“Making a home your own” is something that all lifestyle magazines insist you do as soon as you move in. It’s something we all want to do, too, but sometimes not as easy as they suggest. After all, your bank balance – and your body – can be largely exhausted by the time you fall over the threshold.
In reality, once you get through the door, your priority has to be getting a good night’s sleep and finishing off the move. After that, a few stress-free weeks are usually in order. Eventually, though, you will want to make it yours. Putting that definitive stamp on a place means you can see yourself being there for the foreseeable future.
The budget you will need in order to do this depends on how large the house is, of course. However, if we take the main rooms in a house – living room, kitchen, bathroom, parents’ and kids’ room – then that’s five rooms to deal with. If you’ve got more than one kids’ room, then what you need to do in one can be replicated in another, with some adjustment.
Making a home your own is a continuing process. However, in each room, we can pick at least three things that can be done to put a stamp on it. Should we want to add more over time, there is no harm to that. Watching your home come together can be a pleasure, particularly if it is done at a sedate pace.
So what are the three things – we’ll take one big ticket item, one mid-range, and one cheaper item – that you need for each room?
Living Room: The Hub Of A Family
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Although decorating a living room can involve a number of jobs – some big and some small – there are some banner additions it needs. The biggest priority is to furnish it, so it’s ready to accommodate a full family. To make it really yours, you’ll need to open the checkbook to pay for a full suite. That means one sofa, at least, plus probably two armchairs. Depending on budget and family size, you can add more to this, but those are essential.
If you’re moving into a new house, then it may also be time for a new TV. Even assuming the old one made the move in one piece, it’s a wise idea to upgrade your television every once in awhile anyway. Sets become obsolete with greater regularity these days. Plus, more and more features are being added, which serve to enhance family film night.
One cheaper item which will really tie the room together is a conversation-piece floor lamp. It needn’t cost the earth – just something to provide the room with some warm light as the family snuggle down on a winter evening.
Kitchen: Where Home Values Meet Technology
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The kitchen is one of the true constants of a family home. They have been of vital importance since the concept of houses came about, and even before we had separate rooms for living and sleeping. So they are one room you really need to get right.
If there is a single big-ticket room that no kitchen can be without, it’s… a fridge-freezer! No, not a cooker or stove – you can actually do without those if you like to save space. A fridge-freezer on the other hand allows you to buy and store more food, take advantage of special deals and save money long term.
Lower down the price list; you may have been holding out on a coffee machine, feeling that there is little to choose between filter and instant coffee. From a personal taste point of view that may be the case. But when it comes to convenience, there is nothing to beat a machine that can be making coffee before you’re even out of bed.
Alternatively, if you’re not a coffee drinker, a good steamer can make the difference in your kitchen. We all know the importance of fruit and vegetables in a healthy diet – and there is no healthier way to prepare veg than steaming it. They also ensure it retains its flavor.
To finish off the decor in a kitchen, you’ll never go far wrong with matching holders for the necessities. A pot for utensils to go in, plus the usual tea, coffee, and sugar jars? That’s a start. You can then add to that touches like a cookie barrel, spaghetti holder and bread bin.
Parents’ Bedroom: Kicking Back From A Hard Day’s Work
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It goes without saying that the most important thing in a bedroom is the bed. Pay what’s worth it for a sturdy, comfortable bed that’s big enough, but don’t go overboard. It’s essential to get one that isn’t too big for the room – clutter makes relaxing truly problematic. It also presents a tripping hazard on those early mornings when you’re still half asleep.
We’ve already covered a TV in the living room, so let’s say you either already have one for the bedroom or don’t want one. But what you could do with is a sound system which will allow you to retire to your quarters to listen to something relaxing. (Or, alternatively, put something loud on so you can dance like no-one’s watching).
Most stereo systems today come with an alarm function so that you can wake to the sound of your favorite song. Just change it every once in awhile – if you come to associate one song with getting out of bed, you’ll end up hating it.
Cheaper, but also vital, is some blackout curtains you can hang and pull closed for those times when you just want to nap in the day. They’re also super useful if you have a street light outside your window and don’t want to be arrested for cutting it down.
Kids’ Bedroom: A Space To Play And Rest
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It’s not cheating to mention beds twice, if they’re obviously different kinds. And while an adult bed needs to be efficient, kids beds need to put the “fun” in functional. This won’t just be where they sleep – they’ll also read there, sit to watch TV and chat with friends. Select one that’s age-appropriate, of course. If you buy your thirteen-year-old a race car bed, they’re unlikely to be impressed.
Perhaps more important in this room than any other, storage has to be another priority. Items like a toy chest and a laundry bin will save the room from becoming a sea of tripping opportunities. As your kids get older, perhaps the toy chest will be less relevant, so swap that out for a comfortable bedroom chair they can sit in when friends are around.
At the lower end of the budget, some decorative touches will be all the more important in a child’s room. Once the room is painted, or wallpapered, give them their own budget to pick posters and wall art to put their stamp on the walls. Bear in mind, also, that these days any photo can be turned into a poster. So while they may have John Cena in one corner, they can share wall space with him in their soccer kit.
Bathroom: The Smallest Room In The House, But Still Important
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In many ways, getting the bathroom right really finishes off a house. Although we tend not to talk about what goes on in there, we still have to use it multiple times a day. Plus, guests will need to use it, so it should shine for them.
Pushing the boat out for a modern, stylish vanity is the best place to start here. Not only will it look classy, but it will also save space in a room that needs it. An often overlooked fact is that, as well as being more stylish, these are much easier to clean than a standard bathroom sink and pedestal. So that’s three reasons to make a point of getting one.
It also should go without saying that a proper bathroom needs a mirror. It’s often going to be the last place you go before leaving the house – so making sure your hair and makeup are on point is essential. Plus, when you have kids, they need a means to leave coded messages for one another. It will happen, just accept it and resolve to buy the best surface cleaner for the inevitable smudges.
The bathroom is the room which will also present you with the most stubborn challenges when it comes to flooring. You can’t have carpet in there. All the water just makes that impractical.
At the same time, you don’t want it to be slippery when wet or freezing cold in winter. So although you should go with stone or vinyl in this room, make your cheaper item a warm rug that can be laid outside the shower. It may need regular washing, but that beats the heck out of endlessly having to replace the carpet.