Decorating first home
nehudfriend
September 30, 2013 in Design Dilemma
We are a young couple and first time home buyers who recently bought this new 1800 sq feet townhouse. We plan to move in mid Oct and have no idea what sort of furniture to buy and how to decorate. Our budget is also modest. I read we could hire decorators for hourly consultation. How much do such consultations cost? Is hiring an interior decorator really expensive. We have a 5k budget which includes budget for furniture so we are thinking there is no way we can afford one. Our home is in loudoun county, va.
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nehudfriend
Our living room
0 Likes   September 30, 2013 at 8:56PM
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Margo
Check with some of your local furniture stores, many offer in home design service;)
1 Like   Thanked by nehudfriend    September 30, 2013 at 9:21PM
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karemore55
You probably should skip hiring the decorating consultant and just make use of the creative, helpful folks at Houzz to help you put together a look for your first home. Since this is your first home and your budget is limited, and you will most likely be replacing pretty much everything you buy in about 10 years or so, it makes sense to use your hard-earned dollars on the necessities. Interior designers are more like the luxury!

Your furniture will most likely come from places like Ikea, West Elm, Pier One and CB2. All these stores do very stylish and on trend furniture and accessories at great prices. Start browsing their websites and bookmarking furniture you like, and see if you can get a handle on what your combined tastes are. These stores mostly offer a modern look, with Pier One leaning a little more toward a global mix and, to some extent, West Elm also. However, don't buy everything from one place! Try and put together a collection that hasn't been already worked out for you.

Will you be needing an area rug, or does your tow home have wall-to-wall carpeting? Selecting an area rug is a good way to build your look and color scheme around. Otherwise, start with a sofa in a neutral color and an armchair in a coordinating color, then just keep adding on. A great first sofa is the Ikea Ektorp slipcovered sofa. I recommend buying the white slipcovers because you can pretty much do anything with it, design-wise, and it's completely washable - even bleachable. For an upholstered sofa (and a slightly higher cost), West Elm has nice, modern choices. For bedroom suites, West Elm again is a great choice.

I would start with a sofa, coffee table, arm chair and two side chairs that could be used either in the living room, or pulled up to the dining room table when needed. A DR table and four chairs, not necessarily from a suite, could seat the two of you or, with a leaf inserted, up to 6. West Elm has coffee tables that open up to become a lap top table or TV tray, which might come in handy. Pier One has a cute "C" table that is an end table, but can be moved in front of you, again, for lap top use or as a TV table. You could have a C table as one end table, and a small round table at the other end of the sofa. Place a table lamp on the round table, and have a floor lamp on the other end.

In your bedroom, lots of good looking headboards to be found at any of these stores. For bedside tables, consider buying two Ikea Malm dressers in the 30" width if you have the space. It will give you extra storage and have more surface space for lamps, iPhone docks, etc. you're almost there! Just a dresser, maybe a Parsons desk from West Elm for computer work, a tall bookshelf from Ikea... And don't forget lots of cushions on the sofa and one piece of great art work (affordableart.com)!
1 Like   Thanked by nehudfriend    September 30, 2013 at 9:30PM
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karemore55
Now that I see a pic of your cute little townhome, I'm just chomping at the bit here. Oh man, I would love to decorate your home! You have no idea how hard it is for me to resist posting pics of sofas, chairs, pillows...
1 Like   September 30, 2013 at 9:32PM
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PRO
Lauren Elyse Fine Art, LLC.
If you've got room for some art on the walls to polish off your decor, please check out my work :) I'm very willing to work with you on price if you see a piece you like.

