Ready for a home of your own? Here are 4 steps to make an easier transition to a home of your own.
Finally living in a home of your own can be a really exciting transition.
If you’re not sharing your home with anyone else, things can be just like you like them. You have complete control.
That complete control can be both thrilling … and confusing. After all, where do you begin? What should you do?
Whether you’re fresh out of college or an empty nester, or newly single, the transition to a home of your own is filled with decisions. The great thing about these decisions is that they can help you start creating your very own haven.
This 4-step guide will hopefully help in your decision-making process and transition to a home of your own!
4 Simple Steps to Make a Home of Your Own
One of the first things to do is to look at the space in your home. How much room do you have? Are all of the rooms fairly normal, or do you have creative spaces to work with?
For example, when I was single, my favorite apartment was in a century-old Victorian home. Most of the rooms were straightforward – a living room, bedroom, bathroom, kitchen, one closet, and one pantry.
But there was one odd spot – a little, door-less closet-sized area with a huge wooden storage cabinet tucked under a stairway. This area ended up being a perfect spot for an office. I bought a narrow desk for my computer and stored all my paperwork in this room.
Once you know the space you can work with, think about your belongings.
- What pieces of furniture do you have?
- What appliances come furnished and what do you need to buy?
If you happen to have entirely too much stuff to fit in your home, it’s time to downsize. If you know this move is very temporary, though, you could stow your extra belongings in a storage garage.
And if your rooms are empty, it may be time to start searching for pieces – whether it’s furniture or accessories – to add. (It’s always a good idea to consider your space and how many seating options you have, especially if you plan to host guests.)
Before you start shopping for furniture, it’s a good idea to think about style. What kind of style resonates well with you and your personality? What style would fit the style of your home well?
Once you think about your preferences, get ready to go shopping. Make sure you take a list along with you, complete with:
- measurements of areas and spaces,
- colors you’d prefer to use, and
- a basic type of style you’re interested in.
Once you have a good idea of the space you have to work with and the furniture you already own, it’s time to add what you need.
If finances are tight (and often with moving expenses and down payments it is), look for furniture that fits in your budget. Some places to find furniture include:
Your family and friends
Listen for when people want to get rid of their old furniture and be ready to accept a hand-me-down.
Often, people hosting garage sales just want the stuff out of their homes and they’re willing to offer amazing deals. You can even try to negotiate a cheaper price.
While most estate sales aren’t like garage sales and you don’t have as much room for haggling, you can still find great pieces of furniture for a fraction of the retail price.
If people don’t want to go to the hassle of holding a garage sale, often unwanted housewares and furniture are donated to thrift stores. Check around the thrift stores in your area – you’ll be surprised at what you can find at Goodwill or Habitat for Humanity’s ReStore.
Depending on the consignment stores in your community, you may know of one (or many!) that sell furniture. The cost typically is more than what is charged at thrift stores or garage sales, but the furniture quality is good and it’s still more affordable than going to a furniture store.
Like consignment stores, antique stores may have merchandise with higher price tags, but they’re also places to find unique furniture choices … and potentially for less than a retail store.
Clearance and closeout sections
As you visit stores in your region, look for clearance and closeout sections. These may be at furniture stores, or even any type of housewares store. You might get a random selection to choose from, but common national (non-furniture store) chains that typically stock furniture include:
- Big Lots
- Burlington Coat Factory
- Pier One
- T.J. Maxx
- Tuesday Morning
- World Market
Even though furniture stores might logically seem like the first place to look for furniture, if you’re on a budget they’ll be toward the end of your list. Unless you know of particular stores that offer amazing bargains, most furniture stores sell a lot of furniture at full price.
Once you’ve furnished your home, it’s time to get to the fun part … decorating! Decorating your home covers all sorts of possibilities, including:
- Window coverings
- Pillows and throw blankets
- Dishware, silverware and glasses
- Wall art
Very last on the list I’d include other accessories … mainly things to display on end tables. Chances are you may already have a variety of accessories to choose from. Typically, it’s the other accessories that are needed.
Based on my own personal experience, window coverings are the one thing that tends to change in about every single home, because window sizes are unique to homes.
If you’re out of college, you’ll eventually want to upgrade to more adult furnishings. Phase out of plastic furniture and decorating with posters and invest in sturdy furniture and artwork. (Here’s a great list of 30 things to do away with by the time you’re 30.)
Just like with furniture, you’ll want to consider the type of home you’re living in as you begin decorating with accessories. For example, you wouldn’t want to go all French Provincial in a Southwestern-styled home.
Similarly, like furniture, you can scour thrift stores, estate sales, consignment stores, garage sales, and clearance sections for interesting home accessory options.
As you consider the space in your home, think about your personal style preferences, and fill your home with furniture and accessories, you’ll be able to make a smooth transition into a home of your own!
If you’ve made your home a home of your own, what are some of your basic tips and tricks?
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