Whether you have just moved into a one bedroom apartment in Ruaka, or are making a few upgrades to your townhouse in Kitengela, the fact that furnishing a home in Nairobi can be very expensive is an open secret.
From buying sofas, to bedroom furniture, to curtains, one can easily understand why the costs can add up rather quickly - and that’s not to mention the cost of all the little décor pieces such as custom lampstands, throw pillows etc. that give any home that x-factor.
Furnishing your Nairobi apartment space doesn’t have to be a headache-inducing, account-emptying experience. It can be a generally painless, even sometimes enjoyable process if done correctly, with a little research.
Let’s see how one can secure decent bargains when it comes to decorating your house in Nairobi on a budget.
As with most things in life that require any kind of budget, a list of items – preferably in order of priority, is mandatory.
Making a list is one of the most crucial steps of the entire process. Thanks to the internet, you no longer have to estimate how much each piece will cost as you can easily look anything up online.
Having a list helps break up the purchasing into phases or stages in order of priority. Having this baseline list also greatly helps one stay on track within a set budget
It is important to attach prices to all the items on the list, remembering to take notes or bookmark some of the websites and locations that stand out in terms of variety, quality and pricing.
In Nairobi’s Eastleigh area for example, curtains, curtain rods and sheers can be bought at affordable prices compared to other areas in the city.
For example, curtains and sheers start from Ksh400 per meter with curtain rods starting at Ksh550 in some of the shops in the area.
A key reason why most people go over budget when it comes to home décor is the animal we call last-minute dash.
Timing is everything when it comes to shopping for house furniture in Nairobi. Opting to buy a sofa on let’s say Tuesday as opposed to a Sunday could cost significantly more – probably thousands more, simply due to the difference in vehicle traffic.
This is where advance planning comes in.
You could set a particular Sunday as the preferred date when it comes to purchasing items that can only be attained at an affordable price in high traffic areas.
For example, Curtains in Eastleigh, plastics such as cloth bins, basins and dish racks in Kamukunji as well as throw-pillows in Gikomba.
The aforementioned areas offer some of the best bargains when it comes to these particular items in the Kenyan capital.
However, navigating to these areas on a weekday is a hard task even for the ‘city veterans’. Which makes advance planning for a suitable day and time even more important.
Coincidentally, November is one of the months in which crazy sales come along all across the world, and it is no different in Nairobi.
Approaching annual sales as an ideal time to buy items that are already on your lists is a more intentional and practical way to go about the process.
And the ideal time of year to shop for specific pieces is actually more of a science than it may seem.
Looking for outdoor furniture? It’s recommended to snag that during the rainy season when the weather begins to turn. This can often lead you to a really good deal in the long run.
The secret lies in buying things when they are out of season. Just as you can land killer Airbnb bargains during off-peak season, so can you bag furniture for cheap at certain times of the year.
This is more about working in stages to align with just how much disposable income you have to spend on home décor.
Turning your studio apartment in Kasarani into a cozy home is a marathon, not a sprint. Pace yourself.
It always helps to remember that buying that carpet is not a life or death situation. You can live (and yes, even entertain guests) in a space that isn’t fully complete.
In the grand scheme of things, a room that’s slowly and thoughtfully decorated is going to feel much more like a reflection of you, than one that was pulled together in a few weeks.
Good things come to those who wait.
Now this is where some of the craziest savings can be made, depending on how patient you are.
Any type of item one would need to turn a house into a home can be found in this particular market, at ridiculous prices.
From beds of all sizes, sofas, refrigerators, TV sets, carpets, microwaves, cabinets, you name it and there’s a second hand retailer in Nairobi who has it on sale.
Contrary to popular belief, a good percentage of these items are in mint condition.
Think of it this way, many of the original owners of these items were forced to sell them due to financial needs or upgrades and not necessarily due to wear and tear.
A good place to start when it comes to household electronics is those loan-for-item shops strewn out across the city.
A barely used 45 inch flat screen TV was recently put up for sale on Facebook by one of these shops, tagging it for a price of just Ksh20,000.
There are countless other similarly priced items on sale at such shops, where the owner (money lender) is just legally looking to recoup his/her money.
One can also find physical shops across the city where second hand household items are put on sale at decent bargains.
Shopping second hand also allows you to find unique pieces that could assist in giving your space a distinct look.
The design of your home is meant to be a reflection of you, your ideas and your likes and the things that inspire you.
All in all, you just need to make a plan, go with your gut, and get creative. You need to trust that your space will come together over time, and try to have fun in the process.