1. Resist the temptation to buy all new.
Moving into your brand new home is an exciting time! You bought it off the plans and now, finally, heres the moment you’ve been waiting for! While undoubtedly you’ll have some big purchases to make to get you settled, don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater and rid yourself of all your old furniture and home-ware (read personality). Take a careful look (and measure) around you and make sure you’re keeping items with meaning, history and those which are well made.
Consider reupholstering rather than buying new. Furniture made now will never be as good quality as the old stuff, you will live to regret trading your comfy old good quality couch for a modern one. (I’m talking 50 years old here, not 3 years old from the Warehouse.) Remember, you can always send your couch off to the sallies and get another one once you’re in and settled!
At the same time though, take this opportunity to declutter. 80% of atmosphere and good design is just cleanliness and tidiness. Your house might be new and shiny now, but it’ll still look like crap if you bring all your junk.
2. Don’t accept your first curtain quote
Window treatments are a big spend item, and pretty essential too. Shop around for this one, and don’t just accept the price you’re given, theres usually some leeway with your custom jobbies.
3. Start nurturing some houseplants.
While you’re itching to get in, the best thing you can do is get your hands dirty! Nothing makes a house a home easier than plants. Research the best species for your level of care, go to the garden shop, take cuttings, buy, make or repurpose some pots which will look great in your new home and get growing. On moving day, these carefully nurtured friends will instantly transform your new – and lets be honest – rather sterile house into a home. Keep in mind your outside too! A pair of well groomed lavender topiaries beside the door or a row of tidy buxus leading up the front path will make yours stand out from the rest.
4. Measure, remeasure and measure again.
It can be hard to work out spatial feel and size from some lines drawn on a piece of paper, so don’t buy new furniture til you are sure it will fit comfortably.
5. Reconsider that King
Bedrooms in new builds are shrinking rapidly. The average for a double bedroom is 14 square metres i.e. 4.0 metres x 3.5 metres. Once you take out a slab for the wardrobe, a bit for the door to open into, and a piece for the ensuite access, you’re left with less than 1/2 a metre to manoeuvre around your king sized bed. Of course, all bedroom dimensions are different, but check your sizes VERY carefully before buying His Royal Highness, and consider switching down to a Queen if its not adding up. Its a wonderful thing to be able to get dressed, make the bed, and draw the curtains you know!
6. Hit up your developer about appliance or curtain packages.
Developers generally have relationships with suppliers and may well be able to offer you a standard appliance or curtain package with your home which will be cheaper, easier and save you a lot of leg work. Just ask.
7. Dont fudge the final inspection.
Give yourself plenty of time (at least an hour) for your final inspection and if its wrong – make sure its fixed before you sign off. Yup, you are desperate to move in, and cant wait to make this baby yours – BUT…brand new houses will always have something not quite 100% – so save yourself, and your builder time, money and stress down the road by getting your ‘snag’ list sorted before you move in. Sure, you’re Master Builder guarantee will make sure any larger issues are ironed out for you after moving in, but cosmetic things will be put down to your damage while moving in most likely. New houses are great, so make the most of this opportunity to get your house in the most perfect condition it will ever be again!
8. Don’t be a walking piggy bank for tradies.
Your builder will show you through your new home and let you know where all your services – water heater/fuse box etc are. Pay attention! Then, when you plugged something in, and all of a sudden your power doesn’t work – No problem! You can fix this yourself in 2 seconds. I’ve known people who had to call a plumber to turn on their hot water cylinder. A new home is the perfect opportunity to acquaint yourself with the age old art of taking care of the little things yourself. Embrace it, you’ll have no-one to blame but yourself when you cant find the water main.
9. Hang out in your new hood.
Home is where the heart is, and making friends, finding a favourite coffee spot, and the best place to walk Puggles off-leash is the only way to start falling deeply in love with your new home and its surrounds. Embrace the new opportunities. Say yes to your neighbours casual invite for a barbie, smile at those you walk past on the street, join your neighbourhood watch and get to know your baristas name. Resist the temptation to return to your old neighbourhood every weekend, this is a whole new phase of life Chrisopher Robin!
10. Make your vision a reality
Admit it, you’ve got a picture in your head of your life in this home. Try to clear out the extraneous stuff – the hot-right-now colours, the designer furniture – and focus on what this vision is and what it consists of. Use that clearer picture to guide you as you choose furnishings to buy, cull and keep. Don’t be afraid to contact an interior designer if you’re feeling stuck – and most home-ware companies offer free advice if you’re feeling stuck and broke.
11. Get Arty
Nothing says more about you and makes your home seem like that of an interesting human being, than art.
Please please please don’t buy cheap bulk reproduction prints from homeware stores! Community art galleries, Auctions, Uni shows, School exhibitions are all excellent places to buy original art work and photography affordably – and certainly may be cheaper than you bought that canvas print from the big box store for. You may even be surprised at what you can afford from serious galleries. Limited edition prints are a great way to get art which may increase in value for a good price too. Remember, when you buy art, you are investing into another persons creative self too – well worth that extra $10 hmmm?