After buying a new home, many homeowners are eager to set up their interior spaces for style and comfort. But jumping in too fast can lead to spending too much time and money on styles and trends that don’t fit your lifestyle. Below, interior designer Camille Self shares some of the top mistakes she has seen new homeowners make — and how you can avoid them.
Starting interior design before considering structural repairs
Buying a new home for the first time can be a very exciting experience, and many first time buyers want to jump right in to furnishing and decorating their new abode. “Give your attention to the structural repairs before designing,” Self advised. Addressing structural issues before starting to fill the empty spaces will be a more effective strategy in the long run.
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Complete any needed repairs such as finishing walls and floors before moving on to designing to make sure your new home becomes the best living space it can be.
Self said to judge what you can and cannot do within your home. “Don’t try to DIY everything you’ve seen on TV, know your limitations…don’t bite off more than you can chew,” she said. Will the project require painting a wall or moving the wall? Many people can end up starting a project they think they are able to handle on their own, but then end up spending twice as much to get themselves out of a DIY venture gone wrong.
Consider the scope of the project and think of your skillset. If the task will require more effort than you can give, look into local contractors. Get more than one quote and ask for a list of homeowners they have worked with to see how others review them. To feel even more confident, you can check a contractor’s license through the Arizona Registrar of Contractors.
Getting started without a plan or budget
Thinking through the designs you want to achieve before diving in with buying all new furnishings will help you stick to a budget and enjoy the styles well into the future. Use your home’s structure to plan – it may help to spend time getting to know how a new home feels before starting to decorate.
“My advice is only purchase the items you need to get moved into your new space or use your existing furniture to begin,” Self said. Living in a new space will help you understand your home better and can help you determine how you want to set up your designs and the functionality of the rooms. This will help you get a feel for natural lighting, the “traffic” or flow of your home and how you want to arrange the furniture in each area.
Buying all furnishings from one retailer
“Retailers – they sell by trend, and your house will look trendy immediately…if you avoid that it’ll help you not have the look alike homes of your friends,” Self said. She advised to reserve trendy items for things that are less expensive and more easily replaceable, such as pillows or towels. To find truly unique items, and items you will still like even after they go out of fashion, consider consignment stores.
Another piece of advice Self offers is not to buy everything in one afternoon. Larger retailers can encourage you to keep buying more items from them, but pacing yourself can give you time to consider what kind of items you want and how they will fit into your home. Some of these stores also offer “free” design services, which can be helpful, but are usually only aimed at what that particular store is selling.
Not asking for help or advice
Even if you aren’t looking to hire a designer to help with an entire home make-over, they are still able to advise you for a day, or even just a few hours. Self encourages new homeowners to follow local interior designers on social media to find styles they like. Most designers have a certain “brand,” or style they stick to, but good designers can adapt to different designs.
The American Society of Interior Designers can also connect homeowners with interior designers that are located in your area based on your style interests. It is important to always check a designer’s work and references before setting up a major design project to ensure they are the perfect fit for your home.