If you’ve ever purchased a home, or even moved into a new rental, you know that signing on the dotted line is just step one in a long line of to-dos.

And if you’re a design lover, odds are that “to-do” list is really more of a “to-buy” list.

Planning on just working your way down the bullet points and adding to cart? Probably not. A new house means a whole new realm of responsibilities and expenses, and suddenly, piling new furniture and decor purchases on top of that homeowners insurance and flood insurance can start to feel a lot less fun. Woof.

It’s been a year and a half since we moved from our studio loft to a 3 bedroom bungalow, and while the house still isn’t complete, we’ve certainly come a long way in making it a home. In general, I find that budgetary constraints are a blessing in disguise. They’ve forced me to take my time with every purchase, carefully considering alternative options for every item I love, and ultimately have kept me from making rash decisions at the risk of following a trend. Sure, we all dream of replicating every image we swoon over on Pinterest, but where does that leave room for creativity and being original?

Wondering where to start with your pad? Here’s our guide to what you should definitely buy now, and what’s worth the wait.

photo by Kristen Kilpatrick

Splurge: A Comfy Couch

For TV binging, mid-unpacking naps, and general sanity, having a comfortable couch to crash into at the end of a long day is a crucial part of feeling at home in your new place. Even if you’re not ready to shell out the cash needed to buy your forever sectional, you won’t regret buying a temporary sofa from Ikea or accepting a hand-me-down from a loved one to hold you over. Because your couch is such an important piece of furniture in your home, it’s at the top of our worth-the-splurge list.

Save: Landscaping

Having a perfect lawn is the cherry on top of moving into your dream home, and the finishing touch needed to take any home to tada! status, so we get that you want it done, like now. That said, there are several reasons why we think landscaping should be one of the last things you spend money on.

  • It can get damaged. Hardscaping, construction projects, trudging furniture across your lawn… all these things can damage your grass and kill your freshly planted shrubs.
  • It takes time. If you’re planning on doing your yard work yourself, prepare for an intensive time commitment, and a steep learning curve. Save your landscaping for a time when you’re prepared to maintain regularly.
  • Listen to the seasons. Planting your plants at the right time of year can make or break your gardening success. Wait until the weather and the soil is just right, and let that guide your landscaping timeline.

Splurge: Creature Comforts

What are the things you absolutely can’t live without? A television with cable? Top-of-the-line kitchen appliances for your cooking passion? A ceiling fan in your bedroom? Maybe a doggy door for your furry friend. Identify the deal-breakers that are specific to your needs, and prioritize them before anything else.

photo by Stephen Karlisch

Save: Vintage Pieces

Any vintage enthusiast knows that in the world of antiquing, patience is a virtue. Finding the exact right piece at the right price can take months, if not years, and in turn, down the road your home will be filled with one-of-a-kind items and character to boot. Opting for antiques means a slower furnishing and decorating process, which is easier on your wallet too!

Splurge: Seasonal Must-Haves

Did you move into a home with a pool right around summertime? If so, patio furniture and a grill might be at the very top of your list. Redoing your living room fireplace and mantle? Not so much. Identify the items for which the season is essential, and bump the must-haves to the very top of your list.

photo by Kristen Kilpatrick

Splurge: New bedding

When the chaos of moving homes is too much to bear, something as simple as new bedding can make a world of difference. When we were sleeping on a mattress on the floor, waiting weeks for our new bed frame to arrive, we had new sheets on our bed to make every night feel like a luxurious reminder that we were in fact upgrading!

photo by Teal Thomsen

Save: Guest bedrooms

Not only is having a guest bedroom amazing for hosting out-of-town friends and family, but it can also serve as the perfect space to get creative with overflow items. As you’re working on other areas of your house, all the decor pieces you’re phasing out can have a happy new home in your guest room, providing you with the fun challenge of rethinking the ways in which they will be used. With that, there’s no reason to start shopping for this space just yet.

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