The One Thing You Should Always Do Before Making Any Big Purchase

How I decided on the perfect couch.
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I would call myself a decisive person; I know what I like and if I'm willing to spend my money on something pretty much at first glance. Yet the older I've gotten, the less selective I've become, both because the paradox of choice is real from the endless options for everything on the internet, but also because I'm trying to avoid making frivolous purchases. Instead, I'm investing in better quality, higher-end, and more expensive items. The most recent example? Justin and I recently upgraded our couch.

When we left New York a little over two years ago, we sold all of our furniture and opted to start fresh in our new space. It happened to coincide with Black Friday, which meant nearly everything was on sale—and through the craze, we didn't make the smartest choices. Our couch, while comfortable, was an eyesore, and after two years (the amount of time I felt was merited to keep it based on the very good deal we got), we opted for a new one.

We toyed around with the idea of one of the classics: anything leather (a no-go with a cat), something cream and versatile (a no-go for people who love eating on the couch), or a traditional sofa (a no-go for a boy taller than six feet). But we were both drawn towards this velvet "cinnamon" couch – confusing as it didn't feel timeless or simple. But before pulling the trigger, I did something to ensure it would be worth the price tag: I created an extensive Pinterest board, proving that the investment piece could be reinvented or styled multiple ways.

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After a few days, I'd compiled quite a few variations and different paths we could take, which not only solidified our decision to purchase a couch in such a risky color, but helped us realize that there were common design elements in most of the inspiration: A light rug (mainly cream with black accents) as a grounding piece, lots of greenery (which accented the orange well), and pops of deep navy, emerald, and wood. We were so confident in the purchase, we also bought the rug the same day.

Seeing how adaptable the piece could be made the decision a no-brainer. Once I realized that our style and taste could change but we could continue to transition the couch into a new setting, I knew it was worth the cost. And if we eventually fall out of love with the color? That's what reupholstering is for.

It's been about a month, and I'm still madly in love with the couch we wound up going with (will tell you more in my house tour, coming soon!) and now the only remaining decisions are accessory-based, which feel less intense and binding. I'm planning on using this method with other significant purchases, like my wedding dress (we're creating a board, not to see if I can wear it again but to ensure that I really love it, and it's worth the cost) or even our first home, as it was more helpful than I could have imagined to have a clear vision of what we do (and don't!) want when we're investing in something substantial.