Furnish Your Home on a Budget for First Time Home Buyers

Marcy Says...

When buying your first home you are making a large investment. You bought this new home but there's nothing inside, and once you move in, you might find it hard to know where to begin. Here are my tips and tricks on what items you should invest in and where you can save some money along the way to make your new house become your home.


One gallon of paint can go such a long way and totally transform the look of a space. The first thing to do in a new home — paint it. I always like light and airy spaces that create a canvas for wall hangings and artwork. Paint the dark cabinets in the kitchen, add some contrast, and paint the trim in the living room and give the ceilings a fresh coat. This will create a clean slate and refreshed feeling for when you start to decorate.

Bedroom Design by Marcy Mussari
Design by Marcy Mussari

Prioritize your spaces

Complete the rooms that will be the most lived in first. With this in mind, the great room/living room, kitchen, and master bedroom are the spaces that you should start furnishing and transforming. It doesn’t need to be a huge reno project, but add some TLC to these spaces and save the basement for later.

Where to invest

Invest in the large pieces of furniture you will use daily. Don’t spend crazy amounts of money on each piece you find. I recommend first purchases to include a tailored but comfortable sofa for the living room, a beautiful bed or headboard for the master bedroom, and a great dining table in the kitchen. It’s worthwhile to invest in these pieces that fill the space and that will be used the most when you start having company over.

Repurpose old furniture

Don’t be afraid to paint old furniture. Have spindle chairs from your grandma’s house? Paint them a matte black and pair them with your new harvest table. I love taking old pieces and making them look new with paint, new hardware or a good cleaning. You can also get creative with your furniture. Turn your old bench or trunk into a coffee table by adding some decorative trays, books, and fresh flowers and I guarantee you will get a compliment on that piece!

Bargain hunting

Garage sales could be your new shopping spot. I can’t tell you how many treasures I have found at garage sales and flea markets over the years. From wooden hutches to decorative vases and ginger jars to antique ladders and side tables, it’s amazing what you can find for unbelievable prices. I always find that these pieces add the character to the space and make every room feel special.

Wall Design by Marcy Mussari
Design by Marcy Mussari

Decorate your walls

Hang some items on the wall, even if it’s a DIY. There are so many ways to get creative and add art to your walls. Whether you use some of your own photography and add it to a matted frame or create abstract DIY artwork, this can be an affordable way to cover up those blank walls and add some colour to your space.

Don't forget window treatments

Hang up window treatments. No, I am not talking about an old sheet that you drape over the front window to keep the sun out for a few months. Window coverings are important and can really finish off the space. I always love to add rods and side panels to the windows. You don’t have to break the bank and get custom treatments. I’ve seen lovely options at many stores that are beautiful and affordable.

Bedroom Design by Marcy Mussari
Design by Marcy Mussari

You can also buy your own fabric and make your own drapes with some hemming tape and curtain rings. Designer tip: When hanging your curtains, hang the rod close to the ceiling and extend it out a few inches on either side of the window. This creates the look of a larger window and really makes a statement.

Create warmth

Add warmth and life to the space. You can achieve this is so many different ways. Add area rugs and runners in the main living room under your sofa, coffee table, and chairs, creating a conversation area. A jute rug in the dining room under the table can be added or throw a beautiful vintage rug by the sink in the kitchen.

Another budget-friendly way to add warmth and life to the space is by adding plants. Real or faux work great! Lately, I have been loving faux fiddle leaf fig trees and olive trees.

Mantle Design by Marcy Mussari
Design by Marcy Mussari

Throw pillows and blankets can also go a long way to add the colour and warmth you are looking for without breaking the bank. Add a few to your sofa in the living room and bed in the master and your spaces will feel more cozy and complete.

Focus on your foyer

Don’t forget about the front entrance. Even though you are spending a lot of your time inside getting your house together don’t forget about the first impression people get as they walk in your humble abode. Take some time to paint the front door, add a door mat, change up the lighting and plant a few flowers in pots. This doesn’t have to be expensive and will make you feel happy when you enter your new home.

Final thoughts

Enjoy every step of the process. Your home isn’t going to be perfect the first year you live there, but enjoy it each step of the way! Invite guests over and take pictures of all of progress you have made. It’s always special to look back at the many stages your home has been through and to celebrate all of the memories. This is a space of your own that you should be proud of every single day!

Living room Design by Marcy Mussari
Design by Marcy Mussari