So, you just moved into your first place. You are so excited, and can’t wait to start making your house a home. I totally get it; it reminds me of how I felt when I moved into my first apartment. I also remember the big decorating flops I made, although I have tried to forget. Before you head off to Target to start buying all the things for your new space, here are some common rookie mistakes to avoid.
1. Not creating a budget
Filling a space for the sake of filling a space is a major mistake. Take your time looking for pieces that you love and that truly inspire you. Write the maximum amount of money you can spend, and create a budget that is 85% of that number. This will give you a bit of wiggle room for unexpected expenses, like delivery costs. Write out an itemized wish list for the space; then, prioritize that list. This will help you to feel more in control when you go shopping.
For example, if you are designing your living room and the most you can spend is $1,000, create a budget for $850. Next, decide what is most important. This could be a gorgeous tufted sofa, or a beautiful, colorful rug. Even if that one item takes up your whole budget, THAT IS OK! If you love it that much, get it. You can create a plan to save over time for other items in the room and buy as you go. Don’t fill a room with items you don’t love, just because they were “in the budget.” There is no rush! Having a hard time creating a budget and sticking to it? This budgeting planner from Amazon Prime is a life saver!
2. Not vision boarding
You don’t have to make a physical board; Pinterest is perfect for this. Searching through pictures to see what you naturally gravitate towards will help you narrow down what you are looking for. Don’t be afraid to take some inspiration pictures with you when shopping to help you focus. You can also try to create some buzz words, and keep them with you. I am always thinking things like “bright,” “airy,” “Joanna Gaines.” Make it your own! If you aren’t able to find the “perfect piece” for your vision in your budget, KEEP SEARCHING. Trust me girl, it’s out there. Have fun with the process and take your time!
3. Impulse buying
We’ve all been there. It’s pretty, shiny, and looks amazing in the store, so you buy it without hesitation. Once you get it home you realize it just doesn’t look as great in your space as it did in the store. It’s the same item, how can this be? The best way to avoid this situation is to wait. Take a million pictures of the item at all different angles, in different lighting if possible. Take your pictures home and evaluate. Does it still look as good as it did in the store? Likewise, take pictures of the space you are shopping for so you can really visualize.
It’s easy to forget what your space looks like when you are looking at that ottoman in the perfectly staged store. Bring paint chips with you that match your space’s color scheme too. Trust me; if the color just kind of matches or that piece just kind of goes with your decor, you will only kind of like it when you get home. Take your time, and build a space you love.
4. Not reading reviews.
This especially applies to online shopping. A picture of something online may be completely different in person. When people are either elated or unhappy with their item, they tend to include a lot of detail and sometimes pictures. Focus on the worst reviews first to see if complaints are directly related to the quality of the item, or something insignificant like “shipping took too long.” If there are not any reviews on the item yet, try to find it from another seller by doing a reverse image search. More likely than not, you will be able to find something.
If you find something in the store that you absolutely love, go home and try to search for reviews. Looking up reviews in the store can feel like pressure and may deter you from really doing your homework. It’s important to make an informed decision, because it is not always easy to return something once it’s been purchased.
5. Not asking for a discount
You should walk away from every purchase feeling like you got the best deal possible. Most places will initially give you a hard time, but in my experience, they can almost always take off the percentage of tax or a delivery fee. When you are talking about a major purchase, that could be a nice chunk of change!
If you are buying online, always do a reverse image search to see if anyone else sells the same item for cheaper. I found end tables I loved for my living room, but they were a little more than I wanted to spend. I did a search to find the same end tables elsewhere for cheaper and ended up finding them on another site for about $30 less each, and I also got free express shipping. I felt like a champ when they arrived two days later, and it only took an additional 15 minutes to save me $60+.
Whether you rent or own, the space you live in should make you happy and inspire you every time you walk in the door. Your home is an external representation of your inner self. If you have an idea of what you want your space to look like or styles you are drawn to, don’t settle for anything less. When you have a tight budget, there is always a way to DIY something or get the look for less. My husband and I furnished our entire 1st apartment from Goodwill and those shopping trips were some of the most fun we have ever had.
You’re not a rookie anymore! Go into the world of home decor with confidence you savvy shopper, you. Above all, remember to have fun with the process!
You are loved,