First-time buyers are often too strapped for cash to decorate
torstar news service
Most people’s first home is small — largely an investment to get their foot in the door of the real estate market. In most cases, after forking out for a down payment, neophyte homeowners find themselves all but penniless.
making a plan
But there are ways to create a comfortable interior with some wow factor, even on a limited budget.
Before getting started, you need to assess your lifestyle and priorities:
- Do you have frequent dinner parties or does your life revolve around the television?
- Are colour and art important to you?
- Do you have heaps of sports equipment? Are you a fashionista who needs lots of closets?
- Do you have pets?
- Do you need a home office or guest accommodation?
- Is gardening or alfresco entertaining important?
- Are you handy and project-oriented?
- How long do you intend to stay in your starter home?
john m. hall
- Can’t afford handsome Oriental carpets? Consider sisal matting or stencilling floors yourself.
- Become an antique and flea market habitué. Look for funky lighting, unusual accent pieces and second-hand furniture.
- A crummy cabinet can become an attractive piece with a bit of painting or stencilling.
- Search for furniture that does double duty — a campaign-style bed with drawers underneath and a storage ottoman doubling as a coffee table. Sofa beds can also be a good investment.
- Think outside the box when space is tight. Hang two-way shelves from the ceiling as space dividers. Hang kitchen utensils from the ceiling. Hang (pretty) extra chairs from wall hooks and call them 3-D art.
- Folding and nesting furniture saves space.
- House and garden magazines and DIY books can be helpful. A book called How To Live In Small Spaces, by Terrence Conran (published by Firefly Books), is inspirational in its sophisticated approach to decorating and stretching space.