The best part is that you can usually bargain with the expats once you meet them which isn’t something that is usually possible to do in a shop. A great site to check is Zamloop
Final Thoughts and Recommendations
For locals in Lusaka I would recommend that you check furniture shops in town. Like many people in Lusaka, I don't like the busyness of the town centre but if you are serious about being budget conscious when it comes to furnishing your home, I highly recommend that you inconvenience yourself just this once! Kamwala is actually a great place to get things like kitchen cabinets, wardrobes and a chest of drawers.
If you decide to buy furniture from the mall, check out Carnival Furniture at Mandahill Mall. They let you pick up an item after you pay a small percentage and allow you to pay off the full amount over the course of a few months without an interest rate.You can also check out Home Corp for small items like wall paintings and rugs. You can get furniture on higher purchase but they have a 19% interest rate which I personally would rather avoid. Cash Converters is also a great place to score bargains because people sell off their household items for cash. Mr Price Home is perfect for scatter cushions, plastic potted plants, and quirky little ornaments.Not to forget Game Stores. I like their bathroom section.
UBK has some of the most beautiful pieces of furniture I have seen but they are on the pricey side. Still, it’s great place to visit for inspiration. And if you really want something they offer a short lay-bye option. They have an amazing selection of wall paper as well.
Pound Stretcher is a great place to go for tiny pieces like picture frames, paintings, wall art, wallpaper, mirrors and ornaments.
Orca Home Decor is a must stop because even if you don't actually buy something you can get great ideas because they set up their pieces to reflect different home designs. They also have a great selection of affordable curtains and curtain rails as well as lovely floor carpets so I highly recommend them!
Hope you found this article useful. If you have any tips or places you know with affordable and chic furniture pieces please share!