13 First-Time Homebuyer Design Mistakes to Avoid

13 First-Time Homebuyer Design Mistakes to Avoid

September 09, 2020

When it comes to firsts, buying a home for the first time can be one of the most exciting, intimidating, and overwhelming experiences for many buyers. In addition to purchasing the home, you will also need to design and decorate it. Let’s say you are transitioning from a condo in Miami to a large home in Atlanta, decorating and designing all that space can be daunting. That is why we asked experts from across the country to share the most common design mistakes they see first-time homebuyers make and ways to avoid them. 

Taking on too big of a project

It is easy to become overwhelmed if you try to tackle the interior of your entire home at once, causing project burnout. Instead, focus on one room at a time for furnishings or one item at a time like flooring. Make a list or plan for the entire project. Don’t hesitate to contact a professional even if it’s for a little help in getting ideas organized. -Sarah Daricilar, Daricilar Design Studio 

Buying all furniture pieces from common online retailers 

If you source your pieces from the same online retailers or big home decor stores, your home will look like any other! Homeowners can make their homes unique by going out to a local small boutique, vintage store, or online retailer and picking out a couple of accent pieces that really show off their personality. -Rust & Root 

Not displaying your personality in your home decor 

Don’t be afraid to inject some personality into your new home. A simple and affordable way to rock a ton of style is to change up the color of the fireplace. A little non-toxic paint and a couple of hours of sweat equity can turn a bland, ordinary fireplace into a show-stopping focal point. -Junkyard Goddess

Purchasing all your home decor at once 

The biggest mistake we see homeowners make when decorating or redecorating their home is splurging on all their decor at one time. We recommend buying quality items that will last and that you will love for years - wait for the right piece vs dumping money into mediocre or even poor quality pieces. Also, don’t forget to consider up-cycled quality furniture- you can typically buy a beautiful refurbished piece for approximately the same amount as a new cheap chipboard piece. -Painted! 

Following too closely to common design trends 

I believe one of the biggest mistakes you can make when decorating your new home is following too closely on-trend. For example, instead of filling your home completely with farmhouse style furniture and decor, why not create an unlikely statement with a big, bold, colorful piece of art amongst the neutrals? It's always better to be original than to be one in the same big crowd. -Cara Lockwood, Cara's Color Me Vintage

Forgetting to plan out your space in advance 

New homeowners often only see their interior design ideas as nice furniture, decor, and color palettes. The main thing that you may not take into account is space planning before choosing any kind of furniture or appliances. My advice is to precisely measure your floor plans and furniture so you can get the idea of the scale of your property. Then you can plan the rooms properly and begin choosing the colors, furniture style, etc. -Kucheriavi Studio 

It is so important to measure your new rooms and existing furniture to make sure things will fit. Having a furniture plan is key to understanding whether or not your current pieces will work in your new home, and where you will use them. It can also help you get organized by identifying upfront which items you'll be moving, and any new items you may need to purchase. - Welsh Design Studio

Leaving your walls bare

Bare walls? For artful living, by design, I recommend starting with Art! Personalize your space with art that is meaningful to you, represents your interests, your journey, and your own signature sense of style for EurDesign. Don’t forget size matters too. Consider hanging larger scale artwork for high styles such as in entryways, staircases, and premier livable spaces. -Ginger Hartford, Designer and Founder of EurDesign Studio

Not focusing on the importance of lighting 

Purchasing the incorrect lighting for the home and installing the fixtures either too far apart or too close together. Lighting is extremely crucial to any space, and can really set the tone of the ambiance you are trying to achieve. We recommend spending the time researching the type of bulbs you would like installed. For example, using a bulb that is too bright can make a space look sterile and like a hospital. We like using soft white light in our residential projects. This color temperature typically looks good with earthy tones and light wood finishes. -KJ Design Collective

Failing to determine needed updates or repairs 

It is so important to look at your newly purchased home with an objective eye and make a list of the things that need to be repaired, updated, or generally renovated to make this home yours. Too many times clients move in and get used to their surroundings as they get busy with life and then become accustomed to overlooking things that they really would have liked to have changed.  Make a list immediately after the closing, create a wish list of prioritized projects to tackle as your budget allows. Not everyone can tackle everything right away, so it is important to prioritize the list and then refer to it as projects are accomplished. As the months or years roll by, your home will become the true haven that you desired when you signed on the dotted line. -Janie Burger, JB DESIGNS | Interior Design Studio

Not budgeting for window treatments 

 Don’t forget to allocate a little of the budget for window treatments so when you move in you won't end up with paper shades for the next 6 months to a year. Window treatments are very important and can be expensive, but also very necessary so it’s important to put money aside for window treatments. -EMI Interior Design

Spending too much money on a remodel 

If you inherit an older kitchen, you are not obliged to replace it at a great cost. Employ a professional kitchen painter to transform it, applying any color enamel paint you like with a durable showroom quality hand-painted finish. Change the handles, stand back, and marvel at the new kitchen. -Traditional Painter 

Taking on a design project yourself 

The most common mistake a new homeowner can make is trying to take on a design project alone. We often get called when new homeowners have hit a wall and are exhausted by the entire process of designing a new home themselves. -Lisa O’Dierno, Cierno Designs


Originally Published on Redfin


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