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When to Purchase the Furnishings & Fixtures for Your New Room

Photo by Brooke Lark

Here's a question I wish I were asked more often, "When should I buy...?"

  • When should I buy the appliances for my new kitchen?
  • When should I buy the shower fixtures for the bathroom I'm remodeling?
  • When should I buy the paint for the bedroom I'm renovating?

Clients, colleagues, and friends ask me what to buy for the spaces they're designing all the time. And that's fun.

I'm rarely asked when, though.

Timing matters in design and construction. Getting it right will improve the look of your room, speed up your remodel, and save you money.

So here's my When-to-Buy Checklist for Interior Design Projects:

(I'm a big fan of checklists.)

  1. Buy after you have finalized your space plan and budget. Because you can't shop smart if you don't know what you need and how much you have to spend.
  2. Buy high-ticket items before less expensive ones. It's the old 80-20 rule. You'll spend 80% of your budget on 20% of your furnishings and fixtures. Choose the 20% first.
  3. Buy things you can't customize before bespoke items. Because you can order bespoke cabinets and furniture to fit around fixed items like appliances.
  4. Buy fixtures in the same order your contractor will install them. Because you want your builder to have the materials she needs to keep the job moving forward.

Oh, and back to the beginning of this blog post:

  • When should I buy the appliances for my new kitchen? Purchase your appliances first. Cabinets can be resized. Have you ever heard of someone cutting down their refrigerator?
  • When should I buy the shower fixtures for the bathroom I'm remodeling? Again, buy them first. Your builder can't close up your walls or install tile without the shower valves that go inside the walls.
  • When should I buy the paint for the bedroom I'm renovating? Buy paint, an endlessly flexible and easy to buy product, a week or so before you plan to put it up, and always, always, test the color on your walls.

She didn't know it, but Jackie Lopey's days as an advertising executive were numbered when she bought and renovated a 1950's bungalow. She soon went back to school and started her own design studio. Jackie is an award-winning, certified interior designer and the founder of Wide Canvas.

Connect with Jackie by emailing

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