We are making progress!
On of the toughest things to do when you have to merchandise or stage a home quickly is find the right furniture for the space. I don't like to stock furniture because then you end up putting things that just aren't quite right into a space because you have them. Lucky for me, there is an IKEA in the area so after having no luck even with being able to rent and make budget for this client, I decided to see what I could find online. IKEA is truly a lifestyle, and as a Lifestylist® I know this is a great resource for designing homes with lots of personality.
In the last few years, the IKEA website has become very user friendly. It's well organized, easy to find what you are looking for by room, and they also have great inspiration photos which can be a huge help. A new to me feature is the Shopping List. You can add an item in your shopping list and by doing so and entering which store you'll be picking up at the site will then prepare a list that not only has a photo and cost of the item, it will also tell you specifically where in the store that item will be! If you have ever been in an IKEA store you know that because of the size of the stores and all of the great room vignettes it can easily take you an entire day to shop. But you'll never go hungry -they all have a great cafe that is as reasonably priced as their furniture in them and also a take out area if you are eating on the run.
With the help of the website I was able to make out a very detailed plan for each home and know exactly where I would find it and if it was in stock. When I arrived at the store I was able to pull everything and get it to the delivery window in 2 hours so I was thrilled! I think that was a record for me but I stayed focused and only bought what I knew I needed. When you are working on XTreme Homes with XTreme budgets the key is to only buy what you know you need or your budget can go off target in one shopping trip.
For you all not used to the IKEA experience - be warned - their great pricing comes at a cost. Most of their merchandise is "Flat box" which means it is designed to take up the minimum amount of space when it is being shipped. After you purchase the item most of it will have to be assembled, even the sofas so keep that in mind if you aren't especially great with a screwdriver. They do have outside companies you can contact to put your items together though but this would drive up your costs. The other thing is that you are literally shopping in a warehouse, and you have to pull the merchandise from the shelves and bring it up to the check out lines. This may not be a problem if you are only buying a wicker chair, but if you are buying houses of furniture be sure to bring help and a truck to take it home in. I used their delivery service but didn't have a great experience so I'd only use this as a last resort.
Everything got delivered yesterday, they are finishing up the houses today and hopefully I get to start making them look like home tomorrow! Can't wait to see how they end up.