In the current housing market, it’s likely that as a first time buyer you will previously have rented so your newly bought home won’t be the first house of your own but it will be the first home where you can fully decide on all aspects from colour-schemes to flooring to soft furnishings & indeed the primary pieces of furniture. Where to start? You’ve possibly dreamed of this moment but now it’s here, the decisions may now feel daunting! Here are some tips to help you sensibly make your first house a home & putting your budget to best use...
1. Think of the whole space. Make a list of what’s to be done & bought & put a cost against each item. You may stray from this but it should help you to save on some items where you’ve overspent on others & it should save you getting completely carried away spending half the entire budget on a huge sofa, bed or media system leaving no money for other & essential items.
2. Accessorise & don’t buy everything from the one display at Ikea or John Lewis. The best homes reflect the personality of their occupants. You will have already have built up a collection of items from travels, family & some pieces of occasional furniture & accessories you’ve purchased yourself over time. Some of these items you may have grown out of but some will still appeal aesthetically & others will have sentimental value. Incorporate these items into your new house to sit alongside your new furnishings. It’s these things that will say it’s your home!
3. If you are doing the property up, again list what’s to be done, gather costs for all & then prioritise if the total amount exceeds budget. There are various ways you can achieve a good, high end & stylish look without it costing high end money. Decide also on what order works need done in - raggle the walls for any new wiring before decorating & decorate before laying new carpeting for example!
4. Don’t be afraid of colour. Your years in rental accommodation might have brainwashed you in to believing magnolia is a good thing... it’s not!! Look at other homes you admire or look at interiors magazines to gain inspiration. If however you are the type to fear colours being too bright or too dark or too gaudy, then go grey - stylish, neutral, airy & modern - you almost can’t go wrong!
5. Think of how you live... if you’re likely to have guests to stay, you need a comfortable spare bedroom or a sofa bed, if you’ll entertain a lot, you’ll need a dining area but if you won’t, don’t use valuable space by having a huge dining table & if you will work from home, you need to think whether you need a desk or designated area or whether a corner of the island unit will do. Abov e all tho, your home is your sanctuary. It’s where you’ll let the world in as well as keep it out. A good home will both serve & reflect you!
Colin McShane provides interior design & furnishing services - member of The Home Staging Network - www.colinshane.com