Furnishing your new home: tips and tricks to make it easy

Furnishing your first home can be exciting and daunting. The many questions that run through your head sound something like, “What colour should the drapes be? Where should our crockery cabinet go? What pictures should be hung where?” and so forth. But, with some simple tips and tricks, furnishing your new home can be both fun and easy.

Start with a neutral palette

Starting with a neutral palette gives you a good base for any room in your house. Choosing monotones, such as black and white, or stone or oatmeal tones will allow you to work up from that and insert some sophisticated pops of colour in your furniture and accessories.

For your bedroom, bedroom furniture is best left in neutral tones, making your bedding and accessories stand out. Choosing furniture and wall colours that are more toned down will also make cleaning easier and will not highlight dirt as much as brightly coloured objects do.

Know your room dimensions

This may seem simple but it can be forgotten during the homebuying process. Knowing the dimensions of the rooms in your house will allow you to purchase furniture that will fit perfectly, or to arrange furniture you already have for the best flow.

A large open-plan living room may make your furniture seems smaller, and a small cramped dining room will make your dining table appear larger and the space more cluttered. It is best to measure the rooms before you even start packing, so you know exactly what you can and cannot fit in your new space.

Scale art to your walls

Once you have the dimensions of the room, you can plan what art to hang where. It would look disproportionate to hang a small piece of art high up on the largest wall of your living room, and similarly, it would look cluttered having a large painting on a short, small wall.

A helpful tip to remember when hanging art is that the middle of a picture should be at eye level. If you want to create a focal point on a long wall with a lot of room, you could group smaller pictures in gallery style or have one oversized piece as a conversation starter.

Hang at least one mirror in main rooms

Mirrors are known for reflecting light around a room that can feel small or cluttered, so be sure to hang at least one mirror in these small spaces. You will need to place them in strategic places, and be sure they are perpendicular to a window and not facing it directly.

Put up a variety of differently shaped mirrors, such as oval, rectangular, convex and concave. Having differently shaped mirrors dotted around your home not only brightens up the rooms but also creates a focal point without the need to hang wall art. Mirrors can also create the illusion of space in a smaller room.

Try not to match everything

Many furniture stores have showrooms with furniture and decor that matches exactly. While this may look great in-store, trying this technique at home can make your house look generic and lifeless.

Some matching pieces are acceptable, such as a lounge suite, but you should ensure that your own signature style shines through. Your top priority should be the scale, proportions and balance of your furniture and accessories. Having a brightly coloured rug under grey couches or mismatching cushions on dining room chairs puts a unique stamp on your home, so let your creativity soar.

Do some DIY

If you find that some fixtures and furnishings are not to your liking but you cannot afford to splash out on new ones, give the old fixtures the Cinderella DIY treatment. You could repaint old cabinets in the colours you prefer and give them new door handles for a fresher look.

Kitchen countertops in outdated wooden vinyl can get a new lease of life by being removed and recovered in varnished plywood or chipboard. You can repaint tiled walls too, using specialised paint and products to give your new bathroom a unique and personalised look. The options are endless if you follow instructions and take safety precautions.

Home is where the heart is

Remember that your new house will fast become your new home, so be sure that your personality shines through as much as possible. Let your creativity run free when looking at home decor and furnishings, but stay within reason. Having an overly bright, cluttered home can be unsettling to visitors and other family members.