Friday, October 17, 2008

How I Saved $2,000 by Being Creative and What Else Did I Discover

The before and after pictures of my latest experiment are attached but there was so much more to the process.

The straw that broke this camel's back was a cream "oven painted" M.D.F bed and dresser priced at a whopping $2,400. We've been looking for a new bedroom for quite some time now but haven't really been able to find anything that suited our taste and was reasonably priced.

We've been looking for a relatively specific design and color which apparently are quite hard to find. Upon returning, yet again, to a couple of pricy "designer" furniture stores we finally stumbled on something minimal and acceptable in our eyes. Naturally it was priced like it was the last bedroom on earth.

I usually don’t mind paying a bit extra for quality and design. I have shared my view of frugality (or the extreme version of it) here at TPF (The Personal Financier) more than once and am usually far from being frugal (for good and bad). However, this time I was really upset by the obvious lack of value for money. A good design merits higher prices but proportionality is also very important. $2,400 for an M.D.F bed and dresser was a tad too much.

After a very short negotiation the sales person was willing to lower the price by $300. Needless to say that wasn't enough. On the way back the muse hit me on the head with a hammer. We had some time off this past week. Why not put it to good use with some old fashioned manual labor? There's nothing really wrong with the bed we have. Why not try and suit it to our needs?

If you've been reading TPF for a while now you must have read my post on Doing It Yourself Doesn't Always Pay - A Short Lesson Learned Yet Again. Well, apparently I had forgotten the lesson yet again and had set out on a quest to paint our bed myself.

I boldly marched into a hardware store and spent $70 on paint and supplies. If this works, I thought to myself, I just saved close to $2,000.

And much to my surprise it actually worked. I couldn't believe my eyes; the bed we've been looking for has been under our nose this entire time. It's potential waiting to be revealed. All it took was one coat of primer, a 15 hour wait, two coats of paint and one night spent sleeping on the floor. An adventure if you will.

There's something deeper to this whole experience aside to saving money, which is always great. It appears I've missed manual labor (a bit). There's something about creating, transforming and building that is important to the human soul. Papers and computers don't simply fail to fill that gap.

It's really amazing how our consciousness if molded by what we do. Being able to perform a very simple thing like painting a bed really altered the way I look at things. Maybe I don't need a new dining table after all?

As for the argument on the cost of lost or spent time for this effort see my post on Outsourcing Our Chores - Do We Overvalue Our Spare Time? There's isn't really a price for every spare hour we have. Even if there is I still think $2,000 is a pretty good price for two days work.


Frugalchick said...

You did a good paint job! What's more impressive is you only spent $70 vs $2,000. Now you got me looking around my house for things I can paint.

Free Music said...

well this is nice stuff

Dawn said...

Interesting read - especially since I am considering building my own platform bed! Your paint job came out great!

Frugal Canadian Living said...

This bed looks amazing. Very Ikea like.

DanaDoesDesign said...

Your bed looks EXACTLY like the MALM bed from IKEA, which I have been sleeping on for 4 years. We have the full size and I think we paid $129 for it. We also have the matching low bedside tables.

Modern bedroom heaven.

Very nice job though. :)

Dorian Wales said...

Thank you all for your comments. It's been great fun really. The only thing we didn't account for was the paint smell that is still hanging in our bedroom.

Thank you for your comments. The guy at the hardware store who gave me these great tips really deserves them.

@danadoesdesign - I think it is actually the same bed. My wife bought it 3 years ago. It really came out nicely.

amgine said...

No howto on how to paint a bed frame correctly? Tools?

louise said...

it looks really good! (put some vanilla in a saucer in the room to get rid of the paint smell)

Mr. (not) the Jet Set said...

Very nice! Do you do houses?