A few years ago, when I was a bachelor, we never thought about buying furniture/furnishings for the shared spaces we used to live in. Flimsy bed sheets would replace window curtains kept intact by clothespins. A few bean bags made it to the house as a luxury product. Since getting married, a few (read a lot)things changed. Furnishing our rented home in Chennai was something we both (read she)liked. However, I had to find a way to furnish my rented space without draining too much of my savings. So I set out on a mission to find: How to furnish my entire home for less than ₹ 25,000.
I shopped furniture websites and realized that I would have to spend at least ₹ 100,000 to get just the basic furniture pieces. This was not my budget and so I took an alternate path through clearance sales at various furniture stores, getting gently used furniture, grabbing last piece deals — and I saved a lot of money. Here’s how.
THE LIVING ROOM
I was looking at sofas in and around Royapettah, which is considered Chennai’s furniture hub. The quality was good, but not so much the cost I was looking to pay. Decent sofas started only by the price range of ₹ 20,000 in pepperfry. Urban Ladder was a tad too costly and even though we liked a few models, we were not sure if we needed that much spent on a rented house. In fact, the price of certain sofas from sellers like GODREJ was cheaper than the rates on pepperfry and I could get it faster. The other concern about online purchases was the lead time and quality. The sheer number of complaints on the consumer complaint website on pepperfry did not increase the trust on online retailers. In case there was transit damage, I had to look at an extended delivery time and also haggle with their complicated return policies.
Incidentally, I also scanned OLX, Quikr for furniture specifically. After spending some time, I found a good three Seater sofa for ₹ 6,000. I liked the product instantly. I looked at the seller’s profile and noticed that I had been quick to respond to her after her post. I negotiated the price with her and we agreed at ₹ 5,000. This was a well cushioned comfortable three Seater sofa and I shared the images of the sofa with my wife instantly. We too liked it and committed to buying the sofa instantly.
Sofas on sale in retail & e-retail stores: ₹ 20,000
Sofa I bought: ₹ 5,000
Condition: Gently used for 2 months
Total Savings: ₹ 14,000
What I learned: I found that the seller was moving out of the country and was supposedly in a hurry to sell. We also got a great Samsung fridge for a throwaway price. You need to look out for sellers who are a bit desperate to sell their items and make a quick ROI on their depreciating assets! More Buyers = More Time = More Conversations= More Headache.
I had been visiting the Home Centre store located in Chennai Citi Centre, Triplicane. I was not very happy with the coffee tables on display at various stores. Either they were imported and cheap. Or they were nice and pricey. The online stores promised variety but were priced high for my liking.
I found a good deal on a LAST PIECE product and it was marked down from ₹ 3,000 to ₹ 2,000. Yay! Savings. You get the best-finished products for the best price on last pieces in the store.
The cost of Coffee Table in retail & e-retail stores: ₹ 6,000 (onwards)
Coffee Table I bought: ₹ 2,000
Total Savings: ₹ 4,000
What I learned: When you visit these higher end stores, always buy a small product from them (even less than ₹ 100). This gets you onto their customer database. They will automatically keep messaging you about deals and offers whenever there is one. One more interesting fact that I found out was that Home Centre store in Chennai Citi Centre (Triplicane) has a lot of discounted products on offer than Home Centre store in Alwarpet.
Dining Table Sets
There were a lot of good dining sets around all the stores. In general, the collection across all stores in Chennai for dining tables is better compared to other categories. There was a heavy discounted sale that was happening at Home Centre store in lieu of the higher footfalls they anticipated for Baahubali 2. Since I had bought the coffee table the earlier week, I was informed of the sale on SMS and also given a loyalty coupon which I redeemed on top of the offer.
We got a good drop-leaf dining table that was space saving, high on discount and suiting our preferences.
The cost of Dining Table in retail & e-retail stores: ₹ 20,000 (onwards)
Dining Table I bought: ₹ 10,000
Total Savings: ₹ 10,000
What I learned: If you are buying solid wood furniture, make sure you can verify the wood quality and origin. There are too many stores selling ‘Teak Furniture’ made out of ordinary country wood.
We visited Kapoor’s Furnishing & MA Jacob’s Furnishing and found that the cost of curtains and rods exceeded ₹ 15,000. We came out disappointed and we thought we would visit a few more stores. However, since we were in flats, we could not afford to keep our windows without curtains as the interiors were visible without them.
Incidentally, during our visit to SPAR hypermarket (FORUM Mall, Vadapalani) in Chennai, we found good quality curtains for just ₹ 400. We happily bought 4 of them and fixed them to pretty nice looking aluminum rods that we got from the nearest hardware store! ( you can see the curtains in the previous picture of the dining table).
The cost of Curtains (x4) in retail & e-retail stores: 4000 (onwards) x 4 =
Cots (x4) I bought: ₹ 2,000
Total Savings: ₹ 14,000
What I learned: You could buy really nice curtains from branded stores like SPAR for a throwaway price. However, their other range of furniture were costly.
Beds & Mattresses
Since the floor space area in both the master bedroom and guest bedroom in our house is not too high, we were on the prowl for a bed that would be compact, easy to lift and affordable. OLX came to my help once again, where there were two designer SS cots offered for a throwaway price of just ₹ 2,000 per piece. I could not believe my luck and I used LYNK trucks (Truck Aggregator company in Chennai) to pick the cots immediately on the same day. We had our own mattresses that we used with the cots.
I would have preferred to buy new cots and mattresses, but the size of the bed needed to be of the size — 6 feet X 4 feet. Either I had to custom make the cots or I needed to buy used furniture. OLX came to my rescue.
The cost of Cots (x2) in retail & e-retail stores: 20,000 (onwards) x 2 = ₹ 40,000
Cots (x2) I bought: ₹ 5,000 (Including transport and labor costs)
Total Savings: ₹ 35,000
Bottom Line: It took some legwork and a lot of sale hunting, but I ended up saving around ₹ 75,000 for an entire house full of furniture. Considering on what I was planning on spending, I had saved ₹ 75,000 (or enough money to pay my rent for nearly four months)!