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Posted by on Sep 18, 2010 in Thinking of Buying? | 16 comments | Print Print

Cost of Furnishing New Home

There was some discussion in the comments two posts back on how much it cost to finish off a new house with all the extras; window coverings, landscape, etc.

But once you get the house ready to occupy, there is another cost to consider – furnishings.

Most buyers have adequate stuff for their old joint, but most are buying a somewhat larger or nicer home, and will fall a little short when outfitting the new home with the existing furniture on hand.

The rule-of-thumb is that you can add a zero to your new square footage to estimate your initial expenses on additional furniture.

If you buy a 3,000sf house, you’ll probably expect to spend $30,000 over the first year or two on new furnishings, +/- depending on tastes, budget, and who is in charge.

If you go the econo-route, you can save some money, especially if you can use some of the furniture coming from when the guy was living single:


  1. If you go the econo-route, you can save some money, especially if you can use some of the furniture coming from when the guy was living single: – JtR
    Love it.
    On a serious note – more folks should avail themselves of free family hand me downs. We are using my step-mom’s old dining room set, my boys are in the twin beds that my mom had growing up. Our kitchen table has a new top on it – but the base is one from the kitchen table of hubby’s grandparents. This is all solid, well built furniture and will probably last well enough to pass on to our kids.

  2. Apologies in advance to my wife for throwing her under the bus:

    What she says: “I want to buy a house so we can decorate it, make it ours, make it feel like a home.”

    What I hear: “I want to spend a lot of money so we can then spend even more money.”

    To be fair, I’ll admit I can be a cheapskate sometimes. Okay, a lot of times.

  3. Oh what a coincidence you should post this! We just bought a new house after 3.5-4 years of being in the market as firsttime home buyers. What we did while we were house hunting was, we bought furniture keeping in mind that we’d be moving soon to our own place! So now we don’t have to spend on flat screen tv or bedroom furniture or couches… Since we already have them of our choice and they are practically new 🙂

  4. One word for the cheapskates — IKEA!!! 🙂

  5. My wife buys IKEA and I buy Stickley. Her selections die within five years and mine will be around for generations. You really get what you pay for.

  6. Man cave, I think that’s PC for cave dwelling cave man.

  7. I live in an 800 sf condo, but I haven’t spent $8000 on furnishings in my whole lifetime.

    I guess y’all have more expensive taste than me.

  8. The most cost-effective way of acquiring furniture is any college campus the day after the last exam.

  9. well, there’s a lot of benefit in waiting. during our 5 years of waiting, we held on to the old 32″ TV from my college days. we donated it prior to the move to the “real” house. We were able to pick up a 65″ DLP TV on the web for $1000 without tax or shipping that otherwise would have cost $3000 back in 2004.

    in furnishing a large home, both inside and outside. we simply shop very smart and we are taking our time. we are getting a lot of stuff on line. tax free and shipping charge minimal or none. this becomes quite important as a lot of furniture is higher priced and taxes can really add up. also it is easier to comparison shop and easier to find bargains.

    while it would be easier just to go to IKEA, IKEA stuff is cheap in quality but not necessarily cheaper in price.

  10. swm, Especially a private school. Holy cow some of those kids have money. And they can only fit so much in their 4 year old Lexus when they leave for good.

    We went the buying club route. It probably took 10 years to pay out, but the best benefit seems to be buying by spec after due consideration instead of buying on emotion.

  11. I hope nobody ever put one of my college couches in their home. That’s nasty.

  12. Is that Douglas C. Neidermeir in the last photo?

  13. Haha, those pictures reminded me of the first time I ever visited my the apartment of my ex when we were dating. Especially the 2nd one. I should have known right then….

  14. Furniture consignment stores can land you a good deal on uncommon, slightly used furniture

  15. That’s funny, to a single guy you can take away that extra zero. Others have already mentioned IKEA, and that’s if you want to splurge on something new. Half my furnishings starting out were free or used.

    Years later, I have lots of money in the bank. What a surprise!

  16. Just look at all the stuff your parents have in their home. You probably want bigger, better, and all the tech gadgets that they don’t have. Not to mention the everyday stuff like pots, pans, dishes, BBQ lawn care, storage, tools the list goes on. At today’s prices it adds up to $100,000+. Even IKEA crap over 10 years can cost $20,000. If you like better quality products make it $200,000 over 10 or 15 years.

    If you don’t believe me walk around their home, list everything, go on to Google price it out (or the better one you want) and add it up.

    If you want to cut that by 30% – 40% (save $30,000 to $80,000 over 10 years) buying clubs are worth the investment. I have used one for over 10 years (only wish I had known about them 25 years ago).

    Usually fees can be a few thousand to join, or some offer monthly contracts (like the cell phone companies, locked in for 2 or 3 years)

    If you can afford it the best time to join a buyer club is as early as possible (start saving more sooner) 20% or 30% on small items is like money in the bank, but for most a good time is when planning a major purchase like all ne appliances or a furniture setting in the $5000+ range. This first purchase can offset the majority of the club fee, leaving you with a buying advantage for everything else you need to do.

    If you actually took the money saved on each purchase and put it in a retirement fund you be very comfortable when you retire. What mutual fund is going to pay you 20% to 30% on everything you buy?

    Buy the way talking about investment funds, be aware of management fees. Typically 2% per year. That means if have $100K tucked away in a fund they are taking $2000 a year away from you (even when the fund loses money). Realizing this makes buying club fees a really good deal.

    Look for a buying club in your area that offers large selection of products and brands so you can buy most of your stuff at a discount.

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