home ownership

Buying Our First Home: Starting A Decorating Inspiration Folder

buying our first home series image2

Long before G and I started saving for a down payment on our home, we saved a pretty sizable New Home Expense Fund.  It was really G’s idea to save for that prior to a down payment and it really worked out for the better.  Had we saved our down payment first, we would have been tempted to buy a house without saving anything to furnish, decorate and maintain the house.

We’re still saving for our down payment, but we have met our savings goal for our New Home Expense Fund.

Since we’re skipping the starter house, our first house will be pretty big.  Much bigger than the 2 bedroom apartment we’re used to.  We’ll have to spend a ton of moolah to furnish and decorate the new pad.

The biggest items we’ll need to purchase are:

  • master bedroom furniture (yay, king bed)
  • living room furniture
  • dining room furniture
  • patio furniture
  • many, many decorations*
  • house maintenance stuff (lawn mower, outdoor stuff)
  • a grill!
  • possibly kitchen appliances (if they don’t come with the house or need replacing)

*I say many, many decorations because I haven’t decorated in years.  Our wall hangings are the same ones we had in college and the ones I bought when I moved out on my own almost 6 years ago.  So … we’ll need to decorate and I’m pumped about that!

As you can see, that’s a lot of stuff.  I am so proud of G and myself for saving for expenses like these before our down payment.  It will be a lot of fun to go shopping for furniture without worrying about accumulating any debt in the process.  Financial freedom win.

Since we’ll have so much to buy for our new casa, I’m planning to start an inspiration folder.  After years of planning and saving, I want our house to look really nice and reflect our personalities.  I’ve already started perusing home design blogs.  Here are my current favorites:

madebygirlblog censationalgirlblog


(I so obsessed with home design blogs right now, I’m even thinking about starting one when we buy a house.  Crazy, I know.  Especially since I am FAR from a designer.)

There are two reasons I want to start looking for design ideas right now:

1. Since I have no design experience, I have a feeling putting together a nice home is going to be a lot of work for me.  Gotta start early.

2. I look at pictures of homes for sale almost every day now.  Probably 80% of those houses showcase horrible interior design.  Like, it’s time to step out of the ‘80s, people.  I really don’t want my house to look out-dated, uncomfortable, or embarrassing.

So, that’s where we’re at in home-shopping/buying process right now!  We’re planning to get out and REALLY look at houses in December!  Only 3 more months!

Where do you get home design inspiration?  Blogs, magazines, websites, etc…


  • That is very smart to save up for repairs and other stuff in addition to your down payment. We didn’t do that and had only a tiny emergency fund left after we closed. However, the place was an absolute wreck that needed top-to-bottom renovations so our nasty hand-me-down furniture fit right in. We were actually okay with it taking a long time to get fixed up because we enjoyed doing it and taking the time to think about what we wanted to do with each room. While we were saving for each project we’d window shop and carefully plan it out. For some people this would annoy them to have years of projects, but for us it was nice and we really bonded over it.

    • We had always planned to buy a newer house that wouldn’t require much repair. But after following YHL, I think it’d be kind of fun to fix a place up. Of course, I say that now… 🙂

  • Oh, and have you looked at bowerpowerblog.com? AMAZING. She has their entire previous home up there with before and afters + what has been completed so far on their new home.

  • Having an idea of how you want to decorate will give some guidance to the kind of home you want, so its a great idea that you are looking already. I also think that the extra padding on the down payment will be great in the long term. Always something to fix in a home.

  • I LOVE Centsational Girl. And having that fund is such a smart idea, even as a tenant. I wish that I had thought of that before moving, since I wound up hitting my emergency fund. Never a good feeling.

  • Love “Young House Love!” I’m also a big fan of Design*Sponge (designsponge.com). They have all sorts of home tours; before/after shots of reader redesigned rooms, furniture, etc; DIY projects; small business tips; entertaining ideas; city guides; and more. MML’s Dream Reporter Maggie Rose (http://www.maggieroseonline.com/category/blog/) also has some excellent ideas about decorating on a budget. She recently talked about buying investment pieces over filler pieces.

  • I love pinterest ( http://www.pinterest.com ) – you can make your own design/inspiration boards from ANYWHERE on the web and /or your own pictures! It links to your facebook or twitter, but you don’t have to publish crazy stories to annoy everyones’ newsfeeds. Mine is linked and I choose NOT to publish a story.

    For all you iphone techies – they have an app too!

    You need an invite from somone on the ‘know’ so let me know if anyone wants one!

      • since it is linked to your facebook, you have the option to tell all your friends about every pin you ‘pin’ to your boards (it’s similar to ‘publishing’ new photos to your wall once you upload them on to facebook).

  • This was my favorite part of my home-buying experience! I absolutely reveled in paint colors, decorating ideas, and many, many blogs. One of my favorites has always been Belle Maison: http://www.bellemaison23.com/ She seems to have a great sense of decor/design mixed with all types of price points.

    Another favorite past-time that I still like to do from time to time is to peruse the viewer submissions on HGTV.com’s Rate My Room. I’ve picked up tons of ideas from some really thoughtful ideas.

    Have fun!

  • One thing that helped us decorate and furnish our first condo (and I’m sure we’ll use it when we upgrade to a house, which will hopefully be soon – just need to sell the condo!) was craigslist. I know you’re a bit of a germaphob, but there isn’t a piece of furniture you can find that you can’t find on craigslist. When we picked out our desired bedroom set I scoured craigslist daily looking for pieces from the set to bring the price down. The configuration we wanted would have cost us about $2k and we would have had to give up the mirror over the dresser. After some steady craiglist stalking I not only found pieces of the set, but the set in its entirety for $500, including a mattress (that would have cost us extra). It was some 12 yr old girl’s set and she wanted a new one. We rented a truck and picked it up, spending no more than $600 when all was said and done and got the mirror for the dresser. We’re not germaphobs so we lived with the mattress for a little while but then were able to splurge on an extremely nice mattress (worth every penny so splurge on that!) and the whole thing still cost us about $200 less than if we had just bought from the furniture store, tax and delivery not included.
    I’d say no less than half our house was furnished through secondhand items, and our savings account couldn’t be happier!

    • That is AWESOME! I definitely plan to stalk craigslist, too. If I’ve learned anything from those home design blogs, it’s that you don’t have to buy everything new and you don’t have to buy EVERYTHING all at once.

      And we’ll totally be splurging on a nice mattress!

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