How A Little Elbow Grease Can Save You Big Bucks When Furnishing Your Home

How A Little Elbow Grease Can Save You Big Bucks When Furnishing Your Home

Remember the days when people would try to salvage what they had instead of just throwing furniture away when they got sick of it? I certainly do. While I couldn’t care less about furniture as a kid, I’ll always remember that one time Dad spent several weekends straight stripping, sanding, and re-varnishing by hand all the timber dining chairs in our family home—all because Mum bought a new dining table to fit more members of the family. (All these years later, they still have the same dining setting!)

There’s plenty to be said from an environmental perspective about the vicious cycle of fast furniture. But in this blog, I’m going to give you a quick overview of how a little thought and only the most basic DIY skills can save you tens, hundreds, or even thousands of dollars!

In fact, all it takes to save you lots of money on your interior designing immediately and forever is to embrace three key ideas…


Compare the pair: Table A, and Table B.

Table A has an RRP of few hundred dollars. It is a high-quality timber table that’s on a good sale at the moment, but it’s not quite the right colour for your décor.

Table B has a significantly lower RRP. The timber used for this table is noticeably worse, but it’s also on sale (for less than Table A) and the colour matches your existing décor.

Which should you buy? Table A, of course.

Hang on—why on earth would you buy Table A?  Well, it comes down to this simple fact of life: you get what you pay for. Though cheap and convenient, Table B—like most fast furniture—shows signs of damage much sooner than you expect, and within a year or two often fails to withstand the trials and tribulations of family life. Meanwhile, the higher quality materials and construction will ensure signs of wear only add character, allowing Table A to last years longer than Table B. So while buying Table B is undeniably cheaper and more convenient right now, it will almost always mean spending more in the long run. Talk about a false economy!

So what do you do about the mismatching colour? Here’s where your creativity comes in…


Since the 1990s, chalk paint (and similar furniture paints) have been growing in popularity for people who aren’t loving their timber furniture but want to re-colour to suit a new house, new décor, new age in their life, or even just a new season. These paints are available from your nearest hardware store and are couldn’t be easier to use, tending to be quick-drying and tending to not require you to sand or prime your timber pieces. Perfect for those of us leading busy lives!


As anyone who’s familiar with DIY will tell you, sometimes you screw up. Sometimes your screw-ups will be so bad that there’s either no way to fix them, or there’s no point in fixing them because fixing them will involve disproportionate time, hassle, and/or money.

But don’t let this be a reason to give up! Being able to face your mistakes and learn for the future is character-building. No one became an expert at something by giving up the first time they failed.


So keep calm and keep your home on-trend. With a little elbow grease, not only will you be able to redecorate your home more easily on a shoestring budget, you might just pick up a new hobby in the process.

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