Furnishing My Living Room: How I Saved PhP40 Thousand
“Expect to spend more than PhP70 thousand if you want to furnish your living room,” my friend, an interior designer, told me.
I believe I shrieked at the moment. “Seventy thousand?!? That’s ridiculous! Perhaps your estimate is based on expensive furniture?” I asked – no, I hoped.
I had hoped she was wrong. I was asking her how much it would cost me to furnish my living room from scratch and her estimate just shocked me. No way was I spending seventy thousand anything on living room furniture and décor!
This is now my living room. Spoiler: It did not cost me PhP70,000!
I took a peek at the piece of paper she was writing on. Her list included a rug, couch, table, a big painting for one of my walls, and a few other items. The total screamed out to me like a morbid number, making me forget any hope I had previously clung to.
I shook my head; I had no plans of spending 70 friggin’ thousand just to furnish a living room!
Wall art + installment
After all, I had two bedrooms, a dining area, small kitchen, bathroom and a small closet to work on after I finished with the living room. Did renting a house really have to be this expensive?
Working at Home: Why Home Improvement Matters
I work at home. I need an environment that makes me want to work, one that makes me feel energized and awake. A dark, gloomy home environment is not going to help me be productive!
“Why not just buy cheap laminate furniture?” you might ask. Although they are cheap, they last just a couple of years before the wood starts warping or getting mold. I’m too old to buy laminate furniture! It’s time I invested in pieces that will last me a long time.
I asked my friend how I could furnish my home for less. She gave me a few tips and together with a few things I learned on my own, I’m sharing with you how I saved more than PhP40,000 while furnishing my living room.
Tip #1: Visit second-hand furniture shops for unique finds.
Barangay Bangkal in Makati became my best friend. It’s a neighborhood full of stores selling second-hand furniture.
It might take you an entire afternoon browsing through them because the stores span three blocks – you’ll find them along Lacuna Street, Hizon Street, and Garcia Street, all three of which intersect Evangelista Street.
From Bangkal, I purchased a center table made of wrought iron, wood, and two layers of glass for just PhP2,500. I also got myself three pedestal tables which I now use as side tables – I spent just PhP2,800 on all three!
This glass-top center table with wrought-iron legs cost me only PhP2,500!
I also bought a beautiful narra table with fluted legs and three drawers for PhP5,000 – I use it as my work desk. That’s also where I found a beautiful chair made of maple, with a ladder back and sausage turnings, which has found its place in the dining area.
Before you head over to Bangkal, here are a few things you need to remember.
- Dust is your ally. Don’t be turned off by the dusty tables and the haphazard way all those pieces are stored. The dirtier a store is, the cheaper the furniture tends to be! You’re also likely to find great pieces even in the least obsessive-compulsive shops; all you need is a little patience.
- Get dressed like you’re going on a field trip. What do you usually wear when you’re expected to walk kilometers on end without air conditioning? Wear that. I usually wore sneakers, shorts, and a thin, comfy shirt that didn’t soak up my sweat. Instead of my usual handbag, I brought with me my backpack. (Find out what the perfect backpack is.) Lastly, I had with me a full water bottle – it was empty at the end of the day!
- Bring measurements. How can you decide on which table or chair to purchase if you have no idea how much space you have? Measure your space at home, jot down those measurements, and don’t forget to bring those numbers with you.
- Haggle! They expect you to. Just make sure you do so within reasonable means. Don’t haggle like crazy if you’re not exactly going to buy a piece of furniture – they might not be as welcoming if you see something you like the next time you drop by!
- Bring cash. Sorry, but credit cards aren’t welcome. There are a few ATMs in the area, but if you don’t want the hassle, at least bring a little cash with you.
Tip #2: Wait for the sale season before you buy expensive rugs.
My living room requires a rug that measures about 62 by 90 inches; I knew it was going to be a big rug – in other words, a pricey one.
Still, I managed to purchase a rug half-off! Instead of spending PhP10,000 on a rug, I waited for the sale season and purchased my sisal rug for just PhP4,500.
This sisal rug has a price tag of PhP4,500 – I bought it half-off!
Sisal works for me because I have a cat who loves murdering any fabric it can get its paws on. The material can stand his scratching and kneading while it provides a neutral-colored, dirt-hiding slate for the rest of my furniture.