Is it time to ditch the race car bed?
Back to school means change. And change may mean having to break up with that old race car bed. Is it time to move up into a big kid’s bed and bedroom? Adults love the race car bed too. Who can forget the hilarious dilemma Monica created for herself in the 1996 episode of Friends, The One with The Race Car Bed? Sooner or later, the change will come, and if you are ready to make that change, read on. We’ve got some helpful guidance on getting back-to-school furniture shopping just right.
As students and parents gear up for a new school year, planning for a comfortable and functional learning space is essential. It’s an exciting time that signifies another beginning, the next step in the journey of growth and discovery. Whether your child is moving from kindergartner to first grade or from the dorm to a first apartment, shopping for back-to-school furniture can be a daunting task.
In addition to clothes, a new laptop, books, backpacks, and the other supplies your student will need for success, don’t forget the furniture! And if your young adult is moving into an apartment, you’ll have extra expenses to cover and will need to make smart choices on furniture because it is key for creating the ideal space for focusing on learning.
Here are our top tips for Back-to-School furniture shopping to make the process easier.
The Importance of Planning
Good planning up front will save time, money, and energy when your student needs to focus on school assignments and adjusting to a new class environment. Nothing is more frustrating than not being prepared or comfortable when starting a new school year. And looking for essentials at the last minute can be costly.
Tip #1: Make a list.
Create a list of the must-have items you’ll need, such as a bed, mattress, dresser, armoire, desk, chair, bookcases, and any other items that will create the ideal study and relaxation space.
Shopping without a list is like going to the grocery store on an empty stomach. You usually end up at home with a bunch of things that looked good at the time but didn’t really need. Making a list will help you focus your time and energy on what you’ll need to create a perfect room.
Tip #2: Know your space.
To ensure your furniture will fit properly into your space, be sure to measure the room or living space you are working in. Remember to factor in any roommate or sibling shared space areas. Nothing is worse than falling in love with pieces of furniture only to discover they are too big or not well suited for the space.
A room needs the essential furnishings, but it also needs free space to avoid a room feeling cramped or cluttered. With the proper set of furniture, a room can be functional and stylish, with ample space to hang out with friends. A bed choice tops the list when it comes to outfitting a bedroom. Be sure to select one that will fit your height and needs today and in the future but will not take up the entire room. A Twin, Full, Queen, and even King-sized bed need the proper room space to avoid leaving your sanctuary feeling like a giant closet.
Tip #3: Set a budget
Determining how much you are willing to spend will narrow your choices and save time and money. Remember all the pieces you’ll need to make a room functional, and don’t spend your entire budget on a bed and no dresser. Or you may find yourself having to store your clothes in boxes!
With so many styles and price options, it’s easy to get overwhelmed. Balancing style and function with the realities of the total cost of back-to-school can present a challenge for any student or parent. It’s an investment, and taking the time to create a budget will let you focus on the right furniture for your needs.
How to select the right furniture company?
The right furniture company for you will offer a great assortment, fantastic value, highly rated customer service, and deep knowledge of furniture design and manufacturing. All these elements are key to our next tip, which is the most important of all.
Tip #4: Quality, Quality, Quality
Selecting durable, timeless styles will ensure your furniture will last throughout your school years or make for an excellent handover to younger siblings. Quality furniture doesn’t have to be expensive, so look for well-constructed pieces that won’t pinch the wallet.
When it comes to determining quality, avoid lesser-grade materials such as MDF or laminated particle board. These selections may have an initial attractive purchase price, but you’ll spend more in the long run with replacements as this construction is not meant to be durable or last for years. For about the same price, you can find real wood furniture that is durable, stylish, and will give you years of use for the investment.
Tip #5: Read Reviews
Sorting through the sea of options online, look to reviews as a great way to quickly learn what actual customers have to say about the quality and durability of the furniture. One benefit of shopping online versus a retail store is getting genuine customer feedback on the items you are considering. But use the reviews properly, and you’ll be able to avoid what might not work for you.
