Anyone trying to renovate their home, replace broken appliances or even buy a more comfortable couch to sit on while working remotely can testify to the fact that COVID has disrupted the global supply chain. Backlogs are common not just for basic building supplies like wood and insulation or appliances such as dishwashers and furnaces, but also for interior design goods. Wallpaper, furniture and lighting can also be subject to delays or shortages. With Brexit now taking effect, there are additional challenges for items coming through the UK and Europe.
As a busy Boston-area interior designer, I’ve been navigating this issue for months with my clients. With more people at home scrutinizing their surroundings and with extra time to dream about refreshing their space, the shortages are compounded by a spike in demand.
But there are workarounds. Whether you are trying to figure out how to buy that perfect sectional without waiting months or need to plan a bathroom renovation, here are three ideas that have helped me meet my clients’ interior design goals during the pandemic.
1. Consider used furniture
Whether it’s vintage, antique or just a few years old, there is plenty to choose from, often within a short drive of your home or a few clicks online.
I know this is not the solution for every need, but if you are looking for a loveseat, bench, casegoods or swivel chairs, look on Facebook marketplace. Items here can be reupholstered, painted, or incorporated into your scheme as-is. Of course, Chairish and 1st Dibs are highly searchable and curated, with a mix of new items, as well as vintage.
2. Buy what’s in stock
While it’s great to find the perfect item and be willing to wait six months for custom chairs, that may not be possible for an active family. The key is to find something in stock that is similar to the item — or maybe even better — than what you first considered. Or, if shopping online, sort by availability first, so as not to fall in love with something that is out of stock. This is true not just for furniture, but also for building supplies like tile. The good news: rugs are in stock. And vintage lighting too.
One client recently renovated a bathroom and we custom-designed a mosaic floor. The supplier had all of the tile colors except for one — yellow, which had to be imported from Europe — to create the mosaic. That one little glitch delayed the project for months, but the client wanted no substitute and of course it was worth the wait.
3. Buy services, not products
While furniture may be back ordered, there’s a good chance you can find a house painter to change the color of your walls while supporting the local economy. Paint is a relatively inexpensive change with immediate effects. This could also be a good time to work with an architect or interior designer to plan out the changes you want.
Overall, it’s not a bad time to redesign your home, especially if you’re in it as much as I am in mine. Home brings comfort, joy and shelter. It should be beautiful, practical and comfortable. In addition, it should reflect who you are and how you want to live. All of this is possible, even now.
Design by Cecilia Casagrande Interiors
Photography: Sean Litchfield