Decorating your new apartment or townhome can be exciting and daunting. Getting it right doesn’t necessarily mean spending a lot of money or being a professional decorator. It just means avoiding a few common mistakes.
Mistake # 1: Not having (and living within) a budget
More important than anything else, start with a budget. A good rule of thumb is to plan on spending the equivalent of one month’s rent. If you already have furnishings you love, plan to spend less. If you prefer to start with a clean slate and get all new things, then plan for more. Even if your budget is small, you can still have a great looking place. It just means investing over time, or visiting some garage sales and thrift stores. Whatever your limit is, the most important thing is that you know it and stick to it. Don’t let yourself fall in love with an item that quickly blows your budget. It will leave you unable to afford everything else you need.
Mistake #2: Buying only cheap items
If you’re moving into your first apartment or are on a tight budget, you probably want things to be as inexpensive as possible. And while everyone loves getting a deal, don’t ignore quality. This is especially true with big-ticket items. When you purchase things that are low-quality, you’ll be frustrated by their performance and need to replace them sooner. Keep in mind that sometimes getting the best quality for your money means buying used. A vintage table and chairs you pick up for $100 at a flea market will likely serve you far better than what the same money gets you in a brand-new set.
Mistake #3: Buying all your furniture at once
While everyone wants to move in with a truckload of furniture and get settled quickly, you often don’t know what you really need until you live in a space. What you decide you need may change when you’re actually living in a space. The best thing to do is create a list of the major items you need and purchase them in order of importance. If you desperately need a couch, then get one. But maybe hold off on side chairs or the coffee table. Then live in your place and get a feel for what’s needed most and where those things should go. Then you can find the right pieces over time and buy them as it makes sense for your budget.
It all comes down to having the patience (and creativity) to find the right items, and being careful about when you splurge and when you save. If you can do that, chances are you’ll create a space you love coming home to.