Four Things You Should Know Before You Decorate Your First Home 

Buying your first home is an exciting milestone. For most people, it’s their first chance to make a space truly their own.

However, first-time homebuyers might also find the prospect of decorating a whole home daunting. Below are some tips that I think all first-time homebuyers should know before they start decorating.

Plan Your Space in Advance

Get your hands on the plans for the house if possible. Having these will help you see ahead of time which of your furniture will fit and if you need to knock down walls to create a more open layout. If your house needs significant renovations, bringing in a design team will save you a lot of stress later.

Identify Your Favorite Design Styles

Most people have more than one interior design style that inspires them. When in doubt, pick one that complements your home’s architecture. There’s no need to use the same style in every room, but remember to have at least one design element in common (such as a color) that connects the rooms.

Although dining chairs should complement the table, you don’t need to use those that came with it. Use a Different but Complementary set to create more interest. Aqua and cream colors help pull this dining room together.

Start with the Rooms You’ll Use the Most

The best rooms to begin with are the ones you’ll spend the most time in. If you like to entertain, those rooms might be your living room and dining room. Your anchor pieces for each room (such as your bed, sofas, or dining table) should take priority in your budget. You can, and should, spend a lot less on accessories for the moment.

Layer Items Over Time Instead of Buying Everything at Once

One mistake first-time homebuyers often make is rushing to buy everything at once and getting matching furniture sets. The best homes have a layered look that mixes old and new pieces. Combine items that are complementary in color, material, and scale, and remember that you can always reupholster a piece if you don’t like the fabric. Don’t be in a rush to pick your paint color, either: try testing out swatches instead.

Finally, remember that most people only stay in their first home for a few years. The items you prioritize in your budget should also be ones you can take with you to your next home. On the other hand, if you plan on enjoying your home for many years to come, consider hiring a professional designer. Designers get to know you so that we can design a space that is perfectly suited for you and your family.

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Margaret Chambers

Margaret Chambers, a registered interior designer (RID) and member of the American Society of Interior Designers (ASID), leads Chambers Interiors and Associates. Her colleague Caitlin Crowley helped edit this column. Find more design advice at

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