Buying a home on today’s market takes a lot of work! After the stress of financing and the rush of closing, the move-in can be bit stressful in itself as well. But one of the true joys of homeownership is your ability to truly make your home yours – customizing and personalizing it to suit your tastes, your family and your lifestyle.
Here are four smart strategies for customizing your new home (even if new just means new to you!):
1. Paint to create the feel you want. Painting your home with the colors and effects of your choice is one of the most cost-effective ways to create a completely personalized living space. And studies show that color choices, in particular, can have a massive impact on the mood and even the happiness of a home’s residents. If you have a limited time or budget, or you’re afraid you’ll regret bold color choices, try accent walls – a single wall of color in every otherwise neutral room can go a long way toward customizing your home.
2. Inventory your space and your stuff before you unpack. Many people are buying smaller homes in an effort to manage costs of ownership and live closer to where their jobs are. Even if you’re not moving into a small place, moving in – period – presents an opportunity to truly customize your living spaces for the activities you want to do and things you want to “live” in them.
There’s no rule that says the table and chairs have to go in the dining room just because it’s called that; it’s your house – take control! Maybe it’d be better as an office for you and homework space for the kids, and you can ‘dine’ in the kitchen or part of the living room. The windowless “extra” room might make for the perfect yoga room, craft room or space to plot your fantasy football world domination schemes.
3. Build organization in. Built-ins make a world of difference, and I’m not just talking about the ones your home’s builder installed. It’s relatively low-cost and low-effort to build in items like:
a. closet organizers,
b. window seats,
c. desktops and bookshelves,
d. pantry-optimizing shelves, spinners and drawers, and
e. medicine and linen cabinets.
4. Match your furniture to your space, your activities and your stuff. Remember the space issues you couldn’t stand in your last place? Anticipate them, and as you plan to buy your furniture, look for things that offer extra organizational or storage features. I have a little “issue” with shoes at my house – they’re always everywhere! So, we put a cubby in the back entryway for shoes, coats, backpacks, and each bedroom has a specific place to store them.
Also, if your space inventory (see #1 on this list) showed up lots of stuff with no place to go, make an effort to buy armoires, storage closets and sheds. To give your home a polished look that reflects your organized personal style, a good rule of thumb is to make an effort to have a closed storage space for every item that has a label or would otherwise have to sit on top of a table or counter.
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