Look beyond the ‘I love it” review and dig deeper into what customers have to say about the whole shopping experience. Additional considerations include great Customer Service, accurate shipping updates and tracking information, quality construction, and customers who have made multiple purchases with the retailer you are evaluating. Product-specific reviews and customer-submitted images can give additional insight into color, size, and clever uses customers find to add more versatility to an item.
How can I get the best price on furniture?
Shopping for furniture online has additional benefits beyond the breadth of assortment and customer reviews. While ‘kicking the tires,’ so to speak, has its merit, the upsides to shopping online may outweigh an in-person browse. Online shopping can provide additional pluses without being limited by selection in a retail store. The ability to quickly compare prices is one obvious plus. Additionally, shipping your furniture to where you need it is a big first win. Additionally, finding deals and budget-friendly options is a second win that will keep you on track.
Tip #6: Check for discounts
Many retailers offer promotions during the back-to-school shopping season, which can be a great way to stretch your budget. Also, signing up for email subscriptions is a way to get a potential first-purchase coupon or deal. And email subscribers are generally the first to know about sales and offers.
Another big consideration for saving money when shopping for furniture leads to our next tip.
Tip #7: Free Shipping
Look for retailers that offer free shipping, especially if you are outfitting a space away from home, such as a college apartment. You’ll not have to worry about transporting furniture and paying expensive shipping surcharges. This can be a significant cost savings. A rental van can run upwards of a few hundred dollars, depending on the distance you plan to take the furniture. And who has time for that? There is too much to do to get ready for school, and hauling furniture from a store is not a fun chore.
Watch for great deals but added shipping fees. A discounted sticker price may be less appealing once a shipping fee is added to your purchase. These costs can be excessive, especially if you are buying more than one piece. Depending on how quickly you need the furniture, some retailers may charge an express fee for shipping. Find a reputable retailer that offers free shipping from a reliable national shipping partner, such as FedEx, with delivery in the timeframe you need your items. Usually, 10 business days or less is reasonable when receiving free shipping.
In addition to the 7 tips above, it’s crucial to think about the future as you invest in furniture. Your needs may change over time, and you’ll want your furniture to fit your lifestyle for many years.
Tip #8: Look for versatility in furniture
Topping the list of some of the most versatile furniture options is the wardrobe. Also known as an armoire, these handy gems do more than store clothing or seasonal apparel. With additional shelves, they can store toys, books, and other items, such as linens, if you want to create a clutter-free space.
Once thought of as a closet for a room without a closet, armoires and wardrobes are making a big comeback as consumers discover that they not only hide clutter but also add versatility and style to any room. Once your student outgrows their space, the armoire or wardrobe can work in various other rooms. Some find their way into a kitchen space where they act as an additional pantry, others into dining rooms, becoming a conversation piece as a bar or sideboard. Think of versatility when selecting functional furniture.
You may find yourself moving to a larger space. Or you may elect to downsize, and selecting durable furniture with timeless design will allow you to find a new purpose for your investment. Once your kids move on to a first home of their own, they may take their furniture with them or find that melding their furnishing with a partner leaves some pieces out of the mix. Great style and design will work for years to come.
Tip #9: To complete your room and make it your own, add color
The best way to create a fun personal space is to add your favorite color. You can do so with easy-care yet colorful bedding, unique accessories, and fun wall art. Painting an accent wall is an easy way to add personality to a room. Get your favorite photos out of your phone and into a collage. It’s a simple yet high-impact reminder of your special people and memories and a way to personalize your space. Change up the color seasonally. With so many sheets set, duvet cover options, and throw pillow styles, you can mix and match whatever suits your mood.
And finally, the most important tip of all.
Tip #10: Have fun, make memories
As stressful as the whole back-to-school experience may be, remember to relax and enjoy the journey. Expressing your style and being prudent about your investment in furniture do not have to be competing goals. Using the tips we’ve shared here will guide you to creating the perfect back-to-school space.