Two kids in our family bought their first homes this month. Whether renting or buying, moving into a new place usually means facing some empty rooms waiting to be filled with furniture, beds, art, rugs, decor—the stuff of life!
Yes, it can seem daunting and a bit costly, but what a pleasure a beautiful home can be. It’s immensely satisfying to flip through design magazines, watch HGTV for ideas, browse furniture websites, look at Pinterest and create your own castle. Even if you can’t afford to make it all happen at once, it helps to have a master plan.
Most of us are not super talented at designing the home of our dreams. Would you let an amateur paint your house, perform an appendectomy, give you legal advice, fix your car? Probably not. But it’s always surprising to me how many people don’t bring in professional interior design help when it comes to making their house a home. The American Society of Interior Designers offers an online find-a-pro directory.
You may think designers are too expensive, but many offer consultation services on a limited-hour basis. I once asked a local designer to come to my home for just a few hours. She transformed my house using what I already owned just by moving furniture around. When she left, I fell in love with my house all over again. For a few hundred dollars, she saved me hundreds of thousands of dollars because I no longer yearned to move!
The master bedroom we just made over could not have come together as perfectly as it did without the help of Michael, a design associate at Room & Board in Washington, D.C. He really guided us.
And it was an interior designer at Ethan Allen years ago who gave me a way to add more seating with fewer chairs: I added a bench that doubled as a front hall piece. Brilliant.
I owe my well put-together family room to an inspiring adventure at IKEA years ago. Nothing like copying what the pros have done on a show room floor—right down to the throw pillows.
Want ideas? Call in a pro or walk through a furniture store to get inspired—and tap into the often-free design consultation services they offer –as a way to turn your first, or current home, into your dream home.
No need to rush to buy everything for your first home at once. As designer Terence Conran says in the New York Times article, A Beginner’s Guide to Decorating Your First Home, “live with your home first and understand the space before gradually furnishing it and adding color.”
About the Contributor
Helen Sullivan is Communications Counsel for the CertiPUR-US® program.