If there is one thing I have learned over the past two years of home ownership, it’s that making your house a home takes time. When we first moved into our house, I had a long to-do list of things that needed updated. I was naive to believe it would all happen in one year. Doesn’t hurt to dream, right? I have come up with a few tips and tricks for meeting your home goals. Maybe they will be helpful to other new homeowners who can sometimes find themselves frustrated.
1. Know your style – It doesn’t make much sense to begin decorating your home before you nail down your personal style. You’ll end up wasting time and money on items you don’t really love (guilty). At the same time, a lot of this is trial and error. My style has definitely evolved since moving into my home, and it will probably continue to change. I have become very aware of purchases I make because I want to be certain it’s something I am going to love for years to come and isn’t just a quick trend.
If you fill your home with pieces you love, it will automatically begin to feel like a reflection of its inhabitants. Ultimately, I think people are most comfortable in their homes because they’re surrounded by items that are special and beautiful through their eyes. If you’re still trying to determine your personal aesthetic, Emily Henderson has a great home style quiz in her book, Styled.
2. Know your budget – If you are someone who likes to stick to a budget (like me!), then this point is key. We set aside a specific amount per month towards home improvement projects and furnishings. Unfortunately, sometimes that means spending money on something not as visually rewarding… like a hot water heater.
3. Know your timeframe – After making a to-do list, I prioritized the items that I’d like to tackle first. I quickly learned that getting all my house projects done in one year just wasn’t feasible. By making a detailed list, I was able to choose which items I would complete, the materials needed (along with their cost), and the month in which I hoped to achieve these tasks. Don’t be disappointed if you stray from the schedule or timeframe. Life happens, expenses are sometimes needed elsewhere, and sometimes you just need to step back and take a break. Deadlines and calendar events are set to help encourage your process, not create stress.
4. Start with what you have – Although you may not love all of the pieces in your home right now, they can be used as starter pieces. Right after I was married, my husband and I purchased a handful of items from IKEA (that I really hate). However, they have worked fine for us over the past few years. Later on, I’ll certainly replace them with quality pieces when my budget allows, but for now… I know they’re functional and I try to work with them. Think creatively- style them in an interesting way, repurpose these pieces or give them new life. Sometimes it’s just takes a little rearranging to make you feel more content.
5. Save for larger pieces – Large items, such as furniture, are typically more expensive. Think of how long you’ll be living with these pieces. I’d rather save for a classic, quality item I love. It helps to assure me it will be around for years to come and I’m happy to spend less on trendy accessories that come and go every other year.
6. Be resourceful – Buying furniture does not always have to be expensive. I love searching for vintage pieces on sites like Craigslist, Etsy, Ebay and Chairish where I can find a great deal on an awesome (one-of-a-kind) piece. If you spend a little less and change your mind down the road, you won’t feel as guilty when you’re ready to switch it out for something new.
7. Don’t rush the process – I constantly have to remind myself of this. Sometimes life gets in the way, sometimes I find myself in a rut, and sometimes things just take longer than expected… it’s okay. Stay positive, surround yourself with people who inspire you, and enjoy the process of making your home your own. Good things take time and if your home is putting that much pressure on you, then you’re doing something wrong! It should be a fun, fulfilling, and rewarding process.