Design Tips For First Time Homebuyers

May 17, 2019
Last updated:
November 9, 2022
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Spring is a consistently popular time to purchase a home. For first time homebuyers, this can be an exciting and overwhelming experience. After you’ve learned what escrow is and get through the final days of closing, now comes the fun part of making the house your home.

While you might be a moving pro by the time you’ve purchased the house, knowing how to decorate it is an altogether different matter. Keep these tips in mind while planning your design and move and you’ll be settling into your gorgeous new house in no time!


While not always possible due to budget or timing, DIY and renovation projects are much easier and less stressful to survive when not living in the house. Getting all big projects done before you move means you won’t have to move things around again for renovations later and you’ll have an open space to work in.

Try to budget and schedule as many repairs and upgrades to get done prior to you moving in. Knowing the updated measurements and any new appliances you’ll have to budget around is also helpful to know ahead of time.


Even though budgets are not the most fun part of getting your new house together, they are a vital part of the process. Just as you needed to figure out your finances before purchasing a house, taking a look at what, and most importantly where, your money is best spent will save you a lot of time and stress later.

Find the places where you’ll get the most for your investment and take care of any structural issues up front where you can and which places you can stretch if you need.

Projects like custom closets and built-in wine cabinets can be fun additions and add value to your new home, but can also put a dent in your budget. Take both upgrades and new furniture into account while setting up your budget, plan in stages if certain projects can wait or you might need more time in-between large expenses. Focus on the rooms and areas you’ll spend the most time and get the most for your money.

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Find Your Style

Deciding on a cohesive design for your new house might be simpler for those who lived together before investing in a home, yet creating a design for an entire house can still be a challenge. This process can be even more difficult for those who haven’t been able to find or agree upon a common design style. Combining different preferences can be tricky if no one style emerges as a shared favorite, but there are ways to handle it!

Combining furniture and decor is a quick way to decide on a design style, if you already own pieces that still work in your new space that’s a good starting point to kick off how to style the rest of the house. Take a critical look at what furniture still serves you and what upgrades you can make to have a fresh start in your new home.

Larger ticket items can really up your comfort level, take advantage of a larger space or help create a fresh start and don’t always have to be avoided due to cost. Often times purchasing a home means more space to fill or getting to size up to larger furniture, but even typically more expensive items like soft seating and sofas can fit any style and budget with a little shopping around.

Creating style boards are always a good idea to help map out a whole-house design, as a bonus they can also point out common elements that appeal to everyone. If you really can’t find a middle ground or design elements that speak to you, then another way is through color.

Color Palette

Overall design might be a challenge to settle on, but a color story could be an easier way to create a home you love. With a full color palette, it’s a bit easier to find compromise and find pieces you both love without feeling like you need to be strictly limited to items from one single design style. Going by color might be more research and work to find pieces that match the colors you want and create a cohesive design, but it can help styles stay fresh and reflect your personality together.

For a complete color story, find a neutral you love to set the stage for your design. Shades of grays and blues offer a wide range, even softer hues of yellows and greens can count as neutrals if whites and beiges seem stark or boring to you. Once you have your neutral agreed upon to serve as a base, look for a few different colors to build out your story and add interest.

Select two to four colors, either complementary on the color wheel (blue, yellow and orange) or different shades of the same versatile color, like reds that can range from blush rose to deep crimson. Once you have your palette built you can look for paint colors, furniture and decor available in your favored shades to influence which pieces you buy.

Figure Out Your Floor Plan

Another helpful activity to undertake before you move in is to plan out each room and where everything will go. You can make sure everything will fit before trying to wedge a sofa into a space that ends up being smaller than it appeared and also have it handy for movers to refer back to. They can be handwritten with measurements or find an online floor plan service to upload the specs of your layout for clearer resolution and direction for your movers.

Planning out your layout gives you a big picture view of your space as well, finding ways to move decor around and envision your furniture and design elements throughout the house, not just room by room.


One last note, just because you’ve moved in doesn’t mean your new house has to be show-ready by the very next week. If you need some time, take it! Buying a house and moving is stressful enough, don’t put additional pressure to have everything in place immediately if you’re not set up to. Enjoy your house while you make it into your home and go at your own pace.

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Need a Mortgage?

If you’re in need of a home loan, Sammamish Mortgage can help. We are a local mortgage company serving the Pacific Northwest region including Washington, Idaho, Colorado, and Oregon. We have been providing several mortgage programs with flexible qualification criteria to borrowers since 1992. Please contact us if you have any questions or are ready to apply for a mortgage.

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