There’s nothing quite like the feeling of walking into your new home for the first time. Starting your home decorating can be full of so many emotions. On one hand, you can’t wait to get started and on the other, you can. Sometimes, there is no way of knowing where to start or what to do or even how to decorate.

Designing a home is not something that happens overnight. It takes one practical step at a time.

Read on for some of my best tips on planning and decorating your space with versatility, longevity and quality in mind. And, of course, the budget!

1. Decide what you like. The easiest way to figure out what appeals to you is by looking at photos of other homes. Save your favorite ones in an scrap book. After you’ve collected at least a dozen images, sit down and compare them. What are the common denominators, in terms of color, furniture style, pattern and density of objects in the room?

2.Create a budget. Figure out how much you can spend. If you can’t afford to decorate the whole place at once, pick the room where you spend most of your time and make that your priority. That way when the rest of your home is in a state of upheaval, you’ll have at least one finished place to which you can retreat.

3. Sketch out a floor plan. You’ll find free Handy Online Floor Plan Design and Decorating Tools.The Internet has made this step truly fun, relatively easy to use and flexible!

4.Paint. It’s the cheapest way to personalize a space. Paint is your best friend. You don’t have to paint the whole room. One wall is plenty and as much as most people have patience for. It’s also easy to change it up if you get bored or don’t like the color. You can paint a piece of furniture, dip the legs of your mismatched chairs in paint to unify them or paint a block of color behind your bed to act as a faux headboard.

5. Before you buy, MEASURE.  Before buying new furniture, measure each wall, stairwell and doorway in your house, and sketch a rough floor plan. You don’t want to purchase your dream furniture only to discover it doesn’t fit through the front door. Furniture always looks smaller in a showroom, so it’s wise to bring the actual measurements to get an accurate sense of how it will fit into your own space.

6.Embrace the serendipity. Your first home will not be perfect. There will be odd chairs around your table, a couch that’s a lot fussier than your ideal — and that is exactly how it should be. You’re learning what you like to live with, not just what you like in a picture.

7. Prioritize what you need over what you want. It’s easy to get excited about the décor possibilities in your new home, but try not to get too carried away. Prioritize your purchases by first buying the items you need, then moving to the items that you’d like to own but can do without for now.

8.Hunt for quality secondhand items. Instead of furnishing your entire home with brand new furniture, browse nearby antique, thrift and consignment stores as well as local garage sales. You can also look into online classifieds to see if anyone in your area is selling secondhand furniture. With a little bit of legwork and patience, you could find lightly used pieces at a fraction of their retail price.

A common mistake among new homeowners is spending their entire furniture budgets right away, and then realizing shortly after that some of the pieces don’t go together or fit the room very well. By purchasing furniture gradually, you can save for the purchases you want while exploring your sense of style in your new home. Take your time to find pieces that you really love, rather than going out and buying everything in sight.

A new home is a blank canvas; you get the opportunity to transform each and every room into a personality filled space that you’ll adore. Whether you’re tired of your old space or you’re moving into a new one, decorating is imperative to adding coziness and charm. At the end of the process, it takes hands to build a house..but only Hearts build a Home.

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