You might not want to spend a lot of money furnishing a den or a guest room. Once you buy a good bed or pull-out sofa, consider unfinished or secondhand furniture for the other pieces. Unfinished furniture has come a long way. But, like other furniture, some is of better quality than others. This means they are constructed well and well designed. For example, if Shaker style is appealing to you, you can find some very nice, ready-to-finish furniture with these classic straight lines. If a formal or traditional room is more to your liking, you’ll find period furniture as well in every price range. When painted, stained or faux finished, this furniture can be quite outstanding for a fraction of what a finished piece might cost. If you go this route for the basic hard pieces such as a dresser, end tables, a coffee table, a wall storage unit, an entertainment center, a chair or an armoire, you can fill in with interesting finds along the way. Introducing a few good pieces will elevate the painted furniture for an interesting eclectic look.
Inexpensive wicker furniture is widely available in places like Pier 1 Imports and discount stores. It’s great for an extra room because it’s light and movable. It can also do double duty. For example, two wicker chairs with seat cushions, a coffee table and end tables will look just as good in a bedroom, a den or a porch. A wicker trunk can be outfitted with a glass top and serve as a coffee or end table, and it’s perfect for storage if space is tight. It’s also easy to spray paint wicker in a color of your choice.
Cardboard dressers, used primarily for storing off-season clothes and not meant for everyday use, can be terrific for a guest room. Modular cubes made of particle board can be painted, covered with contact paper, wallpaper or fabric, and arranged to hold sweaters, shoes and small items. The top becomes a surface on which to place a lamp, clock and other incidentals. Two cubes, one on top of the other, on each side of the bed create a comfortable height for night tables. You’ll find them in home centers and discount catalogs.
Director’s chairs with brightly colored canvas seats to match the room decor solve a space problem. They are comfortable and can easily be folded away when not needed. Perhaps this is why, after all these years, they are still so popular.
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