Furnishing a New House From Scratch? Here’s Five Tips to Keep You on Track.

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Moving into a new house can be very exciting. Thinking about all the possibilities, all the ways you’d like to decorate the house. If you’re anything like me, you go through a space for the first time and your mind starts reeling with all the things that you can do with it. But before you get ahead of yourself it’s important to think about how you’re going to live, day to day in your new house. This determination goes above and beyond the durability and aesthetics of furniture. That’s certainly important; but I’m referring functionality as part of this excitement. A little bit of planning how you need your house to function for your everyday life can really help when you’re furnishing a house from scratch. Here are my top 5 tips so you can avoid headaches down the road and to keep you on track.

Furnishing A New House, Tip # 1, Know the Size of Each Room:

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The absolute first place to start furnishing a new house is to measure your space. Every designer worth their salt knows that if you don’t know the size of each room you can run into all kinds of problems when selecting furniture.

• Start by drawing a floor plan of your new space. Sketch out the space like you’re on the ceiling looking down at it from above. When you know the size of your space you know the appropriate size furniture that will fit into it. The sketch doesn’t have to be perfect it just needs to have the shape of your room.

• Put the measurements of each wall on the sketch, include the placement and dimensions of doorways, windows and any other architectural elements like fireplaces, columns, built-in shelving or furniture. It helps to do an overall length and width measurement so you can double check the dimensions.

• Snap a picture of the sketch on your phone so that you have it when you’re out shopping for the day. Include a few pictures of the room as well for reference.

This will make your life and buying decisions so much easier. You’ll always know how big of a sofa to get or if a sectional is a better solution for a family room. You’ll know what size dining table is going to work, or how much floor space you have for rug and what size to get, etc.. The list goes on and on.

When you don’t know the size of your space you could end up buying furniture that’s too big or too small and having to return it and deal with all the hassles of restocking fees and going through the whole task all over again. You see the logic, right?

Furnishing A New House, Tip # 2, Know What You Have and What You’re Keeping:

The second place to start furnishing a new home is to take inventory of what you already have and are keeping.

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• If you have pieces that you love and that will work in your new space, take the measurements of those pieces so that you can translate them to your floor plan. You may or may not know where it’s going to live in the new space, but you’ll be able to avoid buying something new when you already have something that you want to keep and that you love.

Furnishing A New House, Tip # 3, Know the Purpose of Each Room:

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The third thing to remember when furnishing a new house is to determine the main function or purpose of each room.

• If your family room’s main function is for watching TV, then is the television is the focal point of that space and your furniture should support the function of watching TV.

• Another example would be a spare room that you’re turning into an office. It’s not a bedroom anymore, its main purpose is now an office and your furniture should support that function. Instead of having dressers and beds, you’ll want pieces like a desk and shelving and storage for office supplies, etc.

• Maybe have a breakfast room and you want a table and chairs in there or maybe you want upholstery and seating in that space instead? When you determine the functionality of each space, you’ll know what to get so that you can keep yourself organized and focused.

Furnishing A New House, Tip # 4, Sketch Out Your Furniture Layout:

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The fourth thing to think about when furnishing a new home is to sketch out where your furniture will be or how you want the room laid out.

• This makes it easy for you to focus on where you want items placed in your space. For example, your largest seating usually goes on the longest wall in your family room. When you can sketch out where you want your items to be in your floor plan and you know the length of that wall including any breaks in the wall for doorways windows built-ins etc. you know essentially what size furniture will fit her properly into that space. The sketch really helps to keep you focused on what you can fit and what will function best for you.

Furnishing A New House, Tip # 5, Figure Out What You Need and How it Should Function:

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The last thing to think about when furnishing a new house is to make a checklist of what you need and include how it should function: Do you need extra storage? Do you have a specific color scheme to support? Can you utilize vertical space instead of horizontal space? Get your thoughts together to determine how you want things to function.

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• It helps tremendously to have a “mood board” of how you want your room to look, colors, furniture and lines, etc.

• I find that using the notes on my phone is a great way to keep myself organized for things that I’m looking for. I usually include the rough dimensions of things like sofas and chairs that will fit in a space.

• I’ll include styles that I like or wood tones that I’m interested in.

• I’ll make a note of how I want each space to function and what will work to support that function. Think about things like entry hall tables that need to have storage or office cabinets that have closed and open storage.

Now that you sketched out the space, determined the main function, taken inventory of what you’re keeping, and made a checklist of all the things that you’re going to need, you have an amazing start to furnishing your new home from scratch!

Thank you so much for reading this post I enjoy writing this for you and I hope you enjoy reading it as well. Share this with your friends if you enjoyed it and I’d love to hear from you in my comment section below. It would be great to keep in touch so feel free to sign up for my Essential Furniture Shopping Guide. It’s a fantastic resource when you’re in the market for new furniture. This guide will give you my top 13 tips for making excellent furniture buying decisions so you can be organized throughout the entire process of buying furniture. Also, when you sign up, you’ll be the first to know when I post a new blog or if I have an update. Follow me on my socials too. I post daily inspiration on Instagram! Click the button below to get your FREE furniture shopping guide.


I’m Cheif Banana at Michael Helwig interiors in beautiful buffalo New York. I happily share my experience in the world of home decorating and design to help folks avoid expensive mistakes and decorating disappointments. I’m pretty crafty with simple DIY projects and I love to teach others how to create beautiful and functional decor for their homes. My motto: “every decorating challenge figure-out-able.”