Buying your first home is expensive, furnishing it doesn’t have to be. Decide what you actually need and not what you actually want to begin with. You can buy gizmos and gadgets over time but initially keep your costs down by looking at our tips listed below. Remember, if you are on a tight budget, keep an eye out for stores having sales and don’t worry if everything isn’t brand new, used furniture can add a certain charm to your home and you can get some really good deals on Kijiji and Craigslist!
Things to buy NOW:
Bed: Buy a decent mattress. Not only is it a good investment, as it will likely last you for years, it saves the constant back ache from waking up on an air mattress! A frame isn’t really a must have but they are relatively inexpensive and your friends will be impressed when they check out the master and see that the mattress isn’t thrown on the floor.
Queen size mattress: $399 to $2,400.
Sofa: Sitting on the floor is pretty awful for any number of hours. Also, awkward if friends come to visit. If a second hand one is not an option for you, keep an eye out for Store sales events. Always remember your budget; just because you like the 4 seat leather sofa, with bonus recliner and ‘free’ love seat – doesn’t mean you can afford it.
Fabric Sectionals and Sofas: $700 to $4,200.
Leather Sectionals and Sofas: $1,800 to $4,000.
Table and Chairs: Buying a table and chairs gives you a real place to entertain guests, (a more formal area than the kitchen island). Also remember the space you have in your home to fit them in. No point buying that table to seat eight if people are not going to freely be able to walk around it.
Table & 4 chairs: $160 to $5,700.
Pots and Pans: So unless you are the king or queen of take-out, you will need a few good quality non-stick pans. No need to go crazy, but believe me, buy too cheap and you live to regret it. Nothing worse than trying to impress friends and having to scrape your very first home made supper off the bottom of the pan – and then order pizza!
Price: Canadian Tire
Saucepans of all shapes and sizes to suit: $12.99 to $89.99 with multiset options up to $270.
Crockery, Glassware, Cutlery: Unless you enjoy paper and plastic, you may want to buy some of these items. Just remember – many times these things can be bought individually. If you know it is unlikely that you will be entertaining huge parties, just get what you need for now, you can always add to later. Also crystal glasses are nice but are not essential at this point in your life, unless you are going to lock them away to look at I would buy glasses that won’t break your heart when they get broken.
Single wine glasses: $1. Sets wine glasses $7.99 to $20.00. Highball, beverage $24.
Window Treatments: Depending on the size of your home and the number of coverings you are going to need, the first thing to ask is are my window standard sizes, can I buy them directly off the shelf or will they have to be custom made. Either way this can be a very expensive purchase so choose wisely, you don’t want to buy drapes on a whim just because they look funky and then six months down the line wonder why did I choose those?
Custom: Call Stores for Quotes
Off the Shelf: Drapes $12 – $30. Blinds: $4 – $180.
Lighting: How well lit is your new home? Are there dimmer switches to create that cozy ambience? If not a couple of stand lamps may work for you. Or, if you prefer table lamps, but then you have to buy the tables too.
Table to Floor: $6 to $169.
Bed Linen: We have the bed, but do we have bed linen? I am sure mom has a stash of them somewhere that she would be happy to pass on, but if you need to buy new, don’t go crazy! If top Egyptian cotton is a must be sure you still have enough in the budget, otherwise check out the offers in the department stores. Once again, bedding is probably more expensive than you think. Another tip – make sure you know the size of your mattress before going bedding shopping. Oh, and don’t forget your pillows!
Comforter Sets: $50 – $155. Sheets: $12 – $100. Pillows $4 – $200
Towels: As with the bedding, you are going to need some towels. Again, go see mom. I am sure that every time she decided to change a colour scheme in the bathrooms or kitchen she probably changed the colour of these too. If not, there is a hierarchy of towels like bed linen, but to begin with just go to the regular stores such as Ikea, Bed Bath and Beyond or even Walmart. Don’t forget you’ll be needing a bath mat too. You can always upgrade at a later date and the ones from your first purchase can be used for guests.
Set of 4 towels $20 – $40. Bath Mat: $4 – $20.
Things to buy LATER:
Storage Units and/or Shelving: This could fall in either category depending on whether you are prepared to live with some of your stuff in storage boxes for a while but my recommendation would be hold off buying fancy storage units until you bought all of the truly essential items. You will then know how much of your budget is left and can pick pieces that blend in with your new purchases.
TV and Media: Smart TV’s and Boise sound sticks are a nice to have, but they can wait. Music you can play from your I-phone, I-pad, laptop. TV – I am fairly sure that a family member will have at least one to spare, most households do. But if not check out your new best friends, Craigslist, Kijiji etc. If you are not dead-set about it having to be the newest model, with the price tag to match, you should be able to find something here that won’t break the bank.
Headboard: A headboard will finish off your bed but it is not essential and can wait until you have recouped some of your finances.
Rugs: A rug can make such a huge difference to the look and feel of a room, but again you don’t realize how much they cost until you actually need one. Why not get the really essential items first and then you can coordinate your rugs with the colours that you want to pop in your home.
Artwork: Most of us appreciate a good piece of artwork, but it is definitely not a must have immediate purchase. Again wait until you have your rooms almost how you want them to be and then go out and buy art based on taste, colours and budget. Artwork can be built up over many years and remember, it is a very personal choice, but be mindful of where you place your choices and of those who are going to be visiting your home frequently! You may love the nude from when the artist did a personal sitting of your significant other, but that may be a little uncomfortable for guests if it’s hanging over the fireplace in the great room.
Soft Furnishings: Throws, cushions, candles can make your home more intimate and more cohesive but can also add up to a small fortune. When you think it’s a great idea to pop into Ikea or any other of our favourite High Street stores just to pick up a few bits and pieces, remember check out the price tag and do the math.
Mirrors: A clever way of making a smaller space look bigger when used well. Initially the only things you are likely to need a mirror for is to check your hair and/or makeup and make sure you dressed yourself properly. Surely the ones in the ensuite and master bathroom can suffice for that purpose. Get settled in, decide if you do need to use an ornate mirror to give the impression of more room. There are mirrors out there to suit every budget so do your homework carefully and have an idea of size, design and price point.
I hope our guide has given you an insight on what to expect to save up to start making your home your castle.
Happy Shopping – and no cheating! Stick to what you need!
Photo credit: furniture show room, living room artwork