Decorating a space, especially if it’s your first home/apartment, can be incredibly difficult. Figuring out your style, buying home decor and furniture, and decorating in such a way that won’t cause any damage are just a few items on a long list of things you have to keep in mind when starting to style a space. So to help clear up some of the anxiety and confusion, we’ve typed up this starter guide to decorating your first home!
Finding your style
Whether it’s through making endless pinterest boards or flipping through home catalogs, you’ve got to find some semblance of a home decor style! Starting out, you don’t have to be an interior design master, but finding a certain color palette, feeling, or even just a specific set of inspiration pictures will give you a sense of direction and set you on the right path. Developing that end goal and idea of the atmosphere you wish to create in your home will make shopping for decor items noticeably easier. Though you may love those farmhouse chic bookshelves and that mid-century modern sofa, having them both in a single space may create feelings of chaos or dissonance. Once you decide on the style you’re going for, you can intentionally seek out colors, textures, and pieces that compliment the look you desire for your space; you can eliminate some unnecessary shopping time, and won’t have to worry about a specific lamp or area rug having a place in the room!
Setting a budget
This item on the list may not be the most fun or exciting, but it is the most crucial. Many people, upon decorating their first home, don’t realize just how pricey furniture and decor can be. Rugs, pillows, throw blankets, and dining sets – though they offer a lovely sense of homeliness – can easily rack up in price. Before you go and open up an Ikea credit card, think about establishing a budget! Save a chunk of your decor budget for items that will last you a long time. Find a nice sofa and living room chair, bookshelf, or dining room table that you love and that can fit a bunch of different styling options(you never know when you might decide to switch from casual modern to moody eclectic).
Then scout out flea markets, antique stores, garage sales, and the like, for pieces that fit your style! Got a really strict budget? No problem! Don’t underestimate the power of a DIY! Reupholstering furniture, getting crafty with items from the dollar store, and reimagining pieces you already own can get you really far in terms of decor. Having a full understanding of your budget constraints and style goals can make for some great creative projects and decor purchases that really payoff in the end!
Be mindful of damage
Wall art, tapestries, and built in shelving are all great styling choices, don’t get us wrong, but when decorating for the long term, damage has to be a factor you keep in mind, especially when trying to go about decorating a rented space (pesky lease agreement that doesn’t allow for any holes in the walls? We know all about them). Command hooks and scotch tape are no-brainers when it comes to damage free decor, but what about other items that cause lesser known damage or that just aren’t usually thought about when it comes to trying to decorate without dents, holes, or scrapes? We’re here to help! Take stock of your decor items and plans, and try to think about the items or adjustments that could cause damage or cause some conflict with your lease agreement. Place felt pads under any large furniture to prevent floor scratches, make sure new door handles won’t cause any dents in the walls, and make sure to consult your landlord or lease agreement before making any longer term changes, such as installing new cabinets or installing wallpaper. This tip doesn’t just go for those trying to style rental properties either! When you own a home, your options for change are almost limitless, but always try to keep in mind how your current design choices might pan out in the future. Sure, painting your cabinets, adding an extravagant built in entertainment unit, and changing your flooring may all look great now, but trends, and personal tastes in style, change often. Committing so deeply to a home adjustment for the sake of a design trend may cause a lot of pain and money in the long run when you decide for yet another change. Before going for a full on home renovation, test out your new style ideas with more temporary design elements, like new wall art, lamp shades, peel and stick backsplash, sofa covers, etc. Once you see how the new elements you can choose between the more permanent adjustments, or just sticking with the simpler accent changes!
At the end of the day, decorating a space is a feat that is extremely personal to every individual and their own personal style. Whether you’re mixing interior design styles, going for all brand new or all thrifted decor, or choosing between permanent or temporary design choices is completely up to you and the space that you want to create. Just remember that your end goal is to create a space you can feel happy and at home in! Hopefully this quickstart guide gave you some direction and good tips that you can take with you to any home you move into! (And don’t forget to send us any photos of you decorating spaces using these tips!)