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How to Furnish Your First House

Linda is a seasoned writer and bedrooms authority. She loves sharing design trends, decor ideas, and useful tips with her readers.

6 Staple Furniture Pieces

Buying your first home is the ultimate in personal independence. Chances are you’ve either been living at home with your parents or sharing an apartment with roommates or with a significant other to save money for a down payment.

While you're in saving mode, keep in mind the furniture you’ll need to make your new home comfortable. Your home should be a reflection of your personal style instead of a mishmash of rickety hand-me-downs or cheap, ready-to-assemble furniture. Make the most of a limited budget by selecting quality furniture pieces that will serve you for years to come.

Take your time to find the right bed. Try it out in the store before you bring it home.

Take your time to find the right bed. Try it out in the store before you bring it home.

1. Bed

We spend roughly one-third of our lives in bed, so it stands to reason you would want to purchase the most comfortable one that you can afford. It is an investment that will serve you for a good 10-15 years.

A mattress is designed to provide the ultimate comfort as you slumber. Too soft, and it will provide little in the way of support and may even result in lower back pain and stiffness. Too firm can put undue pressure on hip and shoulder joints, causing tenderness and restless sleep. The perfect mattress will conform to your body’s contours whether you’re a back, side, or stomach sleeper.

There are many types of mattresses out there, including innerspring, latex foam, memory foam, air chamber, and water-foam combinations. If possible, try them all before you purchase any. If you are still having difficulty finding a comfortable mattress, purchase a temporary inflatable mattress until you find the bed of your dreams.

Make sure your new sofa fits in the room and has plenty of space for napping, reading and watching TV.

Make sure your new sofa fits in the room and has plenty of space for napping, reading and watching TV.

2. Sofas

Sofas come in a wide range of fabrics, styles, and prices. Second, only to your bed, it will be the most important piece of furniture you purchase. Look for a sturdy hardwood, kiln-dried frame, and eight-way, hand-tied springs. Ask about the frame construction. Well-built frames include wooden dowel and corner block joinery—not metal brackets, screws, and staples.

Durable, stain-resistant fabrics and loose back and seat cushions will make maintenance a breeze. Choose cushions made with a high-resilient foam core surrounded by down and wrapped in polyester batting. Regularly vacuum and flip the cushions to extend their life.

Take your space measurements with you to make sure the sofa will fit in the room. If you're single and have a compact apartment, a small sofa might be the right size for you. If you're a couple who likes to entertain or a large family, you should consider a sectional that will accommodate everyone. Durable upholstery in a neutral color is best for children and pets.

Decide on the table shape based on the space and find comfortable chairs for long, relaxed dinner parties.

Decide on the table shape based on the space and find comfortable chairs for long, relaxed dinner parties.

3. Dining Table and Chairs

Surely you want a place to eat other than the coffee table, don’t you? Even if you rarely use it for its intended purpose, a dining table and chairs can serve multiple functions. A dining table can be used as a computer desk, craft space, or a place to host a poker night. Most importantly, you will have a “grown-up” place to dine when entertaining family and friends.

Choose from a round, square, rectangular, or oval shape depending on the dimensions of your room. Round and square tables are great for intimate dinners, while oval and rectangular tables can accommodate more guests. When you shop for dining tables, look for solid hardwood construction and a style that coordinates with other furnishings. You may prefer a mahogany table to coordinate with dark wood flooring. Perhaps a rustic harvest table is a better look for your contemporary country dining and kitchen area.

Don’t listen to your mom on this one. Your dining chairs do not have to match your table. Oftentimes, tables and chairs are sold as part of a collection. However, it is more fun to pair a chunky wood table with wicker or upholstered chairs rather than a matching set.

While color and style are great reasons to choose dining chairs, remember that comfort is a huge factor as well. And just think—if your dining chairs are comfy enough, you can move them into your living area as accent chairs when they're not in use at the table.

Components can create a stylish media center and a wall of storage.

Components can create a stylish media center and a wall of storage.

4. Storage Pieces

Pieces for storage such as buffets, bookcases, dressers, armoires, and media cabinets are indispensable furniture items for first-time homeowners. This is especially true if your home is older and lacks closet space.

As with other key furniture pieces, you should get the best quality you can afford. Storage furniture gets a lot of daily wear and tear, so don’t be tempted to skimp by purchasing bargain pieces. You can also get more for your money if you buy dual-purpose furniture such as a bed frame with built-in storage, a bench with a lift-up seat, a coffee table with a lower shelf or drawers, or a media center with shelving and hidden compartments.

A variety of side tables are practical and give your living room an eclectic look.

A variety of side tables are practical and give your living room an eclectic look.

5. Accent Tables

Once you have determined the seating components for your living areas, you will need a few accent tables as a landing spot for lamps, magazines, drinks, and decorative items. Use your imagination and search for unexpected items that look cool and function properly. A large terracotta pot paired with a glass top is a cheap, funky alternative to a traditional accent table.

Visit garage sales to find sturdy side tables that need a little TLC. A brisk sanding and fresh coat of paint will give them a new look. Consignment stores and discount retailers are also your best friend when looking for fun and inexpensive accent tables.

Ottomans can be used for additional seating, coffee tables and foot rests.

Ottomans can be used for additional seating, coffee tables and foot rests.

6. Ottomans

Here’s a thought on how to save money and add extra seating in a room. You can find many options for ottomans, poufs, and upholstered cubes from retailers these days. Buy a large ottoman and let it double as a coffee table. Just place a tray on top to create a level surface. Cubes are perfect footrests, side tables, or chairs when entertaining. Consider a coffee table complete with upholstered cubes that tuck neatly underneath when not in use.

Tips on Furnishing Your First House

  • Make a list of furniture essentials.
  • Prioritize furnishing areas of most use before other rooms in your home.
  • Take your budget into account before spending too much on high-priced furniture. Start by refurbishing, recycling and repurposing solid furniture pieces.
  • Draw out a floor plan with exact measurements indicating locations of outlets, windows, doorways, halls and stairs.
  • Determine your style by looking through design books and magazines and add personal touches throughout.
  • Begin by keeping it minimal and using neutral colors as a background. It keeps the clutter down and you can add pops of color.

© 2018 Linda Chechar

Start a Conversation!

Linda Chechar (author) from Arizona on December 18, 2018:

You are so welcome, Emmy! Glad you liked it! :)

Eman Abdallah Kamel from Egypt on December 18, 2018:

Thank you, Linda, for this beautiful article. I enjoyed reading it.

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