To celebrate moving into our first home two years ago, I wanted to share my Top Tips for decorating your first home.
Just before my 30th Birthday (in 2016) I was able to get onto the property ladder. Me and my Partner (In Crime) bought a two-bedroom house based on the outskirts of Bedfordshire, border lining Hertfordshire, which was perfect for us to create our very own nest egg, with our dog, Bailey.
The house itself needed a lot of work doing to it. Therefore it’s fair to say when we bought the house we saw past what the house looked like, but instead saw what it had to offer us.
Now two years on, we are finally starting to see our first house come to life. Over the two years we’ve been able to put our own personal taste and style in to it, where now I am proud to call it our home.
With our experiences fresh in my mind, I want to share with you my 10 top tips for decorating your first home.
10 Top Tips For Decorating Your First Home
1) Don’t spend a fortune (on furniture and decorating) straight away.
Before we even got keys to our house, I started to make a list of all the essential furniture and utensils we needed to simply get by as soon as we moved in.
This included plates, cutlery, pots and pans, seating, towels, bedding, white goods, i.e. a fridge freezer, washing machine…the list goes on.
As tempting as it was to look for brand new products for everything listed, the reality was we couldn’t afford anything brand new.
Plus I didn’t know what I wanted. And I knew with the home when we moved in, I wanted to make it look beautiful for us to be happy in.
Instead we started researching and finding where we could get the list second hand, or even free.
Even though nothing would match, look perfect, or it may not be the best quality, all I cared about were having the essentials to literally get by.
It is amazing when you start researching and asking around what you find. Put it this way, we pretty much got every main bit of furniture, white goods and essentials for FREE!!
This has meant that over time we could save and gradually start to replace what we have sourced, with something we know will suit our home and our way of living.
(Image sourced from iStock)
2) Before you move everything in, clean!
It may sound bizarre, but before we did anything like order a van and move our furniture in, on the day we exchanged and got the keys to our new house, we actually turned up with a load of cleaning products, let ourselves in and did a huge spring clean.
We spent the whole day mopping, hovering, dusting, cleaning the windows, kitchen and bathroom, wiping down skirting boards etc.
Don’t get me wrong, the house wasn’t filthy or anything. However having a big clean of the place makes it feel like your own space almost instantaneously.
It’s literally like starting with a clean slate. Any mess that is created after you’ve cleaned means it is your mess, no one else’s.
It’s one of the perfect ways to make you feel at home straight away
3) Spend at least six months living in your house, before you decorate
Yes, I really mean this! It sounds frustrating to wait this long, but trust me you need to, especially if it’s a long-term plan of yours to live in your new home for a good few years or so.
The reason it’s good to spend at least six months in your new home before you decorate is because you get to live in the space and decide how you want each room to look and feel.
This comes down to your colour palette, the atmosphere you want to create, and the patterns and textures that will suit specific rooms.
Plus, you get to see how natural light falls throughout the day within your house, which is important to how you then tailor your lighting.
There’s no one stopping you from decorating straight away, but it can lead to mistakes being made more easily when it comes to styling. You may think you know what will suit certain areas, but until you’ve lived in a space you don’t realise what’s needed as an essential, what looks good where…and what fits in certain places.
For example you don’t want to order in a gorgeous and comfy, yet expensive sofa to find it completely oversized for your living room. Meaning nothing else can fit into it, and it makes the room feel small and cramped.
(Image sourced from iStock)
4) Paint everything in a neutral shade.
If you want to decorate as soon as possible, make sure you paint everything in a neutral shade.
To be honest, this is something we did during the first week of us moving in, but for a good reason. Our house was made up of a rainbow of colour choices, and not nice colours that we could live with, I’d like to add.
Therefore we decided to make our home a blank canvas, and paint everything white, and even lining paper over walls that needed smoothing over.
It was a perfect move on our part, because we could then live in a neutral environment for a while, enabling us to decide what colour palettes would work well in each room. Without any other colour playing a huge part in the decision process.
