Being frugal isn’t just about learning to live with a small grocery budget or cutting corners on housing costs. It’s about the small decisions you make every day to save money and get the most bang for your buck. Small actions like forgoing the restaurant for lunch at work, or finding thrifty furniture – those seemingly inconsequential decisions can really make a difference in your bottom line. Whenever I’m shopping for furniture or booking a vacation, I always try and find the most cost effective solution (within reason) and then send the savings towards my financial goals.
How I Save Money on Furniture
Since moving to our new apartment, I’ve needed to purchase quite a bit of furniture. I had all of the essentials like a couch, a bed and a dinner table, but lacked other items like a desk for my home office, a pullout couch for the spare bedroom, a book shelf, and a way to store clothing in my bedroom. I’ve been slowly checking these “must buys” off the list over the past few months, and here’s how I managed to score a pair of brand new dressers for the bedroom for under $150.
Finding Dressers for $100 or Less
First, I didn’t have any way to store clothes in my bedroom, so they were sitting in a neat pile in my bedroom closet. This was a problem because the bedroom closet is prime real estate in an apartment without much storage, and I knew that space could be used for other things. I got the idea from Pinterest to swap out my bedside tables on either side of my bed for small dressers, and started scouring the Internet for reasonably priced options to make this idea a reality.
My first instinct is always to check out Ikea, because their reasonable prices and cute stuff is always good quality. I loved the Hemnes dresser below, but the combined price for two was upwards of $400 after taxes and shipping, which is more than I was willing to spend.
Instead I opted for the cheapest dresser they offer: The Rast unfinished, unstained pine dressers. They were selling for the low low price of $39 per dresser, and after taxes and shipping the pair of them only cost $107.00. Not bad.
Stain, Paint, Poly and Wax
I got the idea to choose the unstained dressers because I knew we had some leftover Annie Sloan Paint from a previous project, which we could repurpose to make these dressers something special. I went back to Google and searched until I found someone else’s Rast DIY project that really resonated with me: I knew we could recreate the vibe in this photo (minus the gold hardware, which I’m not crazy about).
My husband is the chalk paint specialist in our house, so he applied two coats of the paint in Graphite colour and one coat of clear wax to the outsides of the dressers. We already had the paint, wax and brush from a previous project, so this part of the process was completely free.
The drawers were my project. To get the colour I was looking for, I opted for Minwax Special Walnut stain. It took two coats, using a cheap synthetic brush. The stain cost about $8 and the cheap brush was $4. Once the stain dried (I waited 24 hours between coats), I applied two thin coats of Minwax water based oil-modified polyurethane. The poly cost another $8, and I used the same brush. I lightly sanded between coats using 320 grit sandpaper ($4) and voila!
I’m really pleased with how these dressers turned out. It took about five days to complete the project, mostly because I had to wait so long between coats. I didn’t fully use up any of the products that I bought, so we’ll be able to use the paint, wax, stain, poly and sandpaper for future projects. Eventually I’d like to replace the cheap wooden knobs that came with the dressers with higher quality brushed nickel or oil rubbed bronze knobs, but for now we just painted the wooden ones with the same paint that was used for the exterior of the dresser.
Altogether the entire project cost $131. Not a bad price considering two Hemnes dressers would have cost upwards of $400 after shipping!
Aside from my DIY triumpth, the dressers also work perfectly in the bedroom. We have no art up on the walls yet and the previous setup seemed so choppy. Now the room looks much more grounded. A headboard and some art above the bed would really complete the picture, but right now I have other, more pressing furniture requirements (namely a bookshelf).
If I Can DIY, You Can DIY
This little project was incredibly simple. If you can hold a paintbrush, you can complete this project. You don’t need a dedicated workspace, we completed this project in our spare bedroom and dining room (just make sure you have some windows to open for decent ventilation). If I can do it and save some serious dough on furniture, so can you!
What DIY projects have you completed recently? I want to know!