Buying a first home is so exciting and overwhelming all at the same time. Once you navigate your way through the complexities of the real estate process you then realize *gasp* that you actually have to decorate this new home. How on earth is that going to happen? The first thing to realize is that this is your new home. At this exciting time, friends and family will come from out of the woodwork to offer advice about design trends, rules and “what they would do” comments. As well intentioned as these people will be, designing anything by committee usually results in confusion and no action being taken at all. Surely, it will be difficult to ignore the helpful suggestions of others but ultimately you need to realize that this is your home and it needs to reflect your style because you live there. Many design rules were thrown out the window years ago and pretty much anything goes at this point. So really start to think about colors that make you happy and look for furniture you think is comfortable. You will be happy coming home to a home that really suits you.
Secondly, if possible, live in the house before you purchase furniture or make other big changes. Certainly, if the carpet is incredibly stained or the kitchen cabinets are junk then go ahead with the upgrades. You will find, however, that living in the home will provide you with much needed information about natural light and traffic patterns as well as the functionality of each room. This knowledge will prove invaluable when you do start buying new furniture and choosing paint colors.
If you can help it, do not throw anything away. You never know what will come in handy and where. That chair you were going to throw out might look great in the guest bedroom or in an office. You might also be surprised at what you can make work. Slipcovers can transform a sofa or chair and most wood surfaces can be painted. You just cannot predict what you will want to keep and it is better to throw things out later than to wish you hadn’t gotten rid of them. Make sure to consider your current lifestyle as well as your short-term plans. Maybe you do not have a pet or children now but you think you might in the next few years. If this is the case then it should be a factor in your decorating. Choose colors and fabrics that are kid and pet-friendly.
Really think about your budget and where you want to allocate your funds. I would much rather see a client spend more on a good sofa or bedroom set than a dining room table and chairs that get used three times a year. Cheap draperies can make the whole room look like it was purchased at a clearance center. However, quality window treatments will cost more but will make any room look more polished.
Taking time to evaluate your lifestyle in your new home, discovering your own style, and making smart choices with your budget can really help your new house become your home, and a reflection of your unique style.