Welcome to this week’s installment of “New Home Owner Mondays.” Often, when you’ve just moved into a new home, your decorating budget is fairly tight, (read: non-existent). By following a few basic low-cost decorating tips, you can make your new place feel welcoming and let it reflect your personality.
The blank canvas. I know that on moving day boxes and furnishings tend to just get dumped into specified rooms and then you’re left to work around them but consider the following approach instead. As you begin decorating each room, start with an empty space akin to an artist’s empty canvas and let the room inspire you. Place the large furniture first so that you can find the best configuration for the room. Then, bring in the artwork and smaller items to finish off the room.
Highlight the house’s positive features. Unless you bought an extreme fixer upper that is undergoing complete home remodeling, you obviously bought the house because it had specific features that you were drawn to. Play up those features or simply leave them exposed to speak for themselves. For example, if you have a historic home with stained glass windows, crown molding or wooden beams, for heaven’s sake don’t cover them up! Instead, clean them up and let them be the stars of your new home.
Keep it simple. When moving into a new place, most of us want to immediately fill it up with things to make it feel more “lived in” or to reflect our style. While I do believe that a home should always reflect its dweller’s personality, I don’t believe in filling it with clutter. Choose the items that you love and forget about the rest. As well, don’t feel rushed to finish all of the decorating in the first couple of weeks. I find that once I’ve lived in a home for a while, I get a better sense of what each room needs.
Use what you have. Perhaps you had furnishings and accessories in your old place that don’t fit perfectly in your new home. If this is your first place, you might have hand-me-downs from relatives or friends. That’s ok. Eventually, when your budget can handle a bit of shopping, go ahead and buy the big ticket items but for now, start with what you have and make it work for you and your space. For example, you could reframe a work of art so that it fits the scale of a wall or group a series of photographs together to fill a larger area. If your grandma’s ottoman is sticking out like a sore thumb, recovering it in modern fabric could tie it into its new surroundings. If you don’t have enough hand-me-downs, hit the flea market or vintage shops and search for the perfect pieces.
Making your new house feel like home is certainly a home improvement project unto itself. Remember, it is a work in progress and you can make simple changes as you live in the house. For more extensive kitchen and bathroom remodeling you will likely need to call in the experts, but that article is for another day, after you’ve settled in.