Buying your first home can be riddled with emotions spanning from excitement to anxiety. Buying a fixer upper comes with a certain amount of uncertainty whether you are doing it with family and friends or hiring a contractor.
To tackle a lot of the uncertainty it is important to have a plan.
Here are five straightforward tips to decorating your first home.
- Plan Plan and then Plan some more.
Planning the design of your first home must begin before you move in and your decisions should complement your lifestyle. Today, it is so easy to get swept away in pinterest, instagram, design blogs, HGTV and you run the risk of designing a home that isn’t a reflection of you. Just because a certain look is trending it may not work for you and your lifestyle. Also, don’t think because the house has a current look that you can’t change it. Consider what you want to change and then decide if it is feasible.
- Is the change structural?
- How much will the modifications cost?
- Who will do the work and how long will it take and can it be done before or after you move in.
Tackling an entire home redesign without professional help can be daunting. You may only realize this the moment you step in to a paint store and are presented with thousands of colour options; who knew there were so many variations of white? Also choosing the right furniture for your rooms can be tricky. Everything looks much smaller in a showroom. Bring a tape measure, know the measurements of the spaces you are decorating. Perhaps that L-shaped sectional in the furniture showroom won’t look so good in your living room because it doesn’t fit!
Don’t rush the planning stage. I cannot stress this enough. Use a site like Pinterest to really narrow down your style. You will see after a dozen or so pins that you gravitate towards a certain style. Create a concrete image of what you need to work on. This will save you a lot of time later. Create a ‘to do list’ that shows completion dates, who will work on what, the cost… AND sequence the work so you don’t run out of time and money.
2. Commit to your budget.
This is where many first time homeowners go wrong. Take the time to really understand your budget and be realistic. I am not saying this to be a downer but all to often I see first time homeowners start out with so much enthusiasm only to be disappointed when all their expectations do not come true. Know where to invest your money and where to save. Appliances, beds and sofas can set you back a bit but these are key pieces in a space and they can last you years. Also be smart about where and what to buy. There are so many great second hand options out there that will save your pocket book and bring that curated look to your space in the way of one of a kind unique pieces. A second hand dresser from an antique store in your master bedroom will add so much more to your design rather than walking into a big box store and swiping your CC for a matching bedroom suite.
3. Research and be Resourceful
Yes we have design rules that we should follow but don’t allow them to restrict you. I always say use them as a guide and still express yourself through your design choices. Again, take photos of your space, take measurements, start a design journal and always have it with you so when you do come across a piece of furniture you can be certain that it will work in the space. This cuts down on buyer’s remorse as well as wasteful spending.
4. Making Choices
There are so many choices when designing your first home that it can feel overwhelming. Understand what you have to work with, what you refuse to part with, and what needs to go. You may have to cull certain items as they just won’t fit or work with your ideas for the space.
When decorating your new home, highlight the features that made you fall in love with your home. Perhaps it’s the grand windows in the living room with a stunning view. Then you may not want to cover those windows with heavy window treatments, perhaps you will want to arrange the furniture so you can take in the wonderful vistas. That might mean that your current sectional won’t work. I always suggest selling it and buying something that will work. Don’t fight with a space or a certain piece. There’s always a solution. Purchase the bigger pieces first and leave the decor for later. Don’t be afraid to mix and match, you don’t have to buy sets. Actually we recommend that you don’t! Remember don’t overcrowd the space with stuff. The eye needs room to rest. Every room should have a focal point, the dining table, the bed, a fireplace, etc. Work with the focal point to create visual interest. This will also help to detract from elements in the room that are less attractive.
5. Get to it!
Remember Rome wasn’t built in a day. Have patience. Be realistic about your timeline. I always suggest prioritizing the spaces to tackle first. Also complete a space before moving onto the next. This will help eliminate burn out and decision fatigue.
And remember to celebrate the small wins. This is an exciting milestone in your life that will lead to more adventures so enjoy the process. If you feel stuck, I’m here to help!