Whether you’re upsizing from an apartment or starting from scratch, furnishing a new house can be an intimidating experience. Whether you hire someone to help or you feel confident designing your new space yourself, you need to determine your budget before you get started. Sometimes when you’re only able to envision the bigger picture, it’s easy to get carried away and blow your budget on all the little things. If you focus too much on small details, however, you’ll lose sight of what you must have for a fully-functioning space. While there are many things to consider, here are five tips for furnishing your first house.
Find Ways to Cut Corners
When furnishing a new house, there’s always ways to cut corners. Think hand-me-down furniture, antique stores or even Goodwill. In addition to Craigslist and online classifieds, Home Advisor recommends checking college newspapers and apartment bulletin boards. Since these areas have high turnover, you may be able to find deals on furniture, décor, appliances and storage items.
Don’t spend thousands of dollars on brand new furniture that could go to other house bills and necessities. Shop smart.
Know That Pinterest Isn’t Always Budget Friendly
Designer home magazines and websites like Pinterest make envisioning what you want your home to look like really fun. There’s an endless array of colors, furniture pieces, design ideas, organizing tips etc. While it’s fun to dream of a fairytale house, it’s important to realize Pinterest isn’t always budget friendly.
Yes, there are brilliant ideas for saving money, redecorating on a budget and must-have checklists. However, it’s very tempting to try to replicate everything you see—which will likely cost you a lot of money. Try to limit the time spent browsing these websites to avoid going over your budget.
Recognize Your Style and Taste Will Change
Just as your style of clothing changes over time, decorative styles for your home will evolve as well. If you’re furnishing your first house, you might see trendy, to-die for pieces that make sense right now, but in 10 years you might despise the look.
Try to focus on pieces you know will never go out of style, such as dressers, nightstands, chairs and couches. Avoid buying expensive paintings, trendy mirrors or new light fixtures until you can really get a feel for a style you know you’ll love forever.
Be a Minimalist
Moving into a new space can be overwhelming—especially if you don’t have any furniture to bring with you. Like most people, you’ll probably feel the pressure to furnish the entire space from top to bottom within a few months of moving in. Ignore those feelings!
If there’s one area in your life it pays to be a minimalist, it’s furnishing your new home. Start with the rooms you’ll spend the most time; living room, master bedroom and kitchen. If you have guest rooms and no roommates, children or immediate guests—don’t rush to finish those rooms. Waiting to buy furniture may also help you score better deals. “The people working in a furniture store often work off of commission, or at the very least have sales quotas to meet,” according to Erin Huffstetler from the balance. “This means, if you catch them at the end of the month or the end of a quarter, they’ll be much more likely to help you out with the price, or to sweeten the deal with a freebie.”
Protect Your Investment
In your excitement to decorate and buy furniture, don’t forget to take the necessary steps to secure your home and protect your family and your valuables. Before you worry about your living room layout, install a wireless home security system. Unlike traditional alarm systems, you don’t have to pay a startup fee or monthly-maintenance fees, and you can pick and choose the components that will help you feel safe in your home.
“Providing the same security as a professional alarm setup for a fraction of the price, a wireless alarm system can be added to as you see fit,” according to experts at The Home Security Superstore. “Mix and match components allow you to secure the doors, windows, gates, and entryways you’re most concerned about and to change your system when you need.” An effective security system will make sure your new furniture stays in place and it will also help you and your family feel safe in your new neighborhood.
Now that you’ve done the unpacking and heavy lifting, it’s time to relax and enjoy your new home. The best thing about decorating is you can always add new items or come up with a new theme. With a little creativity, there’s no limit to what you can do with your new home.
Caroline Davis is a professional blogger, focused on business, culture and health. She uses her experience working in a startup environment to provide tips and advice for small businesses. She regularly writes for CarpeDaily.com in addition to other industry blogs.