Moving into your first home is a liberating experience and certainly a rite of passage. After living in cramped dorms, apartments and rentals, it’s time to come up with a plan to turn your new, empty shell of a house into a cozy home by adding personal style with furniture and decor. If you’re looking to create a dwelling that feels more sophisticated than your previous living quarters, here are six tips to keep in mind when furnishing your first home.
1. Be patient with the process
Before diving into the interior design process, you may want to consider some preliminary planning. If you’re on a budget, think about how much you can afford to spend on furnishings and homewares, and what aspects you want to prioritize.
New homeowners often rush to fill their living spaces immediately after purchase. While it can be tempting to buy every rug, painting and throw pillow you see, it’s important to live in your home for a while so you can understand the space before gradually furnishing it and adding color. Take your time when making interior design choices and permanent decisions for your new home.
2. Start with the walls
Enliven and enrich your first abode with color. Adding a fresh coat of paint to your walls is an inexpensive way to instantly transform a living space — it’ll give you the most bang for your buck. Warm colors, such as reds, browns, yellows and beige’s, have a stimulating effect. Cooler hues, including blues, greens and grays, tend to have a more tranquil effect. If you prefer all-white walls, consider layering soft neutrals and cream hues to enhance a space in a more subtle way.
Want to venture beyond your comfort zone? Coat an accent wall with a deep purple, rich red or blue-green hybrid shade. Or, paint the front door an unexpected color. You can buy paint samples and swatch different colors on your walls to see what feels right. Consider what vibe you want each space to exude before you start coating the walls, and be sure to paint before moving any furniture or boxes into your space.
3. Invest in the essentials
Furnishing your home with quality and functional pieces, such as mattresses, artworks, tables, sofas and armchairs, are a good investment, especially when you can take them with to your next residence. If you’re looking to save money, you can find reasonably priced antique and vintage pieces, such as coffee tables and chairs, for a steal at flea markets, estate sales, charity shops and online. Vintage pieces can still add character while being easy on your wallet.
4. Lay a foundation with rugs
Area rugs are decorative statements that can add both texture and personality to a room. You can even pull out a color palette from a shade in the rug, which can help you choose the rest of the elements in the space. These big, functional pieces can also help fill a large room and protect your floors. If you’re on a budget, opt for synthetic fibers rather than wool.
5. Upgrade your lighting
Are the light fixtures in your kitchen or bathroom looking a little lackluster? Go for a glam look by incorporating shiny brass hardware, stunning chandeliers or pretty pendants. Swapping out your existing light fixtures with new ones can be a simple way to add character and style in small doses. They’re also easy to swap back when it comes time for you to move.
6. Don’t ignore the floors
You gave your walls a face-lift, but what about the flooring? Carpeting or flooring can have a major impact on the appearance of a room and the color of the walls. It also acts as a base for the rest of your decor. Refinishing dull hardwood flooring in a living room — a high-traffic area — can give the space an updated and sleek look whereas incorporating carpeting can make the atmosphere cozier.
There are endless possibilities for how you can personalize your new safe haven, which can seem a little nerve-racking for homeowners. By keeping these simple tips in mind, furnishing your living spaces can be a positive and rewarding experience.
Author bio: Shelley Alexanian is spokesperson for Alexanian, one of Canada’s most successful and versatile full-service flooring and window covering businesses. With several years of industry experience, Shelley is skilled at creating beautiful designs under a variety of budgets — she believes design is at the heart of everything.