Is my budget crazy?

NorthlutJanuary 18, 2014

We're looking to redo our dining room, mostly from scratch. No construction, but all new furniture and accessories. We'll need a table, 6 chairs, a rug, window coverings for a large sliding glass door, a piece to store china and such (not a china cabinet, more like a sideboard), another piece for the other side of the table, and art and accessories. The one thing that will probably stay is the chandelier.

So, is it insane to try to do this for 20k or so? We want quality furniture, especially the table and chairs. We don't care about the brand name, but we want stuff that will feel good and hold up. No Pottery Barn or Ikea. It's hard for me to wrap my head around what's realistic here.

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I think that budget is more than ample.

Recommend looking at Traditions -see link below- for links to many very high quality brands that would fit your budget. We have our solid cherry dining set from there that is very nice and now over 20 years old.

Here is a link that might be useful: Traditions furniture in Kansas City

    Bookmark   January 18, 2014 at 9:17PM
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Bumblebeez SC Zone 7

Keep in my mind 6 chairs is minimal and I would budget for 10+ if possible also with table leaves.

    Bookmark   January 18, 2014 at 9:21PM
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It's a reasonable budget provided you aren't interested in furniture at the higher end, or elaborate custom drapery. You should be able to furnish it nicely and get some good window treatments with your budget.

    Bookmark   January 18, 2014 at 9:35PM
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Thanks. Regarding the number of chairs, we have been married for over ten years and have needed ten dining room chairs exactly zero times. I can think of two times we've used eight. We don't have kids or big families, and we don't host large dinner parties. So we're really designing for our practical life, not an idea we never actually experience. 95% of the time it's just the two of us. Maybe 4% of the time we have another couple over and once in a blue moon we have two couples or a couple with kids.

As for high end furniture, this is one area where we're trying to adjust. We have bought a fair amount of Stickley in the past, and we love furniture of that quality. We could afford to do that in this dining room also, but we have a few other projects we want to do at the same time, so we're trying to rein it in a bit. But our ideal really would be something that feels and looks as nice as Stickley (not necessarily the same style) but doesn't have the brand name or reputation, so is cheaper. Not sure that exists...

    Bookmark   January 18, 2014 at 11:17PM
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If you want traditional furniture, I'd check out estate sales and resellers. You could likely get top quality for a really good price as there's a flood of traditional furniture no one wants.

We furnished a lot of our house w/ estate sale finds and furniture from Stenella Antiques (not sure where you are located but they are great and I know they sell Stickley!) We have almost exclusively Kittinger, Drexel Heritage, Henkel Harris and Baker furniture in every room and it cost a small fraction of what it cost brand new (not cheap, mind you, but a lot cheaper than buying in store... and I like the older stuff better b/c I know even some of the good manufacturers these days just don't make furniture like they did in the old days, I can tell the difference between my new stuff and old stuff and the old stuff is just better).

    Bookmark   January 18, 2014 at 11:37PM
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I could do it for under ten in a heartbeat. It takes a little sleuthing around but it can be done. Below is a random mission style which would work well with Stickley. Just an idea of a direction to go. Google mission style, Amish and you'll find plenty. I hit upon these items on Overstock but I also like 55 Downing Street.

Here is a link that might be useful: Mission style

    Bookmark   January 18, 2014 at 11:37PM
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Yes, you can furnish a room for just about any amount of money if you do it right :-)

I would start by replacing the sliders with French doors, either divided light or single pane, depending upon the style of your home. Sliders have a very casual vibe and, IMO, look completely out of place with the window treatments people use on them--- most of which seem designed to try to hide the doors. Changing the doors would cost (in my area) between 10 and 15% of your budget but it will give you the most bang for your buck.

If you're really starting from scratch, I would do the doors first, then find an interior decorator whose work you like, explain your project to her and tell her you are not at all opposed to vintage or used quality furniture from places like Scott's Antiques (Ohio and Atlanta) or Stenella's (Pennsylvania). In many cases his or her discount from vendors will cover the fee and you will end up with a room that looks more pulled together with your other furnishings, home, lifestyle, etc. This usually isn't a very popular suggestion on GW, but people here are most often looking to make slower changes over time. When you are doing it all at once you have the opportunity to make costly mistakes if you aren't experienced.

    Bookmark   January 19, 2014 at 7:38AM
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I also suggest looking at "used" furniture, especially for the dining room. It gives you a chance to look for things made before everything started coming from China. You'll get much more for your money and the quality should be better too.

    Bookmark   January 19, 2014 at 8:36AM
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when I was disposing of my Mom's household when she was selling, I put a lot of it in consignment stores. There was definitely a glut of dining room sets, some great, some not. Formal dining rooms are just not as popular as they used to be, so these sets are not getting passed to next generations. That was my first exposure to consignment stores and it was fascinating the level of quality that could be found. The place I went to was very picky on what they accepted.

As far as 20K for what you describe, it is just going to depend on your tastes and what level of quality you require. You can do it for much less or much more. I spent 30K in a heartbeat recently partially furnishing a new condo and still have about 10K to add. I had guesstimated a budget in advance and I think I came up with 20K for bedroom set, partial living room, casual dining table/chairs, rugs, window treatments. Unfortunately (or fortunately?) I was drawn to solid cherry furniture made in USA which is a real budget killer.

    Bookmark   January 19, 2014 at 9:11AM
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Another Stickley fan here, don't forget Craigslist. Have seen beautiful tables, chairs, and buffets for a fraction of the original price. Don't know if you are in the DC area, but it seems to always have Stickley pieces available. We just purchased an older Stickley mission entertainment center (too small for today's tv) that we are converting into a bar.

Here is a link that might be useful: Stickley sideboard

    Bookmark   January 19, 2014 at 9:58AM
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Kswl said:
"In many cases his or her discount from vendors will cover the fee"

I wouldn't make this assumption. Many designers do not pass on the reduced wholesale cost to their customers. They keep the difference as their profit, in addition to the hourly fees. These are important questions to ask and clarify before you hire the designer.

    Bookmark   January 19, 2014 at 3:48PM
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Yes, I would assume the customer would purchase the furniture at ID's cost plus his or her percentage. That's an industry standard unless the fee is hourly or a flat fee for the job.

    Bookmark   January 19, 2014 at 5:05PM
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