New American Funding Blog

Decorating Your First Home

By Courtney Lynch   |  April 14, 2015

Know how to stay on budget when decorating your first home.

When you move into your first new home, decorating the space can be slightly intimidating. You are likely beginning with a relatively blank slate. Your first house can be especially difficult because the transition to a larger space may leave you feeling like your residence is a little empty. In addition, you are probably working with a very strict budget. Saving for a down payment and committing to a mortgage requires quite a bit of an investment. Luckily, there are ways that you can still achieve a stylish design while keeping expenses lower.

Get Rid of Unneeded Items

Before you begin decorating, take a look at all of your current belongings and furniture. If you have a number of items that no longer fit your lifestyle or you do not have a need for, consider selling them on Craigslist or hold a garage sale. This is a great way to make a little extra money to put toward decorating your new home.

HGTV recommended trying to get rid of 25 to 50 percent of your personal items. Any furniture, appliances or other items that are broken or insufficient should be sold, given away or thrown out.

Establish a Budget

One of the most important steps of decorating your new home is setting a budget. Decide how much money you are willing to spend. Remember that you do not have to decorate your entire house in one fell swoop. You can focus on one or two projects initially. This can help you establish a comfortable budget. Decide which rooms you would like to invest in first and determine your budget from there. 

HGTV noted that when you decide on your budget, you should look at your expenses and guaranteed income. Do not be afraid to put off a project and save money over time to put toward completing a project in the future. Make sure that whatever money you ultimately put toward decorating a space does not make you feel guilty.

It is also important to know what you want. Think about all the things you want to achieve while bearing in mind your own style when you decorate your home and organize it into a list. Also include necessary repairs and any renovations. After you have completed it, take a look at what you can realistically incorporate into your home. This can help you decide on a budget as well. 

Determining associated expenses

After making your list and deciding what design projects you can currently take on, prioritize all design elements. Separate the items necessary for the decorating you can invest in at this point in time and make a detailed list that includes all associated expenses. For example, if you want to paint your living room a specific shade, do not just include the cost of the paint - also consider the cost of brushes, tape and other materials, or even extra labor help you may need.

Adding additional cushion into your budget is also a good idea. In some instances, you might have to spend more money than you initially anticipated. Building that risk into your budget will help your financial situation.

Money-saving tricks for first-time homeowners

According to Apartment Therapy, buying furniture secondhand can help alleviate some of the costs associated with decorating a space. In addition to the advantage of saving money, this is also a particularly good option because the likelihood that your style and needs will change is relatively high. You may love a glass-top coffee table as a young adult but sticky-fingered kiddos may sway your opinion in the future. Also reach out to your friends and family. They may have furniture pieces that they are looking to get rid of. 

If you aren't in love with the finish of more affordable or gifted pieces, remember that you can always stain furniture, re-upholster or paint anything you are not crazy about. This gives you the opportunity to get innovative and create unique pieces for your new home.

Houzz noted that in some instances it is perfectly fine to splurge on certain items. For example, a good sofa may be a worthwhile investment because you know it will get a great deal of use and stay in your home for a long time.

Know Where to Shop

Southern Living noted that knowing where to do your shopping can help you stay on track with your budget. Check out antiques and consignment shops, state sales and garage sales for good deals. Also, consider looking at Craigslist or eBay to save money. 

If you are looking for furniture or decorating pieces at a thrift store or similar venue, keep an open mind. Remember that you can transform a piece with paint, stain or even wallpaper. 

Accurate Measurements

Making sure that you have an indisputably accurate measurement is crucial when decorating. Houzz recommended taking a measurement of everything. Write down the dimensions of your rooms and even doorways and take your measuring tape to the store as well. 

This will help ensure that everything fits in your new home and works well in the environment.

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