Are you in the midst of building your dream home and now it’s time to start thinking about furnishing your new home?!
I assume you are already a *tinch* overwhelmed with all of the design decisions … and now you have to make even MORE decisions on how to furnish your home?! Yikes!
I’ll lay out a plan(ish) below that will give you guidance on where to start when decorating your new home and how to confidently make decisions when furnishing your blank slate!
We’ll cover the following: (1) deciding on what you need to buy, (2) what to purchase first vs. what can be purchased later, (3) when to order furniture, and (4) common ‘mistakes’ to avoid.
TAKING INVENTORY: WHAT DO I NEED TO BUY FOR MY NEW HOME?
FIRST, you need to assess the current inventory in your home … you need to decide what furniture (and accents) will move to your next home with you (as well as what you will donate or sell).
I recommend creating a simple Word or Google doc (or spreadsheet) and create categories based on all the rooms in your new home. List out all the furniture and accents that you already have for each room; followed by a list of what you need to purchase for each room.
Once you have your lists, go ahead and rank purchases by priority … start with the most important rooms and most important pieces of furniture (see the next section for further explanation).
Related Post: 20 GREAT PLACES TO SHOP FOR MID-PRICED HOME DECOR ONLINE
WHAT FURNITURE/DECOR SHOULD I BUY FIRST?
Again, start with the MOST important rooms first (i.e. the most ‘lived in’ rooms)! Go ahead and purchase the following pieces initially (if you need any of these): sofas, beds, mattresses, dressers, dining tables, and dining chairs. In the next section, we’ll discuss when to order furniture.
You can (and really should) wait to purchase decor and accents (rugs, art, accent furniture, decorative pieces or ‘knick-knacks’, etc.) AFTER you move into your home. It’s best to get a feel for your home before you start really decorating it! You can even wait to purchase furniture that will be in underutilized rooms (e.g. guest bedroom).
If you want to purchase small household items such as kitchen wares and linens before you move in, GO FOR IT!
Related Post: WHERE TO SPLURGE AND WHERE TO SAVE WHEN DECORATING
WHEN SHOULD I ORDER FURNITURE FOR MY NEW HOME?
I recommend starting to look for the furniture you need at least FOUR months before you are scheduled to move into your new home.
I know this sounds a little crazy, but trust me on it! I have waited up to four months for furniture to be delivered! It happens with some retailers (typically custom or semi-custom furniture), unfortunately.
Lower end retailers tend to have a MUCH shorter lead (delivery) time because they manufacture furniture in bulk. However, I would bank on the average time for furniture delivery to be roughly 4-10 weeks.
If you start looking four months prior to move-in, you can find what you want and then order based on that particular retailer’s time frame (e. g. you can order six weeks before the move-in date if they have a six-week delivery time).
This should allow furniture to arrive around the same time as you move into your new home!
Visit MY HOME TOUR to see how I decorate my own custom home.
COMMON ‘MISTAKES’ WHEN FURNISHING A NEW HOME
Let me first say … I do NOT believe in MISTAKES when decorating your home! I say this because I do NOT enjoy when interior design professionals make someone feel icky (or lacking in skill) because she did something ‘wrong’.
With that said, there ARE some common decorating tendencies that you can avoid!
‘MISTAKE’ 1: BUYING EVERYTHING AT ONCE
You do NOT have to furnish your house all at once! Take your time and really think about how you want to decorate your home! Designing a well-thought-out home is NOT a race; it’s more of a marathon … especially if you plan to live in your new home for several years!
‘MISTAKE’ 2: LOOKING LIKE A PAGE FROM A CATALOG
Similar to ‘mistake’ 1, take your time and slowly purchase items (from various retailers and boutiques) that you really LOVE! Don’t just furnish a room to make sure it’s complete and checked off your list!
Don’t get me wrong … homes that look like the page of a Pottery Barn or Restoration Hardware catalog are gorgeous BUT they lack personal design style. Take your time and create a home that feels more personal and curated with things that make YOU happy … things that represent YOUR personality (not a perfectly curated catalog shoot)!
‘MISTAKE’ 3: NOT UTILIZING YOUR MEASURING TAPE
I know it is VERY difficult to measure a house that is under construction but still do it to the best of your ability! You can even get the measurements directly from your floor plan construction drawings!
Also, do NOT forget to measure (or look at floor plan measurements of) doorways and hallways before purchasing large pieces of furniture! Make sure you have enough room to get the furniture you choose into your house and through your doors and halls!
If you are worried about whether or not a piece of furniture will fit in your new home, take your floor plan with you to the retailer and have the sales associate plug in the furniture dimensions into your floor plan. You can also use a space planning app to see how furniture will fit in your rooms!
I hope you now feel REALLY excited (and less overwhelmed) about furnishing your new home! You can take the pressure off yourself … you do NOT have to figure out all of your home decor before you move in! Just start with the most important pieces of furniture (as stated in the post above) and save the rest for later!
If you want to dive a little deeper and get guided help in making your home decor decisions, grab my *FREE* Guided Design Decision Worksheet!
Thank you, Carrie, for sharing such a helpful article about new home furnishing ideas. I did the same mistakes again and again because I was not familiar with these problems. Thanks again for the tricks.
Hi Sarah! I’m so glad you found this post helpful! I think we all make little ‘mistakes’ here and there … in reality, they aren’t mistakes; just learning lessons! xo, Carrie
[…] Like landscaping, you can buy furniture in stages! Focus on the most important pieces first and then replace other furniture over time. I walk you through the process of choosing what to buy NOW and what to purchase later in HOW TO FURNISH YOUR NEW HOME (WHEN BUILDING). […]
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This is a brilliant post, thank you for sharing these great tips. I think you are right with mentioning the furniture 4 months before moving to a new house. It is definitely a good idea to plan the furniture a little earlier. Please visit the link below: https://homedesigncompany.co.nz/