This post is sponsored by Lennar, the leading builder of quality new homes across the nation. At Lennar- Everything’s Included, offering the best value at an incredible price. Their homes demonstrate customer commitment by showcasing outstanding new construction and homebuilding excellence. Lennar asked me to share with you my tips for decorating a new home.
I have always envied Samantha from Bewitched and never more so than when we moved into our new home three years ago.
One twitch of her cute little nose and everything unfinished is done!
If only decorating a new home worked that way…
As appealing as it may seem, quick-fix decorating isn’t the way to go when decorating a new home. Much like home buying, decorating isn’t a process you want to rush. In fact, I’d say three years later, I’m still in the process of decorating our home. While you won’t find any rooms undone, very few are actually done.
So today I’m sharing my six tips for decorating a new home, based on my personal experiences and mistakes!
Moving into a new home is exciting and overwhelming. I remember being absolutely giddy when we bought ours. Some days I still feel like pinching myself because I can’t believe we’re blessed to live in such a beautiful space.
As grateful and as excited as I was on moving day, I was also overwhelmed with shopping lists and decorating projects I wanted to do. Plus I had a boatload of unpacking and sorting and organizing to do.
And yet I stressed out about having every room fully furnished and completely decorated. I wanted to wake up to my magazine or catalog dream home. And I didn’t want to have to wait for it.
But what I failed to realize is that the most and welcoming beautiful spaces become that way over time. Not in a blink, or the twitch of a nose. They are collected and pieced together, one meaningful find at a time.
Even the rooms you see in catalogs don’t come together overnight. Stylists and designers scour the globe for inspiration and for props long before the photo shoot.
Tip #1 – Give yourself time to live in your new home first before making any major decorating purchases or undertaking any big projects.
Really get a feel for how you’ll use a space before you start filling it with new furniture or buying curtains or rugs or other high-ticket items.
Now, I’m not saying you have to sit on lawn chairs and use cardboard boxes as coffee tables for months, but be cautious about buying expensive furniture just to fill a space.
I can’t tell you how many times I redecorated our keeping room in my head…
Or rearranged furniture in our living room before finding the right-for-us (right now!) configuration.
Be mindful about rushing ahead with big projects right after you move into a new home, no matter how strong the desire to DIY.
Those things that seemed like a high priority in the beginning may no longer top your must-have and must-do list after a few months in your home.
For instance, I was bound and determined to paint our master bathroom as soon as possible. But three years later, the mural I despised when we moved in is still there and it doesn’t bother me so much any more. (But I will paint it someday…)
The laundry room makeover wasn’t even on my radar screen, but it’s a project I appreciate every day while I wash, fluff and fold.
And I never realized how much more I’d love my dining room after painting the wainscoting!
Tip #2: Start an inspiration file.
Though I could blame magazines and catalogs and decorating blogs for making me feel like I had to have my home decorated right away, I won’t.
The truth is they can provide lots of inspiration and help you narrow down your likes and dislikes. And of course, you must start some Pinterest boards.
You’ll also find lots of decorating inspiration at Lennar, as you browse their new home listings in a city near you.
You may even want to create a mood board or smashbook with inspiring images.
Don’t just limit yourself to photographs of pretty interiors. Curate a collection of all that appeals to your eye and inspires you – artwork, clothing, vacation destinations, quotes, photographs from nature and so forth.
Once you have collected these inspirational images, review them and made note of any similarities or patterns in them. Are you drawn to a particular color palette or style? Do the images you’ve chosen evoke a certain mood? Are their repeated motifs in your different images? Make note of these similarities and use them as a starting point for your design.
Tip #3: Set aside money for decorating.
The home we’re in now is about twice the size of our previous one, so I knew I would need (and want) more furnishings than we owned. As we were budgeting to buy our house, we also set aside a bit of money for decorating projects, which we used for everything from paint to furniture to blinds.
When you’re saving to buy a new home, you want to put as much money toward a down payment as possible. But since we had some equity in our old home and a good bit saved for our down payment, it made sense for us to set aside some cash toward making our house a home.
Tip #4: Make a prioritized list of projects and purchases.
Once you’ve spent some time in your new home and collected your inspiration, make a room-by-room list of decorating projects and purchases you’d like to make. I keep a list synced between my phone and my computer, so I always have it with me.
This master list keeps me on track when I’m out hunting or gathering or when I get seduced by some shiny object or magazine spread.
This pretty painted secretary eventually found a home in our master bedroom, but I bought it without a plan. Just because it was pretty and I wanted to bring something home from Lucketts Market. Though I love it, I probably paid too much for it. And if I’d been following my advice, I wouldn’t have bought it.
I also find it helpful to keep room measurements and other essential bits of information with my list so I can know at an instant whether something will work in our home.
It’s also a good idea to have paint colors and fabric swatches handy. Snap a photo of these with your phone. Or better still, keep a small photo album in your purse or car with all your colors and swatches.
Tip #5: Shop yard sales, thrift shops, consignment stores, Craigslist and secondhand stores.
I am a big fan of yard sales; every Saturday morning finds me up and on the road early looking for treasures.
If you have a little vision and you’re willing to do a little work, you can find some amazing furniture and home decor items at yard sales.
I bought this antique buffet, which welcomes guests when they enter our home, on Craigslist and painted it. It was one of the first new pieces of furniture I bought for our home, and it’s still one of my favorites.
After compiling my own inspiration file and pinning dozens of painted buffets, I knew I wanted one for our home. So, I put it on my shopping list and after a few weeks of checking Craigslist diligently, I found one in great shape and at a great price. If I’d purchased new, it would have cost me hundreds, if not thousands.
The striped French chairs in our bedroom were a consignment store find after Furniture Market (it pays to live near the world’s largest furniture trade show!) But I searched for months for the perfect French chairs for our bedroom before happening upon those!
The Empire sideboard was an estate sale find. Again, a piece like this was on my shopping list for a long time before I found one for our keeping room.
You can find so many great things at yard sales, furniture, accessories, kitchenware and more. Furnishing a home this way does require patience (and getting up early), but it’s very budget friendly. And it gives you time to figure out what you really want. (And if you make a bad purchase at a yard sale, you’ve not invested much!)
Tip #6: Aim to finish at least one room.
While decorating a home is a long process, aim to “finish” at least one space in those first months after you move in.
It will give you a sense of accomplishment and a place to escape when the chaos and stress of creating a home overwhelms.
It will also give you permission to take your time elsewhere…
Like when it took me six months to hang the curtains in our living room…
Or two years to finally finish my home office and craft room— the space where I spend the lion’s share of my working hours.
If you’re in the market for a new home, be sure to check out what Lennar has to offer in your area. Lennar is one of the nation’s largest builders of affordable, move-up and retirement homes and has an “Everything’s Included” approach that really simplifies the buying process.
Leaving you plenty of time to focus on the decorating…
Do you have any other tips to add? What’s your best piece of advice for someone decorating a new home?
This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Lennar Homes. The opinions and text are all mine.