What to Invest in When Furnishing a New Home
When furnishing a new home, there are two major temptations. The first is to invest lots of money to fill every corner of your place with new furniture and decor. And the second is to settle for cheaper options and postpone big purchases for as long as possible.
Neither extreme, however, lands you a comfortable home--both financially or physically.
Instead we recommend finding a middle ground. Skimp on the small furnishings (or save them for later) and focus on the main living areas. Save where you can but do invest in the rooms where you sleep, eat, and entertain.
Invest in the Bedroom
A comfortable, well-constructed bed is definitely worth the hefty price-tag, especially since we spend about a third of our time in bed (likely more if you read or scroll through your phone before sleeping). In a typical bedroom, the bed also takes up a large portion of space, essentially setting the tone and feel of the room. So investing in a quality bed frame and mattress--that you like--is crucial.
If you can’t afford to invest in a great bed right after moving into your new home, consider using an air mattress in the interim instead of settling for a cheaper, low-quality substitution. After all, an ideal bed can stay with you for ten years or more, and the air mattress can be used by guests later.
When you feel like changing up the room, swap out your sheets and pillowcases with something different, change up the decor, or paint the walls another color.
Invest in the Dining room
The dining table is important for both your personal use and for entertaining purposes. Outside of mealtimes, the table is also where we gather to talk, do homework, or take our Zoom meetings. It’s also often the focal point of the kitchen and dining area, making it an important piece of furniture for both function and style.
Invest in a table that is easy to maintain and that compliments your desired look. In spite of the price, solid wood tends to be the most popular because it’s so durable and easy to clean. Less expensive (but still very sturdy) wood options are pine, acacia, and teak.
Glass table tops are another popular option. They’re also easy to care for and can make the space seem much more open and airy. Laminates or veneers, because of the abundance in color and pattern options are also highly sought after, but fair warning: they are more susceptible to damage and can be very difficult to fix.
Same for chairs. Invest in something comfortable and long-lasting. Upholstered chairs are a bit more pricey, but they are more comfortable and you can always change the appearance with a slipcover.
Invest in the Living Room
Living room furniture is definitely worth the investment and a new sofa (or couch set) is a must. Stick to solid neutral colors for a more timeless style. And while there’s obviously a personal element to buying a new sofa, there are some objective criteria every good couch should meet.
Your new sofa or couch set should:
- Fit the dimensions of your living room without crowding the space
- Be comfortable to sit or lay on
- Have a quality frame (preferably made of solid hardwood)
- Have firm, well-padded upholstery
- Be easy to clean or dry (like leather, microfiber, or vinyl)
- And be able to fit through your new doorway
When you want to update the living room, swap out throw pillows or paint the walls instead of shopping for a new couch set. Pro tip: paying extra for treated, stain-resistant fabric pays off in the long run.
Invest in Multi-Purpose Furniture
Versatile furniture is important whether you’re short on space, short on cash, or just can’t be bothered to furnish the entire home right away. If nothing else, invest in one of these key multi-use furniture items.
Dresser/Credenza -- This is perhaps the single most versatile piece of furniture. A small chest of drawers could work in your bedroom as an armoire or nightstand, in the dining room to store extra dishes and table cloths, in the bathroom for linens and towels, in the office as a filing cabinet, in your living room as a side-table, as a statement piece in the foyer, or even as a good ol’ junk drawer wherever.
Console Table -- In an open floor plan, a console table could be used to divide the different areas and function like a mini-wall with bonus storage room. It could be placed against a wall in your entryway as a convenient catch-all counter space, underneath your living room TV, or used as a dresser in the bedroom.
Know that there’s never really an endpoint to furnishing a home. Our personal style might change or something new will catch our eye. Because just as families grow and shrink and evolve, so too do our homes.
So invest in the big things, prioritize durability and versatility, and focus on what’s important.