You’ve finally done it — met a huge life milestone and bought your first home. Then, it hits you. A house requires far more furniture than a tiny apartment. How are you supposed to fill all this space?

If you’ve found yourself suddenly needing a whole house full of furniture in a hurry, this post is for you. We’ve compiled our best tips for how to furnish your home without breaking the bank. Follow our advice and your new house will become a home before you know it.

Use what you own.


See if you can reuse any items you already own. Image: Modern Staging | Spaces

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Assess your current inventory

As much as we would all like to furnish our new home with brand new, Pinterest-board-ready furniture, for most of us, that’s not a realistic option. While some fresh pieces will probably be necessary, you won’t be able to get a true sense of what’s needed without taking stock of your existing inventory, especially if you’re combining households with your significant other for the first time.

To do this, sit down and take a long, hard look at everything you own. Start with staple pieces of furniture and then move on to smaller items like textiles and accessories. Evaluate each item based on its usefulness, condition and whether or not it fits your sense of personal style. Make a list and separate the pieces into one of three categories: Keep, Unsure and Donate/Discard.

After you’ve gotten the first two categories settled, look over them once more. This time, decide where each item will be placed in your new home. Keep an open mind and consider alternative arrangements from your last living situation. If something truly doesn’t fit in your new surroundings, consider letting it go.

Make a priority list.

Create a list of priority items. Image: Lisa Petrole Photography

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Rank purchases by priority

Since buying a home is such a big expense, people usually have a limited budget for furnishings once they move in. This, coupled with the excitement of designing their own spaces for the first time, can lead to some costly mistakes. Either the new homeowners will go into debt giving the home a top-to-bottom makeover or they blow the entire budget making one room perfect down to the last detail and have no money left for other essentials.

That doesn’t need to be the case. Here’s the secret interior designers don’t want you to know: It’s absolutely fine to furnish a home piece by piece, rather than going one room at a time. While you’ll probably want to ensure you have a few essential items — a bed, a dresser, a sofa and a dining table — available at move in, the rest can be bought over time.

After assessing your inventory, determine what’s missing. List items you need to fill your home, ranking them in order of priority. Then, take some time to decide how much you can, realistically, spend on furniture and make the purchases accordingly. Keep the list close at hand, so you can refer to it whenever you have some extra cash to spend.

Find expensive items secondhand. Image: Cortney Bishop Design

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Source pricey items secondhand

Keep in mind there are plenty of ways to furnish your home without heading to pricey, high-end stores. If new furniture won’t fit in your budget for the foreseeable future, it’s time to get creative. Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to find affordable pieces secondhand. All you need is a keen eye.

Search out thrift shops and consignment stores in your area and visit them regularly to get a sense of their changing inventory. Check Craigslist and other for-sale sites. Pay attention to postings for local yard sales and flea markets. It may also be a good idea to let friends and family know you’re in need. You never know who may be willing to offer up some hand-me-downs.

Be sure to give any secondhand items a firm appraisal before agreeing to take them home. Make sure they have all their necessary parts, are structurally sound and fairly clean. Do your best to source items that are in line with your personal style, but keep in mind they don’t need to be an exact match.

Embrace DIY

DIY your furniture to get the look you want. Image: Scandinavian Homes

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DIY cohesive looks

If you’re willing to put in a little extra effort, it’s possible to make individual pieces of furniture look like they’re part of a matching set. Where furniture is concerned, most of the time all that’s needed is the right DIY tutorial and a few coats of paint.

To pull this off, your first step is to find some design inspiration. Search through a few interior design sites like Freshome until you find a few photos that showcase an aesthetic you love. Then, look for a video or step-by-step tutorial that clearly outlines the process.

Furnish first home

Furnishing your first home can be as easy as following these steps. Image: From The Hip Photo

Shop a similar look: Chair Coffee Table | Leather Chair

Figuring out how to furnish your home for the very first time can be overwhelming. All of a sudden you find yourself with a lot more space and nothing to fill it with. Keep these tips in mind before you jump in and redo your home from top to bottom. With our help, you’ll be able to tackle your new home’s interior design in a way that makes sense.

Do you have any tips to share about furnishing a first home? Any questions you need answered about the process? Tell us in the comments!