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Consumers seek frugal upgrades to their homes

Tuesday, March 27, 2012 - 02:12

March 27 - In post-recession America, consumers are turning to not-so-extreme makeovers, opting for low-cost alternatives to freshen up their homes. Jeanne Yurman reports.

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TV AND WEB RESTRICTIONS~**MUST COURTESY SONY PICTURES TELEVISION FOR NATE BERKUS VIDEO CLIP** PLEASE NOTE: THIS EDIT CONTAINS CONVERTED 4:3 MATERIAL Nathan Hescock owns a used furniture business called Furnish Green in Manhattan. It went from one tiny room...to this in a few short years. SOUNDBITE: NATHAN HESCOCK, OWNER, FURNISH GREEN SAYING (ENGLISH): "We're sort of answering what the consumers want. You know we're kind of listening and then we're trying to provide it. And every month it just seems to be getting bigger and bigger." Furnish Green is faring better than many businesses in the home furnishings sector. Tied to the housing market, sales of things like furniture, rugs and lamps have suffered along with anemic home sales and pricing. American Express Business Insights, for example, says customer spending on home furnishings was down almost 11% in their latest quarterly report. Yet despite meager gains for real estate values and wages, consumers are still anxious to upgrade their homes. So the growing post recession trend is not just buying used, says Better Homes and Gardens Contributing Editor Elaine Griffin, it's overall doing more with less. SOUNDBITE: ELAINE GRIFFIN, CONTRIBUTING EDITOR, DESIGN; BETTER HOMES AND GARDENS MAGAZINE SAYING (ENGLISH): "Instead of spending money now people are spending time doing more research falling in love, learning more, educating themselves about everything, what it is, where literally before they would have gone out on a weekend and said let's get that chair." TV, the Internet, with sites like Apartment Therapy and Pinterest; and magazines are feeding the trend dishing out budget-friendly ideas. And Home Depot, the country's largest home improvement chain, is serving greater numbers of inspired do-it-yourselfers. REPORTER STAND-UP: JEANNE YURMAN (ENGLISH) SAYING: "A lot of the spending on home furnishings is done very judiciously and creatively. Paint, for instance, has become a consumers' best friend, transforming an old piece of furniture into something new." Recent data hints at a slow recovery for housing and thus, home furnishings, suggesting the do-more-with-less mindset may be around for a while. Jeanne Yurman, Reuters.

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Consumers seek frugal upgrades to their homes

Tuesday, March 27, 2012 - 02:12