Top Tips for First Home Buyers

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We know buying your first home is a big deal. We also know that, more often than not, every last cent has gone on the biggest purchase you’ll ever make, leaving very little to design, decorate and furnish.

Our designer Debbie Doull has got you covered with her top tips for making your first home your own…


  • Re-purpose – you’ll be surprised what you can make out of existing materials like timber pallets and in the process you’ll be following one of the year’s top trends toward sustainability.


  • Shop around for specials – let your fingers do the walking and get online for discounted furnishings, lighting, etc.


  • Embrace indoor plants - plants instantly add softness and personality to your décor. If you’re not blessed with green fingers – go faux. These days imitation plants look so realistic it’s almost impossible to tell they’re not real…and in the long run they’ll be cheaper then replacing living plants that require water and attention.


  • Less is more – all you really need as far as furniture goes are the basic items. You don’t need to fill your home with ‘clutter’ so put your money towards the must have basic items.


  • Know your budget – be very clear about how much you have to spend on decorating and furnishing. On high use items that require comfort and support, try to buy the best your budget will allow e.g. beds and sofas. It doesn’t matter though if your dining room table is Grandma’s old one. In fact incorporating older, sentimental pieces often adds character to a room.


  • Don’t be afraid to use colour – a splash of colour on the walls or incorporated into your accessories is easy to replace if and when your tastes or trends change. Colours warm up or cool down a room, so when painting ensure you’re using the right tone to achieve the look you desire.


  • Put your stamp on it – incorporate accessories that reflect your personality. They don’t have to be expensive. Browse places like Pinterest to gather images of the kind of look you’d like to achieve then head along to places like K-mart or Bed, Bath and Beyond to pick up affordable, on trend items you’d like to display.


  • Take the indoors out – extend your living area by continuing colours from your interior onto your patio. This could be as simple as incorporating cushions or ceramic pots and/or plants in similar tones in your outdoor space.


  • Make the most of patio gardens – outdoor gardens are very achievable within a patio area. Instead of spreading your garden horizontally – simply go vertical! Many varieties of fruit and citrus trees grow successfully in containers and often the additional shelter provided by an enclosed patio will see them thrive. Maximise vertical fencing by planting herbs and leafy greens in upright wooden boxes. Mix flowering plants among these to add colour and attract the bees to pollinate your plants. Not only is it cheaper and convenient to pick fresh produce from your own back garden - it’s also very satisfying to know you grew it yourself.

Related Content:

- 10 ways Fletcher Living makes buying your first home easy
- Making First Home Partner a reality
- What’s the best way to buy or sell a home in New Zealand?

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