Your home is more than likely going to be the biggest investment you ever make. Buying your first property is a massive achievement, and whether you’ve reached this milestone in your late teens, mid twenties, thirties or beyond it’s something to be incredibly proud of.
Regardless of how and when you’ve managed to achieve this goal, buying a house is likely to have left you pretty strapped for cash. You’ll of course have used a mortgage calculator to check how much you can afford to pay, but you have big deposit wiping out your savings, legal fees, home surveying and more to pay for. So once the day comes that you’re handed your keys, you might find you don’t have a whole lot leftover to make the place look nice. And of course, aesthetics are important- one of the things you’ve probably been looking forward to the most is putting your own stamp on things. Thankfully there are things you can do to make the place look fantastic without it costing a fortune.
Paint it neutral
Painting the home neutral throughout will make it look bigger, brighter, more modern and more expensive. But be sure to do the prep work first. Remove any old wallpaper, and carefully sand and gloss all of the woodwork using a bright white. Fill in any cracks or holes using a filler from a DIY store (you can buy this premixed for ease) and then sand it down to create a perfectly smooth base. Make sure any mould is removed and treated, and fix any imperfections you come across. Put in the work here and get this right and you will reap the rewards of a much better finish. Once you’re done, paint everywhere in a light neutral shade like white, magnolia or very light grey. It will completely transform the space, and having the walls throughout all in the same shade wll create flow to the home. Filler, sandpaper and paint all works out relatively cheaply, and makes a dramatic impact on how the property looks. Don’t forget to paint ceilings bright white too.
Think about flooring
If the flooring you have down isn’t salvageable then it’s best to replace it, but it doesn’t have to be as pricey as you think. Instead of going into a carpet shop and choosing one that they have on offer, look online for cheap deals. If the flooring you currently have down is no good but the underlay is, save this and it will save you money. Even a cheap hard wearing carpet will last you for many years and again it’s something that will completely transform the home. Check out places like ebay for inexpensive loop pile carpets. You can then hire a carpet fitter to make sure everything is fitted professionally. Again if you choose the same colour throughout it will make your home look far bigger, create flow and look more expensive. Downstairs, something hard wearing like laminate can work well. Buy the packs yourself from a DIY store and you’ll save yourself a fortune, laminate is fairly easy to fit and can be done with anyone with reasonable DIY skills. Having this downstairs will be easy to clean and look smart with any decor. Then have the stairs, landing and any bedrooms carpeted with a neutral carpet throughout.
Change the fixtures and fittings
One of the things that will bring down the look of any home is old fixtures and fittings. Mismatched door handles, old curtain poles, sockets, light fittings and taps are all culprits. These smaller details really make a difference, take a tap for example. A plain white bathroom might look old fashioned with a rusty old tap, but a good clean, a few new accessories and a new tap could bring it back up to scratch. The only problem is they can be expensive to buy. Check out sales, bargain stores and online for deals on these things. A good tip is to choose a type of metal and go with this throughout your fixtures. It could be shiny brushed chrome, a gunmetal grey colour, copper, rose gold- whatever you like! It will help to bring everything together and make your home look more modern and well thought out.
Check second hand deals
When you move into a new home, it’s easy to feel like you want everything to be nice and new to match. However it might be a case of having to wait, save and buy things room by room. In the meantime, you could look at second hand options- you might get lucky and find something you want to keep permanently! If you’ve been living with family members while you save for your mortgage deposit and don’t have much of your own furniture, then this is a cheap way to kit out your property so that its functional. Things like sofas, sideboards, wardrobes and more are always being sold cheaply so check out classified sites like Craigslist or Facebook Marketplace to see what’s available local to you. One option would be to find unloved yet solid pieces of furniture cheaply or for free and upcycle them. A coat of paint, some new legs and new handles can all the difference and you get a unique and beautiful piece that cost you hardly anything.
Look for bargains
Often it’s the finishing touches that make a house feel like home. Accessories and decorative pieces are what bring the place to life and help you bring in your style and personality. But they don’t have to cost a lot. Plants, vases, cushions, framed prints, candles, lamps, ornaments and other bits and pieces are all ways to bring in some color, style and personality. Look in discount stores, on eBay, in thrift stores, Dollar stores and more- you would be surprised by the cool stuff you can find for cheap. Don’t just buy things for the sake of filling your home, instead wait until you see items that really stand out to you, and pick them up as you go along. Having an idea of the kinds of things you need and the style/ theme you’re going with for each room can make it easier to pick out items you know will work together overall.
Collect things before you move
While most of your money will be spent on various moving and buying costs, if you do find yourself with a bit of extra cash before you move out then put it to good use. If you see things like crockery, cutlery, bedding, bathroom accessories and other bits and pieces on sale in the months running up to the move, purchase them and put them away. You could also collect things from family and friends- if loved ones have items they no longer need or want to gift you that’s an added bonus. That way when you move in you already have a good selection of the items you need, and can run your home without too much of a struggle. Any birthdays or Christmases coming up, if anyone offers to buy you a gift then you could suggest something from your list of things you need. There are full lists of everything you need to equip a house from scratch online, it’s far more than you might realize! From iron and ironing boards to bottle and tin openers, cleaning essentials and so much more, it helps to get organized.
Deep clean bathrooms and kitchens
The bathroom and kitchen are two of the rooms that are the hardest to do up, because any significant work will cost serious cash. However often a deep clean can make a massive difference. Give everywhere a scrub and use grout whitening tool to improve the appearance of tiles. Pull up mouldy old sealant around baths and sinks and replace it with new stuff, it’s only cheap and easy to do yourself. Using an enamel paint to cover chips and scuffs in baths and sinks can be useful while you save up to buy a new suite. Adding a few accessories like a bath mat, new bath curtain, fluffy towels and plants in the bathroom can go a long way. In the kitchen, purchase new tea towels and add some decorative accessories. You’ll make the spaces look much more modern and pleasant.
Decorating your first home and furnishing it from scratch can be a lengthy and expensive process. But these tips should help you to cut costs and get it well on its way to looking how you want it. It might take you time and you probably wont be able to get your home exactly to your standards right away, but enjoy the process and have fun choosing items online and looking at designs on Pinterest!
Do you have any tips for anyone who’s just bought a home and wants to do it up on a budget? How long did it take you to decorate your first home when you first moved in?