5) Plants and Lighting go along way
If, after you’ve painted your house neutral you find out still want to get your hands into decorating, I would suggest you spend a little bit of money on plants (fake or real, depending on how green fingered you are), and lighting.
Reason being both of these little additions to your home, can have a quick and effective impact, on a minimal budget.
This is something I found myself doing to make our home feel more relaxing and inviting, and it works.
(Image sourced from iStock)
6) Make lists for decorating ideas and plans
When you feel like you’ve settled in to you home, and lived in your new space for around a month (or so), start making a list of all your decorating and refurbishing ideas.
It’s always great way to make a plan, because there are a number of elements to consider when it comes to decorating. Your time scale along with your budget, are the two top issues that are consistently being worked out.
Decorating your home always takes longer and can be costly, especially if you want everything to be done all at once.
By creating a list of the most important, down to the finishing touches, and giving yourself a plan to for this, and turning it into a time frame, means you have time to save and invest more into your home.
7) Don’t buy everything all at once.
Once you have your decorating lists and ideas in place, then you can start to buy what is necessary for each room.
However, do not rush this process, as tempting as it may seem. There honestly isn’t any need, especially if you want to get the right look and environment for each room.
I think it’s better to add and collect furniture and accessories over time, making sure you’ve made the right decision for specific items.
For example it took me over a year to find the right side tables to fit in with our living room. We had a particular colour palette I was working with, and a particular space I could fit these tables into, meaning the measurements and style had to be right.
Once these were in place, I was then able to see what else was needed for specific spaces that needed to be filled.
My next task is to find a corner bookcase to finish the look of a corner in our living room, and fit in with the side tables. Because at the moment the shelving unit we have in place, makes the space look too cluttered, now it has a side table next to it.
8) Decorate one room at a time.
Very much like not rushing to buy everything in at once, take your time with decorating each room. This will benefit you in terms of your budget as well.
I would start off with the most important room in the house, then work your way down, in terms of importance.
For example for me it was our living room I started to plan to decorate first, followed by the kitchen and then the bathroom. This is because we spend the majority of our time in the living room; and it has multiple purposes.
We use it to;
Relax and unwind after a long tiring day at work.
Entertain in this space when we have friends and family over.
Read in this space when we want a little bit of quiet time.
And watch TV in this space when all we want to do is lounge around.
9) Mix and Match your décor to suit your style and budget
As you are working to your decorating plan for your first house, make sure you have fun! It’s a great time to experiment and find your own interior style.
Make sure you invest in good quality furniture. This can be from high-end stores, or sourcing second hand. Good quality furniture can go a long way, whilst last you a long time.
Then, if you’re looking to refresh your furniture over time, don’t get rid of it. Instead, give spruce up the furniture. There are plenty of good quality furniture paints and upholstery fabrics that are perfect for transforming a look.
Then with a smaller budget you can spend on the home accessories side of things.
Buying cheap chic goes a long way to making sure your style shines through in your first home, without having to spend a fortune, especially if you like to change things around throughout the year.
10) Get creative with your DIY
I’m a big believer in learning on the job! I love doing DIY around the house, and this has been a great learning experience for me, as well as saved me money along the way.
From putting up shelving, to painting our walls, wooden staircase, window frames and garden fence, it has been very rewarding to invest time to transform our home.
It doesn’t have to stop there; why not create your own headboard for your bed, and make your own cushions to ensure everything matches, or flows throughout your room/s.
This also helps saves the pennies, which is never a bad thing, because then this saving can go towards larger investments you want to purchase for your home.
I must admit though I have loved using my spare time to make our house a home. And you get to appreciate all the work you put in, to make it look and feel like your space.
Buying your first house and transforming it into your home is one of the best feelings you will have. Enjoy these top tips for decorating your first home, and document as you go along, because it’s great to see what you achieved.