Insider Solutions

A New Home Needs Time to Tell Its Story

Q: I just bought a new home. I would like to start over and buy new furniture and new everything. How do I start the process of knowing what I want to live with?

A: There are several ways to approach this opportunity. (And truly this is an opportunity. It is a fresh start.) I always recommend to my clients that they live in a home for at least one to two months before they make any design decisions or purchases. This is not the advice they want to hear.

It's human nature to be excited and to want to have new things immediately when moving. However, the benefits of waiting are enormous. Experiencing the home at different times of the day and evening will affect the way you feel in the home - and will inevitably influence the choices you make.

Every dwelling gives us a feeling when we are in it. It's important to experience those feelings before making design decisions. The way we lived in our previous home may be very different than how we will choose to live in the new home. Furniture we are used to living with will be left behind and replaced by new pieces. This occurs because the size and layout is different, and most of all, we are different.

One of the biggest things that affect us in a home is lighting. The natural light that comes in through the windows affects our eyes and our mood. The direction the house faces changes this. This is the first consideration when choosing window coverings.

Even when clients are willing to wait a short time before making design decisions, they must have privacy and sun protection on their windows. So we divide the process: Function first, then decoration.

Natural light also affect the colors we see and want to be surrounded with. It is not which color but how much of a color. If you want green in a room, do you want it in the carpet, on an entire sectional, on a chair or just on a pillow? The balance of color changes as light changes. During the evening, colors will once again look different.

How much lighting has the previous owner added or builder installed? How much do you have to bring into the room? These are questions you can't answer until you live in a home around the clock.

Consider how you would like to use the rooms. Maybe the living room and dining room would work better if their use were reverse. You might want to combine the living room and dining room into a great room, and then use the family room as a dining room.

Don't feel boxed in by the norm. Be creative and design the flow of your rooms for your lifestyle.

When choosing furniture, have a plan and always begin with less than you think you will need. The tendency is to buy too much. Bring in the furniture and experience the room as it fills up. Every wall and every space does not have to be filled. See if everything you need is there and create the wants around your needs.

How exciting that you'll have the chance to explore the new you in your new home. Remember, rooms have no feelings, you do!

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