It may seem a little premature to start talking about the January sales, but these days that phrase is a bit of a misnomer. The discounts seem to begin with the Christmas dinner’s crocks still in the dishwasher and the first round of turkey butties yet to be doled out.

You have to be quick to bag a Christmas bargain, but there’s little sense in spending on things you don’t need – even if you get everything at a fraction of its original price. That’s why now is a good time to start thinking about where to spend your efforts during that first wave of January sales.

No doubt you’ve got fashion bargains on the mind. However, the real savings are on home furnishings – particularly on textiles and larger items of furniture.

Things like beds, mattresses, sofas, dining room sets and coffee tables can set you back an awful lot of cash, but the January sales represent a rare opportunity to kit out your home for much less. Even those who are keen on second-hand furniture and textiles find the need to have a few new items in the house, just for a little peace of mind regarding provenance if nothing else.

New furniture and textiles also give you greater choice and this is important when it comes obtaining a sense of continuity in your décor.

Clearance furniture

Clearance furniture can save you a lot of money, but you can’t make decisions lightly. When you do shop for things like sofas, armchairs, beds, dining room furniture and the like, it’s imperative that you do so armed with an inventory of measurements.

It’s also important to exercise restraint with big items like these. The temptation is to grab a bargain, whatever the specs, but if the item doesn’t really suit in terms of style, texture, shape, size, features and the rest, then you’ve not really made a sensible purchase. Don’t compromise just because prices are low in January, but seize the moment when all the right specs show up.

Clearance textiles

There’s a little less pressure on decisions when it comes to textiles. You’re unlikely to make any crazy mistakes in the name of discount shopping, but you do still need to have your wits about you. Clearance rugs have to measure up properly, although you might be able to afford to make compromises here.

For instance, there are different ways you can use rugs in a given room. They can act as a complementary piece for a coffee table, or they can occupy the entire floor space as an easy carpet alternative. Then there are the various stages in between – sometimes furniture looks delightfully informal and stylish when it is placed half-on half-off the edges of a rug. Clearly there’s more flexibility with dimensions for rugs than there is for furniture.

You also benefit from choice with clearance rugs. Just because a style of rug has made it into the sales doesn’t mean that it’s out of fashion. After all, home furniture trends have much more staying power than, say, clothing trends. The same principles apply season after season and all you really need to do is concentrate on complementing your existing décor and keeping things tasteful.

You usually find that everything from contemporary rugs to traditional rugs, natural rugs to shaggy rugs, sheepskin rugs to synthetic rugs and plain rugs to multi-coloured rugs make it into the sales, purely because designers have new collections they want to get out into the world.