So you closed the deal, got the keys, and you’re ready to move in—but now what? Whether it’s your first home or you’re making a fresh start, chances are you need just about everything. Which, let’s face it, is enough to make anyone start breathing into a brown paper bag. But before you start searching “DIY cardboard sofas” on Pinterest, take a deep breath and follow our checklist for a manageable way to take on the project with stellar style.
1. Determine your style: Before you purchase a single thing, you have to find your aesthetic. Whether it’s clean and modern or rustic industrial, our style quiz can help you figure it out. Consider creating a mood board to keep a visual diary of everything you like, and look for common themes.
2. Take inventory: So now that you’ve settled on a look, take inventory of anything you have that will work, and remember that it’s okay to keep things that serve a temporary purpose.
3. Take measurements: Don’t cramp your style with furniture that is too large for your space. And likewise, furniture that is too small will leave your room feeling barren and cold. No matter how fabulous a given piece is, the most important part is that it works in your specific space. Get tips on getting it just right with our furniture size buying guide.
4. Start with the basics: This is the fun part—shopping time! Armed with your style and measurements, it’s time to hit the furniture stores and let the decorating begin. Start by getting the essentials for each room: a comfortable and supportive mattress for the bedroom, a sofa for the living room, and a table and chairs for the dining room. These are items that have everyday use, and you shouldn’t hesitate to purchase.
5. Fill in the blanks: After you’ve moved in and have an idea of your new home’s flow, you can make decisions like whether you need a china cabinet or server for the dining room. Every piece you add will bring finesse into your home, from a credenza by the front door to an accent chair in the bedroom.
6. Add accessories: Accents like wall décor, table lamps, and rugs add personality and polish to your home, and you should start collecting items that appeal to you—and never be afraid to design outside the box, like we did here.
7. Go for quality: Remember, these are items that you’re keeping for the long run, and investing in quality pieces that last will always pay off.
Read more of our Buyer’s Guide series for more tips.