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The Ultimate Checklist for Furnishing a New Home

When moving into a new home, the list of furnishings you need can add up quickly. From furniture to accessories, here’s a checklist to make furnishing a new home less daunting along with tips to make it affordable and enjoyable.
When moving into a new home, the list of furnishings you need can add up quickly. From furniture to accessories, here’s a checklist to make furnishing a new home less daunting along with tips to make it affordable and enjoyable.

You’re buying a new home. Congratulations! Whether you’re moving into a starter house, upgrading, or downsizing, it’s thrilling to make it into a home that suits your style and needs.

From window treatments to storage, there are a number of considerations to make when moving in. While some furnishings will be enjoyed exclusively by you, others can add value to your property.

Though the blank slate of an empty house can be daunting, there’s no need to stress. Here’s our checklist to guide you through furnishing your new home.

Before You Go Shopping . . .

In the excitement of buying a new home, it’s tempting to rush off to the store and fill your cart with all of the knick-knacks you’ve longed for through the years. Before you do, take a moment to do your homework.

Make a Plan

Look at each room and think about how you will use it. If possible, spend some time in each room to get a good feel for it. Create a list of everything you will need to make the room function how you imagine. Not sure where to start? We’ve included a room-by-room checklist below.

Take Measurements

The saying goes “measure twice and cut once.” That same thought works for acquiring furnishings. Before buying, measure the space twice. There are few moving experiences more frustrating or disappointing than hanging up a curtain and discovering it doesn’t cover the window. Try drawing each room’s floor plan on graph paper with elements — such as windows, closets, and doors — clearly marked to scale.

Also measure doorways, hallways and other paths between your home’s entrance and a furnishing’s destination. It might sound like fun to impersonate Ross Gellar by shouting “pivot”, but your friends won’t be laughing when they’re trapped in a stairwell with a couch.

Set a Budget and Prioritize

While you want your new residence to feel like home as soon as possible, you do not have to buy everything at once. Create a budget and prioritize the furnishings on your wishlist.

Think about where you will spend the most time in your house. Having a fully functional kitchen and bedroom will be more important than setting up an in-home movie theater. Once you have your most-used rooms furnished, move on to your dream projects.

The Ultimate Checklist by Room

Everyone has their own vision of a perfect home, but there are some staples that work into most plans.

Kitchen

  • Table and chairs. Whether you have an eat-in kitchen or an breakfast bar, select furnishings that fit the space’s function. Remember the note about measuring? Select the appropriate height for stools so you can sit at your counter comfortably.
  • Window treatments. Some prefer curtains while others favor wide blinds. Whatever you decide, select materials that can endure heavy usage.
  • Appliances. If your home comes with a full stove, refrigerator, and microwave, you’re set. Otherwise, put these at the top of your list. Again, make special notes of considerations, such as electrical outlets and counter heights so you pick the appliances that will fit the space.
  • Accessories and Utensils. Add color to your room by selecting placemats, tablecloths, dishes, and other utensils that suit your style. If you favor minimalist design, consider decorations that also serve a purpose, such as a fruit bowl or a set of pots in your favorite color.

Living Areas

  • Sofa and chairs. Professional stagers suggest having furniture that creates a conversation area. Arrange your furniture this way is comfortable and functional.
  • Coffee/end tables. Select pieces that fit the height and width of the sofa and chairs.
  • Storage. You might have a large Blu-Ray collection or want a space for the souvenirs you’ve picked up on your travels. Whatever your situation, select storage that is both visually dynamic and functional.
  • A focal point. It can be a painting to hang on the wall or a glass vase to set on top of the fireplace’s mantle. Make a focal point in the room.

Bedrooms

  • Bed. Select a bed that is not only comfortable but suits the size of your room. Make it a focal point of the room with an interesting headboard.
  • Nightstand. Choose one that is the correct height for your bed. Also, look for one that includes storage features you need, such as room for an alarm clock, lamp, and your bedtime book.
  • Clothes storage. While many bedrooms come equipped with closets, most people find they need additional storage for their clothing. Choose a dresser, chest of drawers or bureau that complements the rest of the furniture in your room.

Bathrooms

  • Towel storage. Your home may come with built-in towel racks and a linen closet. But make sure to have a place for storing clean towels and hanging the wet before you hop in the shower.
  • Soap dispenser and toilet paper. Often these are forgotten until they are needed. Do yourself a favor and have both on hand the moment you move in.

Other Considerations

  • Trash and recycling bins. Like toilet paper, these are easy to overlook in the hustle and bustle of moving. You’ll be grateful to have trash and recycling bins in place on move-in day.
  • Smart technology upgrades. There are plenty of home security systems on the market to choose from. In addition to providing you peace of mind, they are also an addition that can add value to your home long-term. You may also want to add-on a smart thermostat, lighting and doorbell, which can all be controlled from your phone.
  • Privacy tree. While you’re settling into your home, don’t forget your exteriors. Planting a strategically placed tree can add a dynamic aesthetic to your home’s curb appeal. As trees grow, they can provide shade and give you more privacy. They are also a great investment. A large tree in the front yard resulted in an increased resale price of $7,130.

Are you ready to make the move? Trust a local, dependable real estate agent to help you find the home that fulfills your wishlist. Besides helping you uncover additional cost-savings opportunities, Clever Partner Agents also offer on-demand showings so you know you won’t miss out on your dream home. Plus, you’re eligible for a $1,000 buyer’s rebate on any home you purchase for more than $150,000 (in 40 states).

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Jamie Ayers

Jamie is the Director of Content at Clever Real Estate, the free online service that connects you with top real estate agents and helps you save thousands on commission. In the past, Jamie has managed columns for clients in a variety of leading business publications, including Forbes, Inc., CEO World, Entrepreneur, and more. At Clever, Jamie's primary goal is to provide home sellers, buyers, and investors with the information they need to successfully navigate the ins and outs of the real estate industry.

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