Your dream home can’t be built in a day. It’s a tough reality that makes the process of moving a challenge for the impatient and/or idealistic among us. After all, we often move with the highest of hopes and the biggest of wishes for this exciting new space—with a sense that anything is possible. And it is… But building your dream home takes time as well as a solid foundation of practical must-haves and pieces that make you giddy with excitement. In our book, there are just nine items that will get you started out on the right foot.
From taking full advantage of the best budget hacks on the internet to styling tips we learned from Instagram, the digital world is a treasure trove of materials and inspiration to fit any price point. Our easy-to-execute list of musts for first-time décor aficionados is all you need to curate an artful abode on the first try—zero intimidation factor, no guesswork.
No news here: A couch is one of the first pieces you’ll want to settle on when decorating your new place. Home décor lore suggests you build your living room around your sofa, letting its color and aesthetic dictate the rest of the space. Though we don’t insist you follow this route, it will help set the tone. The best part? A classic shape in a durable fabric and versatile neutral color will serve you for years to come.
No living room is complete without the perfect perch for stacking your art books and setting down your glass of chilled pinot. Not to mention it’s a great place to show off a rotating crop of your favorite objects and accents.
A place to entertain friends and family is an essential for creating your dream home. Built for a cozy group of four or big enough for the extended family, a dining table is a symbol of hospitality and happiness. Choose the size and shape that will best appease your future entertaining ambitions.
Impressive library of books or not, a bookshelf is an absolute must for not only showing off your collections but also providing a space to style your most prized objects to your heart’s content. Large or small, freestanding or built into the wall, this is one storage solution you’ll be keen to show off.
Situated over a dining table, presiding over the kitchen, or crowning a walk-in closet, a light fixture with wow factor will elevate your space and add interest. Whether your style is classic (think a stunning crystal chandelier) or modern, a statement fixture is a worthwhile indulgence.
An oversize mirror adds a touch of luxe glamour to any interior and will work wonders for small-space dwellers—any room in the house. Rustic, industrial, or unapologetically rococo, they make a rich statement while serving a practical function to boot.
We’ve said it once, and we’ll say it again: Your bedroom is a sanctuary. Invest in the pieces you’ll need to make your bed one of your favorite places in your home, and you’ll look forward to every second spent snoozing.
Your theoretical dream home will be your actual dream home for a reason! Fill it with items that sing to you—and while furniture often is constrained somewhat by practicality, art is the perfect place to let your imagination and personal style roam free. A gallery wall or single framed canvas will make your home feel cultured and uniquely you.
It can be tempting to heed the tides of trends to a T. But whether or not something is having a moment, you’ll want to ensure that your space is true to your style and makes you feel delighted to call it home. One of the most intuitive ways to do this is by adding plenty of personal and unique accents: colorful details collected from antique markets, one-of-a-kind objects, vintage books, houseplants, and so on. Thoughtfully layered and displayed (on your bookshelves and coffee table, naturally!), these items will make your dream home unmistakably yours and yours alone.
What is the first piece you bought for your home? Tell us where you started in the comments below.
This post was originally published on September 11, 2016, and has since been updated.