You’ve done your time living in share houses with furniture scavenged from the side of the road, but where do you start when it comes to investing in pieces that will last?
Stylish furniture and interesting art has never been more affordable, so with a little research and a few tips from interior design experts it’s easier than ever to transform your new property into a dream home. Living space
For first home-buyers on a budget, Sydney Design School director Amanda Grace recommends making the living room a priority and investing in a few essential pieces for this area of your home.
“The rooms that you spend the most time in are your living space and your bedroom. So once you’ve got those set up you can pretty much live in your home,” she says. “Buy the best quality lounge that you can, and try to buy something that will give you a 10- to 15-year lifespan.”
Grace also recommends opting for neutral colours “so that if you change your mind and want to redecorate down the track your neutral lounge will fit in any space”.
Richard Misso, creative director of The Stylesmiths, agrees. “If you’re on a really tight budget, work out what the key priorities are for the space. You might then focus your energy on your living space and start with a key piece like your sofa and build around that.”
“We’re really lucky at the moment because the prices of furniture in have really dropped, and you can get good looking products on a budget,” Misso says Related: Should you have a leather or fabric sofa?Related: Winners of the Top 50 Room AwardsRelated: How to choose the perfect sofaBedroom
We spend a third of our lives sleeping, so a great place to start investing in furniture is in your bedroom.
“Buy the best quality bed that you can because your bed is going to last you a long time and you obviously spend a lot of time in bed,” Grace says.
“You can always have a hero piece in your bedroom, and give it a particular style or look, but I always keep everything else reasonably simple and neutral, because you can mix and match and accessorise something quite easily if it’s a simple design,” she says.???Lighting
Good lighting can transform a space with just the flick of a switch. Studiobird founder Matthew Bird has a reputation for turning residential spaces into an avant-garde experience, and says that “floor lamps are one of the best things you can buy” to improve a new home.
“Coming from my experience as an architect and interior designer, the lighting in first homes can often be really crap,” he says. “Decent floor lamps are a great buy because they create a really atmospheric light.”
Grace agrees that lamps are a good solution for homes with “cold” lighting and generic downlights.
“As soon as you put a little lamp on with a warm bulb it changes the dynamic of a space and can make it feel quite comfortable,” she says. Finding your style
If you’re still discovering your own style and aesthetic preferences, sites like Pinterest can provide great inspiration, while rummaging in op-shops or browsing Gumtree for antique or vintage items can also help to build character into your decor scheme.
Bird recommends taking time to select pieces to adorn your home rather than buying “everything in one hit”.
“You find a few key pieces and you spend the rest of your [life] acquiring stuff,” he says.
“There’s nothing wrong with the eclectic look in my school of thinking. But if there’s a thousand pieces from different times that’s a bit hectic. Less is more is the golden rule,” he says.
Ultimately, decorating a first home is all about taking time to enjoy the process, carefully selecting things you love, and, as Bird puts it, “creating a comfortable experience that reflects the occupants”.