Moving into your first house is a liberating, landmark life passage. After you’ve freed yourself of your college futon and your roommate’s attempt at fine art, it’s time to come up with a plan for turning your empty shell of a house into an inviting home. Here are some suggestions for pulling it off:
1. Clean house at the old place. Even before you make an offer on a new place, get ahead of the game by starting this process. This critical first step will not only make your current digs easier to pack up, but it will put you miles ahead during move-in. Be strong and rid yourself of anywhere from 25 percent to 50 percent of your old stuff: wobbly furniture in the attic, faulty appliances in the garage, questionable accessories you received as gifts. This is the perfect time to start over. Pare down your accumulated possessions to the minimal amount. Have a garage sale, auction it off on eBay or donate it to charity. You’ll be amazed at what you won’t miss.
2. Start with the bedroom. It’s where you’ll be spending almost a third of your time when you’re at home, after all. If you’re on a tight budget, opt for new bedding first, but don’t skimp on thread count! Buy as well as you can afford to spend in this area — it makes a huge difference. If you have a little more money, paint the bedroom walls to complement your new bedding. Still more cash in your pocket? Add coordinating window treatments. Early risers should opt for a lighter palette of colors and more translucent treatments. Night owls who like to sleep in will probably likely be more satisfied with deeper tones and more substantial coverings that block out the light. If you’re really ready to splurge, buy that bed you’ve always dreamed about. And choose carefully. It should mirror your personality, fit your room comfortably and stay with you for years.
3. Don’t buy everything all at once. Live in your new house for at least two months before you make any significant purchases. How you think you’re going to use the house and how you actually live in the house are commonly two different things. Maybe that $5,000 you were going to spend on renovating the bathroom isn’t quite as important as beefing up the kitchen and dining area for maximum entertaining purposes. And you may figure out that the living room loveseat would work much better in your master bedroom and the master bedroom’s chaise will work better in the den.