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6 Tips for Decorating Your First Home

After what seemed like a never-ending process, you finally purchased your first home. Congrats! Now that all the documents are signed, the keys are handed over and you’ve managed to pack your life up, the fun part really starts: decorating. But if you feel equal parts excitement and dread at the thought, don’t worry, you’re not alone—it is overwhelming. Fortunately, there are tips and tricks to help you with that process and we’re laying them out for you below.

woman unpacking boxes in new home
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1. Assess What You Already Have

Whether you were crammed into a studio apartment or renting a spacious condo, it’s safe to assume you’ve collected a lot over the years. As you pack up your belongings, pare down your accumulated possessions and let go of the rest (donate them or have a garage sale. Because, no, you won’t be needing all those unused mugs or that dresser with the broken drawer). This will also make the unpacking process much easier, and you’ll be able to get a better account of what you need to buy for your new home.

2. Shop Locally for the Details

In a world full of big-box retailers, we’re huge proponents of supporting local businesses. Not only does it make us feel good, but it also helps us invest in the community and there’s usually better quality in products. Case in point: Benjamin Moore paint, which is only sold at locally owned stores. What’s more, we highly recommend painting before moving into your home because it makes the process so much easier. Stop at your local store to talk with a paint expert to help you come up with the perfect palette for your dream home. When you narrow down your palette, buy sample containers so you can test out how each color will look on your walls in different lighting and times of day.

unmade bed
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3. Start with the Most Used Rooms

If you think you’re going to dive headfirst into decorating your entire house at once, think again. It takes a massive amount of time, effort and money to get things right so it’s important to take a step back and go room by room, starting with the ones that are commonly used the most, like the bedroom and living room. First, define the function of each space by asking yourself some basic questions: Will you be watching TV in the bedroom? Does the living room also need to serve as a playroom or a home office? Once you nail down its function, move onto the design aspect by figuring out what current pieces will work and what you need to start buying. When you feel settled in each room, start tackling the others as needed.

first home kitchen cabinets list
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4. Make Small, but Noticeable Upgrades

The first few times you walk through your new home, you’ll be pointing out all the projects you can’t wait to do, from replacing outdated kitchen cabinets to installing a brand-new master bathroom. While that’s all well and good, it’s rare you’ll be able to do all major renovations from the jump, but that doesn’t mean you can’t make smaller changes. Swap out all the switch plates, outlet covers and cabinet hardware for a quick facelift. You’ll notice a huge difference with those changes alone, but you can even go a step further and upgrade the lighting as well like adding dimmer switches or smart bulbs.

moving furniture in house
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5. Experiment with the Room Layout

Remember: Where you place furniture can make or break the vibe. Every few weeks (or when you have the energy), move things around until you find a layout that works for your needs. And don’t be afraid to bring items in and out of specific rooms, either. Even though you thought this couch would look great in your living room, it might be better suited as a lounge for the office.

dad playing with toddler
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6. Know That It Will Always Be a Work-in-Progress

No matter how long you’ve been living in a space, there will always be something that you want to change and that’s perfectly fine. One of the best parts of owning a home is making it, well, your home. Just like design trends, your style and taste will evolve over the years, and you’ll forever be chasing your next project. Until then, sit back and enjoy what you’ve got—you earned it.


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Operations Director, Branded Content

Rachel joined PureWow in 2016 and is the Operations Director of Branded Content where she oversees the editorial production of sponsored content campaigns. In addition to...