Starters kit to home living | What will it cost you?

Starters kit to home living | What will it cost you?

Moving into one’s first home is a huge step, personally as well as practically: Mortgage fees and stamp duties are big costs that can really cut a hole in many first-time buyers’ wallets. Another major expense that is all too often overlooked, however, is the cost of furnishing the new home. First-time homeowners are faced with an array of choices when turning that house into their dream home. In purely practical terms, however, how much should you expect to shell out and what does it really cost to kit out and furnish a starter house?

According to recent surveys by financial institutions, first-time buyers fork out several thousand dollars on average on furnishings for their properties, with prices rising in the bigger cities. That’s a big investment – and an unnecessary one. It’s worth taking some time to see where savings can be made – and perhaps being able to furnish that new home for as little as $1500, simply by concentrating on the essentials and checking out sites like eBay or outlet stores before rushing down to your nearest furniture warehouse.

What is essential?

When it comes to furniture, start with the basics and build up. Some things, such as a bed, kitchen dining tables and chairs, couch, etc. are hard to live without, while other items are desirable extras that can be added on at a later date. Remember that it’s okay to have empty rooms for a while – you’re unlikely to have time to redecorate everywhere all at once anyway – and that you can upgrade later once you can afford what you really want.

The bed

Considering how much time one spends in it, the number one essential is the bed (or more accurately, the bed base and the mattress). Here, more than anywhere else in the home, quality is important: You should strive for the best your wallet can afford, one that will last at least the next decade (and if money is tight, go with a cheaper option that can be downgraded to the guest room later on).

Key factors when shopping for new beds and mattresses are size and firmness: What’s the difference, for example, between a king size and a queen? Do you prefer to sleep on a hard or a soft mattress? One other thing to keep in mind is whether that bed you’ve got your heart set on will actually fit in your new home (so measure up first!)

The dining set

A good dining table and chairs can make the difference between jut eating and coming together over a great meal. For mealtimes to be memorable occasions, be they dinner parties or just the two of you, the right-sized table to eat on, and chairs arranged around it, are essential. Consider whether you’d prefer round or rectangular and if you are planning a lot of socializing (in which case extended leaves would be ideal). Remember that it’s usually cheaper to buy a set than purchasing the table and chairs separately.

The couch

The sofa is one of the most important pieces of furniture in the home. It’s the centerpiece of most living rooms and a key aspect of the room’s decorating style. It’s also the place we retire to after a hard day’s work. In addition to considering size (two person, three person or extended corner sofa?) there’s the shape of the arms to consider, fabrics, arm shape and loose/tight backs.

How to save money on key furniture pieces

Use online price comparisons when purchasing new items and never settle for the first retail price you come across. Factory outlets and auction houses are other places to snap up some real bargains. Some first-time buyers even manage to save hundreds of dollars at a liquidation sale at their local furniture store, so really check out your local area before going online.

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