Updated: Mar 31, 2019
Purchasing your first house is an exciting time. There are endless possibilities for how you can personalize your space and make it your own, but it also might be a little nerve-racking deciding where you should start.
Luckily, we’ve put together a list to put your anxieties to rest. We reached out to expert interior designers to get their insight on furnishing your first house. Read on for their tips!
The Bare Necessities
Before you add any items to your online shopping cart or start pinning design inspirations to your Pinterest board, take a moment to establish a budget for new home furnishings. Remember: You just moved in to your first home. There’s no pressure to have a fully-furnished home straight from the get-go.
First make a list of furniture necessities, suggests Elizabeth Dodson, co-founder of HomeZada. “[A] bed, a table with chairs and maybe one sofa … allows you to entertain, share a meal and get some sleep,” she explains.
After living in your home for some time, you’ll start to realize what things you actually need versus want. Ashley Marino, the owner of Ashley Marino Designs, advises decorating one room at a time, prioritizing your purchases based on where you spend the most time in your home. We’ll talk more about that next.
Prioritize High-Traffic Areas
If you’re in the market to buy new furniture, Marino suggests to focus your efforts on the areas in your house that get the most use. Then, prioritize furnishing these areas before the other rooms in your home.
“Do you love snuggling on the couch while watching Netflix, or are you a host who loves to have dinner parties? Prioritize the areas that you’ll be in most when it comes to purchasing furniture,” Marino suggests.
By prioritizing the rooms you know you’ll get the most use out of, you can spread out your trips to the furniture store, give your budget a break and take your time.
Spencer Chambers, owner of The Chambers Organization, recommends you “keep things basic in the beginning, if necessary” asserting that “making the home livable at first,” is prioritized over styling and decorating.
Refurbish, Repurpose, Recycle
You’ll soon find that the funds to furnish your first home is one of the hidden costs of homeownership. And while you might be in the market to buy some key pieces of furniture (a bed, a dining room set, a couch), other pieces may come at a pretty penny.
If you find that you have a tight budget when it comes to home furnishings, Chambers suggests reaching out to family and friends to see if they’re looking to get rid of any extra furniture. This route is ideal, because even if they’re looking to sell the furniture, you might still be able to get it at a bargain.
Additionally, any Pinterest or DIY website will tell you that refurbishing old or outdated furniture is in. Marino suggests this as a more affordable option.
If you’re in the market to buy home furnishings, there are places for affordable home décor that will help get you started
Make Sure It Measures Up
Before you begin seriously styling your space, make sure you account for the amount of room you have to work with in each area of your home.
“Looks can be deceiving in a showroom, and that chair or sofa may take up much more room in your home than you think,” warns Pam Faulkner of Faulkner House Interior Redesign.
Faulkner says to consider the architecture of each room, accounting for the size, the placement of doors, window and walls, and to consider how high the ceiling is. This “will determine how the furniture, lighting and wall décor may be used and placed.”
To prepare yourself, Faulkner advises having a floor plan with exact measurements and location of outlets, floor and wall vents, plus the height, width and length of doors, doorways, halls and stairways. To make this process easier, there are apps for just that.
Establish Your Style
Your personal style essentially reflects who you are. Are you an outdoorsy nature lover? Are you a polished perfectionist? Or more minimalist and intentional? Think of the attributes that represent who you are and translate them into furniture. After all, you’re the person who’ll be spending the most time in your home, so make sure it’s something that you’ll enjoy aesthetically and functionally.
However, if you don’t know how to find your style, the best way to start, according to Maria Stone, professional organizer, and décor and Feng Shui specialist at I-Deal Lifestyle, is to do your research. “It could be a mixture of styles, a more eclectic look, or it could be traditional, contemporary, modern or vintage,” Stone explains.
You can also utilize online platforms like Pinterest that help you build a board of home decorating and design ideas. When you figure out what home décor items best represent your style, you’ll be better equipped to add your personal touch to your new home.