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First Time Home Buyers: Reno's?

Put your stamp on your new home with these budget‑friendly decorating and design tips.

After months of searching for the perfect place, you’ve finally found the one. Moving into a first home can be a liberating and thrilling experience, and chances are you’re eager to give it your own touch. Whether you’re looking to splash a new condo with some personality or to bring a ’70s split‑level into this decade, your new space is waiting to be personalized. But where should you direct that hard‑earned money? Below are some tips on how to get started when decorating your first home.

Renovations and upgrades

First and foremost, focus on repairs that may be required to ensure your home is sound and up to safety code. If you didn’t hire a home inspector before the purchase, consider enlisting one now. Check the structure and foundation, windows, roof, electrical and plumbing, look for any evidence of water damage and ensure there are working smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. For aesthetic renos, consider focusing on those that will increase the value of the property – hardwood floors and kitchen and bathroom upgrades typically see the greatest return on investment.

How will you use your space?

Think about the elements of your home that are most important to you. Do you love to binge‑watch TV in a home theatre setting? Entertain friends in an elegant dining room? Cook meals while keeping an eye on the kids? While you might answer yes to all of the above, figuring out the highest priorities can help you determine where to allocate your decorating dollars.

Break out the brushes

Paint can be an inexpensive way to update and personalize a space. Create a cohesive environment with neutrals, or add drama with an accent wall. You could choose to tackle this task before moving items in, or wait until after, to see how different swatches look with your belongings.

Embrace hand‑me‑downs

Chances are you have family and friends who are more than happy to pass on items to help you set up your new digs. Accept their offerings of furniture, linens and kitchenware. You can refinish pieces to suit your style – a coat of paint can instantly update a side table, and adding a throw and some pillows can liven up an old sofa. Even if you don’t keep them forever, they can help tide you over so that you can follow the next golden rule …

Resist the urge to buy everything all at once

Decorating your home over time will result in a more natural style that won’t look like it was pulled from a catalogue. Browse Pinterest, home decor magazines and websites for inspiration. Compile your favourite looks and see what styles and colours stand out. From there, shop around. Check out different retailers and online sites and see what’s available at various price points. Be patient and wait for sales, especially on bigger‑ticket items.

Measure twice, buy once

Nothing’s worse than having your comfy sectional delivered, only to discover it doesn’t fit in the living room. Make it a habit to shop with a measuring tape and know the dimensions of your space. Before purchasing items, sketch out a floor plan on graph paper or use painter’s tape to outline furniture placement on the floor. Remember, design decisions aren’t necessarily forever. So, relax, have fun and enjoy making memories in your new place.

Discipline is what it takes to block out the noise, commitment is what it takes to walk the path to financial success and patience is what it takes to reach the goal.

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