This post may contain affiliate links. This means I may make a small commission on any purchase at no cost to you. Think of it as a tip for great content! I only promote products I use or would buy myself.
Congratulate yourself on all the work you have done! The hard part isn’t quite over yet, now you can move in! Do yourself a favor and pack items by room. Pack a bag with clothes and toiletries for the first couple of days. Have a “move-in box” with a can opener, basic cookware, and groceries, paper products (toilet paper, paper towels, plates, cups, flatware). You might also want access to tape, scissors, paper and a pocket knife for opening boxes. That way you don’t have to dig through boxes looking for items you need while unpacking.
Place the furniture you already have in the most logical locations, then make a list of what you need. I would suggest a list in an order of what you need most to least. If you are having difficulty prioritizing, my post on Priority Driven Design might be useful! Put out any décor items you brought with you and decide if you want to keep them in your new space. Donate any items that no longer work or that you don’t feel an attachment to anymore. It is surprising where you can find furniture for little to no money.
Initially, try to find furniture that is free or very inexpensive. There are all kinds of tricks to refurbish items and make them much more attractive than they start out. Start by asking friends, family, and co-workers if they know of anyone getting rid of furniture. My aunt found a rattan sofa and love seat that her neighbors were throwing away. I painted it and made new cushions for it and it worked great until I could get what I wanted! Craig’s list, yard sales, and thrift stores are all also great places to find inexpensive furniture.
It is illegal to resell mattresses, and you probably don’t want someone else’s mattress anyway, so go the retail route on this item. I tell anyone who will listen not to skimp on a mattress. Some of the new boxed mattresses are quite comfortable and cost much less than a mattress and box spring set. Do your homework, read reviews, and research prices. If you don’t have any appliances to buy, your mattress will probably be your biggest expense.
There are so many items you will need to purchase, many of which you may not have even thought about. I have created a free checklist for you here that gives you a general idea of what you may need. Obviously, my list may be different from yours, but this should give you a good overview of the types of things you will need to supply your new home.
For accessories, linens, kitchen items, and small appliances, I recommend yard sales and thrift stores for the most frugal option. Personally, I prefer to buy new on some of these items (especially linens), and can usually find great deals. Try looking at sales, TJMaxx/HomeGoods, Marshall’s, Tuesday Morning, and Hobby Lobby. Overstock and Wayfair also have good prices on some items. Keep an eye out for sales…you can often get great deals on these items if you are willing to wait until they go on sale.
You probably want to buy all new furniture, but I suggest you hold off on this. Unless you have plenty of cash left over after your home purchase, you will probably be on a tight budget for a little while. There are going to be several expenses you are not expecting, and it’s a good idea to keep any extra cash for unexpected situations. Waiting to buy your furniture gives you a chance to live in your space and get a feel for what you really want. If you concentrate on one piece at a time, you can start investing in quality pieces instead of buying a room in a box that will not last as long.
You will need to measure your space regardless, so you have an accurate idea of the size of furniture that will fit in your space. When I moved into my house, I didn’t have a bedroom suite that I wanted for my master bedroom. I went to a furniture clearance warehouse and found a set I fell in love with, but I had not measured. Remembering that my master bedroom seemed quite large, I went ahead and purchased the set. The furniture seemed smaller because it was in a warehouse, and my room looked larger because I had a cathedral ceiling and lots of natural light. The furniture did fit, but I would have preferred something a little smaller leaving me more room to move around. My bedroom is a little tight, to say the least.
I plan to do some future articles on sprucing up thrift store finds and DIY decor. In the meantime, you can find tons of ideas on Pinterest and on several websites dedicated to home decor and crafts. Try to think outside the box on this. I have a beautiful old piece of fabric that I use for wall décor, and I have purchased a lamp kit from Lowe’s and made a lamp out of a pottery piece I found in the perfect colors for my living room.
Garden iron grills, framed maps and fabric, DIY modern art on canvas, and multimedia collages are all unique and inexpensive ways to decorate your walls. I have also seen apparel framed and used as décor…I used framed photographs of men’s and women’s vintage swimsuits to mark the men’s and women’s locker room at a fitness facility with an indoor pool and got several compliments from patrons. And don’t forget the impact of plants. Real and faux plants and arrangements can add depth, texture, color, and interest to any interior.
Now would be a good time for a friend or family member to throw you a housewarming party. Make sure you register at a home store and make sure to tell your guests. I felt kind of weird about having a housewarming party, but my friend convinced me. I don’t think this would be appropriate if you just got gifts from a wedding or shower. If you are starting from scratch, I think it is totally appropriate. We got all the food, beverages, paper plates, cups, etc. at a local warehouse club. I didn’t have much furniture, so my mom brought over folding tables and chairs. The gifts I received are all very special to me and I remember who gave me each item.
Make sure to read “How to Furnish Your New Home Part One- Before You Move In” and “How to Furnish Your New Home Part Three – Making Changes “