5 Mistakes to Avoid When Furnishing Your New Home

Moving into a new home is exciting, especially when it comes to decorating. After all, who doesn’t like to peruse décor blogs and catalogs, watch HGTV for inspiration?

But interior designers say there are mistakes overeager homeowners make time and time again when furnishing their new space. Here are five that you should try and avoid.

1. Buying everything at once

It’s OK to take up to a year to decorate a new home. After all, you’re going to be living there for a while. Rather than going on a mad shopping spree for every stick of furniture from the coffee table to a canopy bed, be sure to stop, sit down, get out a piece of paper and do some planning.

Make a list of what you need to furnish the entire house, and then focus first on the two to three most important rooms—typically the more exposed parts of the house, such as the living room, kitchen and family room. From there, proceed at a pace where you’re certain you are happy with each purchase you make. 

2. Decorating around a legacy piece

Trying to decorate around a cherished armoire your mother handed down to you or a bookshelf you paid a ton of money for and wouldn’t consider tossing? Odds are that this can push you into a certain layout or color scheme—even one that might be completely wrong for you or your new home.

What you should do instead, according to experts, is to place these types of furnishings in a different context (a bedroom, perhaps), sell them or even give them to Goodwill.

3. Trusting your eye rather than a tape measure

Measuring accurately is a critical step in design—it’s a question of not only whether a piece of furniture will fit, but how it will look sitting in a certain space. That being said, everything should be proportionate to the architecture of the room.

You also should always measure doorways and hallways before purchasing large pieces to make sure they fit. Most companies will give you the minimum clearance you need for delivery, but it’s up to you to ensure that it will truly fit. In most cases, it’s the height of a sofa that is the key measurement rather than the width or depth.

4. Cramming rooms like a clown car

It’s alright to have some empty spaces and walls. You want to be able to move around freely without having to jump over an ottoman.

It’s a good idea to stick to a few key pieces in a room to create a sense of openness if you’re trying to achieve a sleek, modern look. The same applies to artwork—one large frame can create an art gallery feel. 

5. Looking like a page from a catalog or decor magazine

While everything might look great in print, it could be a totally different story when it comes to your home. While it’s tempting to want to buy everything all at once and from the same place, you should refrain from doing so because the most interesting designs are the ones that are aesthetically mixed. 

A good tip: Incorporate vintage or one-of-a-kind pieces from Etsy or a flea market into your space to make it feel personal and curated. As nice as catalogs look, you want it to look like your home.