You’ve just tied the knot and you are moving into your first home together. Now you do not want an extension of the college apartment or bachelor pad. You want your new home to be your new nest. It could be simple. It does not have to be expensive. But we want it to be inviting, tasteful and well put together. Let us assume that you are working on a budget. Here are some tips to make your first house a home for both of you. Decide on a décor style and colour palette. I suggest a neutral paint colour to pull everything together. But try to find a neutral colour with more ‘colour’ than off white! Look toward the medium and dark tones. This will be the backdrop. You must be able to accommodate the style of both partners. Be clear about what you do not like and seek agreement on styles and things that you both admire and feel comfortable with. This will help with decisions on what to keep, what to repurpose and what not to include in your new space. If it does not fit the colour and style of the space and cannot be changed to do so, out it goes. To save on stress, get an agreement on this before you begin the de-selection process, though. Decide and stick to it. But in your decision, try not to be too rigid.
What to keep? You have the challenge merging both your things with the gifts that you would have gotten into your new nest.
This can be a daunting task. If you are like me and got 3 or 4 of the same things as wedding presents, consider re-gifting, donating or exchanging. If you both have stuff, sit and make a decision about what goes into the new space before you move and not after. When making the decision consider the size and style of the new space; think of how you want the space to function and feel and think of your intended lifestyle. Get rid of all the wobbly furniture, faulty appliances and broken accessories. Keep it simple. The aim is to get a comfortable nest without breaking the bank. Simple things like changing knobs and handles on cabinetry, painting the cabinets, changing lamp shades and lighting fixtures, purchasing new bedding, changing plumbing fixtures such as faucets or a fresh coat of paint can make the place look like a million dollars. Remember, paint and other finishes can be used to unify otherwise seemingly disparate objects. Reupholster chairs and sofas, paint walls and furniture, use rugs, carpet and other flooring to bring the room together. Be creative. The key is to choose wisely. Keep it simple. Ensure that everything works well together. You don’t have to select the ‘nicest’ in everything. Select quality. Quality shows and junky, cheap stuff looks like, well... junky cheap stuff.
Don’t buy everything all at once. Resist trying to have the place entirely and perfectly furnished before you move in. Why? Try living in the home for a while. See how you “wear” the place and then see what you may need. You may think that you need a dining table, for instance. But when you have lived in the space for two months, you realise that you needed a larger one. Or you may prefer investing in a flat screen TV! For the same reason, be cautious with renovating. Updating the kitchen may be more important than updating the bathroom or den. Why not pool funds for a better kitchen renovation instead of trying to do all at once? Resist trying to have everything match. If everything matches perfectly it will look more like a department store rather than a comfortable nest. In life nothing is perfectly balanced or symmetrical. Your nest will feel more comfortable and organic if you inject some personal style and resist the furniture showroom look. For a comfortable nest you would be trying for a space with some soul; some character. This is another reason why you should not seek to get everything all at once from the same set from the same place. Discuss your ideas and visions and make sure you are on the same page. Communication is key. If one partner prefers not to be bothered with the details, make a short list to help them decide. (But always include them.) Happy Nesting!