Design on a Dime: Five Ways To Make Your First Home Beautiful

July 8, 2016

Have you recently purchased a home for the first time? Congratulations! Here are a few tips to make your first home beautiful.

Have you recently purchased a home for the first time? Congratulations. What an amazing accomplishment. Here are a few tips to make your first home beautiful.

Focus On BIG, Not Accessories

One of the biggest mistakes I’ve made is that I will often find something small and cute that belongs on a bookshelf, and purchase it, thinking it will bring a room together.  Focusing on accessories not only is costly, but unfortunately, it will only do more to clutter than “tie a room together.”

Spend your time and money focusing on how to get the bigger pieces right-  the TV console, the artwork or gallery wall, the paint color, or kitchen table, and then work to bring the eye upward to showcase your furniture.

Don’t make the mistake of cluttering up a place with cute accessories and candles from Target.  Take a cue from the magazine- a few key pieces to accent a bookshelf will go far, or a throw pillow will look great- but don’t overdo it.  Accessories don’t tie a room together if the furniture isn’t a fit!

Declutter & Swap Out Seasonally

While most bloggers will suggest you purge your things (and I concur), it can be hard to get rid of the little things that we’ve accumulated throughout the years.  Additionally, if you have kids or live with a partner, you’ll find that merging two houses can often mean disparate items that don’t go together but have sentimental value. You can refresh your décor seasonally for more impact and less clutter.

Treat your home decor just like Christmas decorations, and have a box of “overflow” that can be used to showcase family heirlooms throughout the year- especially the smaller pieces.   Often, decorating can be emotional. You want to showcase the pieces that have meaning, like your grandmother’s vase or a picture of your family at the beach from childhood.  Know that swapping out pieces once or twice a year on the walls, bookshelves and on coffee tables can breathe new life into your home, but also be a smart compromise when you have a lot of sentimental pieces and can’t give them all of the focus, all of the time.

Consider Curb Appeal

If you’re on a tight budget for your first home like we are, you may not be blown away by your options, at least from the outside.  Know that any home, no matter what it looks like, can be fixed up á la “Fixer Upper” with gorgeous accents to really bring your home into the latest decade.


From “52 Ways To Add Curb Appeal To Your Home” via DIY Cozy Home

Curb appeal is one of those things that everyone appreciates, but it doesn’t have to be expensive.  Lay out a landscaping plan by taking inspiration from houses in your neighborhood, and buy your plants wholesale from a grower to save money.

New hardware on a front door, a porch swing or even something as cost effective as a bright door color with a beautiful handmade wreath will up the ante without too much cash!

Understand Your Style Before You Start Spending

Most homeowners fall into one of two categories: the person who loves to constantly tinker, move furniture, redecorate, repaint and update their home, or the person who wants to set it and forget it so rooms look nice, but are functional as soon as possible.

Knowing yourself and how often you like to make updates to your color palette and decor elements will inform how you should invest your time and money in the house.  If you’d rather achieve a certain look and don’t plan on messing with it for years, it might be smarter to go room by room and invest in pieces you will love for years, even if they cost a bit more upfront, or take more time to DIY your space.

If you’re more of an experimental, work in progress, type of person and love taking old pieces to upcycle, and LOVE the idea of playing with paint chips, your budget and timeline should reflect that.

If you’re more “set it and forget it,” set a budget for your room and take it one room at a time to avoid being overwhelmed.  If you draw your inspiration from incorporating pieces as they’re discovered, you may want to set an overall budget for home updates on a monthly basis, but keep track of what you’ve bought and where it will go. It also helps for the “tinker” types to also take note of what a room lacks, and get concrete ideas of what items, colors and accessories are needed in the room so you’re not picking up things that are just “too good to pass up.”

Remember It’s A Work In Progress

If you’re on a budget, even “small” updates can seem overwhelmingly expensive.  Start with the room you use the most or the room that’s not fitting your needs and simply work there.  Getting one room updated and decorated just as you like it will give you a greater emotional payoff and when you’re working to save for a bathroom update, you can step into your gorgeous office or sleek kitchen to get excited.

I have a tendency to want to do everything at once, but not only is it financially overwhelming, it’s emotionally overwhelming.  It’s totally OK to do one room at a time, and in fact, it may just be sanity saving.

This post was written as part of the Allstate Influencer Program and sponsored by Allstate. All opinions are mine. As the nation’s largest publicly held personal lines insurer, Allstate is dedicated not only to protecting what matters most–but to help protect your firsts and the moments in between. Share your firsts with #HeresToFirsts

12 comments so far.

12 responses to “Design on a Dime: Five Ways To Make Your First Home Beautiful”

  1. I think decluttering is a huge part of designing a beautiful space. I go through and “purge” every year and I am always amazed how much I get rid of/accumulate. It’s also a great way to make cash …which you can then spend on home decor items that bring you joy.

  2. Michelle says:

    Curb appeal is so important. Whenever I see that before and after photo above, I still cannot believe it. So amazing looking after!

  3. Maryann says:

    There’s a lot you can do with a little bit of creativity! 🙂

  4. Ashley says:

    Love this as I’m saving for a house!

  5. Susanne says:

    Some of our best memories were fixing up our first house. So special.

  6. lisa says:

    That point about the stories really hit home. When I’m down I focus on the romance of my marriage and then it seems real and has continued for 21 years. I see so many people splitting up or getting divorced lately which makes me sad. Yet sometime I think I’m just making it up but then I think it is true and fall in love all over again. SO, that makes me less judgmental about other people’s relationships. Loved this post!!carpet cleaning company

  7. jack says:

    I had found a dead moon shell and it was quite stained with algae. I followed your directions and I’m SO pleased! it looks just beautiful! All the green staining is gone, and all the subtle tans and golds on the outside of the shell are still there. It looks great! THANK YOU.rug cleaning fayetteville nc

  8. lisa says:

    Curb appeal is so important. Whenever I see that before and after photo above, I still cannot believe it. So amazing looking after!canada flooding cleanup

  9. lisa says:

    Hi, Right you are about the tips you shared, Alexa. They were what I did when my kids were younger. I enjoyed and loved decorating their bedroom and everything worked out fine until each one turned 12 or 13 (they’re all grown ups now) and then it’s a whole different story again.garage


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