www.etsy.com/shop/laurenelysefineart
0 Likes   September 30, 2013 at 9:37PM
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karemore55
Ikea sofa, Pier One arm chair, side chair and DR chair. (Sorry, just couldn't stop myself!)
3 Likes   Thanked by nehudfriend    September 30, 2013 at 9:39PM
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chayasufrin
First think what draws your eye. Browse a bit for couches and when you see one that says 'buy me' and its affordable, go for it and build your room from there. In every from of the house find something you really like, maybe even splurge on a couple pieces, and them Build around it. Target and Walmart also have some decent furniture, so it's worth looking there too. Artwork and accessories you should leave for now because your budget isn't so high. Throw pillows and art and cute lamps can all be bought slowly as and when you can afford it.
0 Likes   October 1, 2013 at 4:26AM
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linlac
Have you been to Belfort furniture? They have free design services, different styles of furniture, a clearance center, and a huge showroom. Take your floor plan and see if you can find a style you like. Don't rush, you can take pictures of possible choices and post for more input if you're unsure. I would only buy the larger necessities from there. Sofa, dining room, possibly chairs. Go to their website and look at the prices before you go. This will help you to see how much you can get for your budget. Accessorize using all the discount stores like Home Goods, Marshall's, Ross, Tuesday Morning etc. You can really stretch that budget if you do some bargain hunting. One more thing, check out the stores warranty. I bought a sofa a couple years back(not at Belfort) and the cushions weren't holding up. It was one year later, the store picked up the sofa and credited all the money towards a new sofa. Congratulations on your new home and keep us posted.
1 Like   Thanked by nehudfriend    October 1, 2013 at 6:24AM
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nehudfriend
omg, thank you so much for replying all of you! I feel so much better that theres someone out there to help us with our choices. I'm uploading a builders floorplan for our kitchen and living room area where we tried arranging furniture. We have a wall mount where we have placed the TV so we placed our sofa opposite it because we know thats where we would be sitting if we want to watch some tv. But we are not totally happy with the way we have arranged the furniture. Any help is greatly appreciated.
0 Likes   October 1, 2013 at 7:08PM
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karemore55
Nehudfriend, Does the wall-mount for the TV swivel?
0 Likes   October 1, 2013 at 7:53PM
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karemore55
Also, I'm not sure if you've already bought the furniture, but if it's not too late, can I talk you out of getting the love seat?
0 Likes   October 1, 2013 at 7:54PM
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karemore55
Assuming the TV can swivel, I'm going to suggest you scoot the sofa forward about 3 feet, so that the back of it is about equal to the left side of the bay window. Then, have one arm chair angled toward the sofa on the right side of the bay window. You could then do 2 small side chairs facing the bay window, and these would close in your grouping and allow for about 3 or 4 feet behind them as passageway to the bathroom. The two side chairs would be quite close together - no table between them - about a foot apart. Don't angle them - they would go perpendicular to the sofa. Your grouping should have a footprint of about 12 sq. ft. A good-sized coffee table in the middle, either round or rectangular, will anchor the seating. You can put a small ceramic drum stool next to the angled arm chair. This is all going to leave some wall space next to the angled TV. If the budget can stretch, a horizontal credenza, or even a dresser (any hand-me-downs from relatives?) could sit there, and hang a nice, big piece of art above it. If you can get your hands on a used dresser, but it looks too "bedrooms" or otherwise not appropriate for the space, a couple of coats of paint in a fun color could completely transform it. Alternately, the Malm dressers from Ikea that I mentioned earlier come in a longer length, or you could push two 30" ones together to form a 5' long unit. These could work here too. They could act as media storage for all your TV accessories, DVD's, etc.
0 Likes   October 1, 2013 at 8:04PM
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karemore55
Just now noticed there is a window on the wall where I suggested the credenza and large piece of art. Wish I could be looking at the pics as I'm typing lol! So, if the dresser/credenza could fit under the TV, and you hang matching side panels on all the windows in this area, the only thing you need to help fill in that corner behind the arm chair is a floor lamp that has a lot of presence - that almost reads as sculpture. Look to Ikea for this type of lamp. There are lots of fun lamps out there - an arc floor lamp would be great, but might be too pricey. Some of these things may have to wait a bit, as you can afford it. Start with the absolute essentials and add on when you are able.
0 Likes   October 1, 2013 at 8:11PM
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nehudfriend
Thanks Karemore55 for your help. I don't know if I understood all your suggestions correctly but heres what I interpreted.
0 Likes   October 1, 2013 at 9:25PM
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nehudfriend
I have a picture from our model house without the bay window, I love their sofa but I am not a fan of the dark rug, however it looks really good in the model home.
0 Likes   October 1, 2013 at 9:34PM
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karemore55
Rehudfriend, Yes, that's exactly what I meant! Then, just behind the angled arm chair you could do a fairly prominent lamp to keep that corner from being too bare. With side panels on the windows,the wall next to the TV should look fine. If it still looks a little bare once these things are in place, you could hang two framed pics, one above the other, centred between the window and the wall corner. So, will your TV be able,to angle?
0 Likes   October 1, 2013 at 9:37PM
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karemore55
Just looked at the model home pic. I'm guessing there was no TV in the show home, otherwise they couldn't have placed the sofa there and had a logical furniture plan. Actually, now that I look at the drawing you based on my idea (I can see it peeking out at me!), the angled chair could come out of the bay window area just a bit, so that the right side of it is about even with the window frame. That should give you better balance. Also, it looks like the coffee table could go a little closer to the sofa. You need 18 - 20" clearance between coffee tables and sofas/chairs, etc.
0 Likes   October 1, 2013 at 9:42PM
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karemore55
I'm glad you don't like the model home rug - the black would be a nightmare to keep looking clean. It would show every piece of lint or thread or light-coloured hair. Sometimes a rug with a big, bold print can have huge impact and look great, but they're what I call "bossy rugs". It can be hard to decorate around them. To keep costs down, you may want to look into having carpeting that is meant for wall-to-wall cut and bound to your required size. You can get very nicely textured carpeting - it doesn't have to be boring. It may cost less than a ready-made area rug. You can find area rugs that are pretty cheap, but they will be throw-away rugs, ie. they won't last forever. I may have mentioned already, though, that you can expect to get about 10 years out of most of your furniture,my which time hopefully you will be able to start buying "forever" pieces. Still, it's good to stay fairly neutral with rug and sofa, then add a bit of color and pattern through curtains, cushions, and of course art.
0 Likes   October 1, 2013 at 9:50PM
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karemore55
Oh, I just spotted the TV in the model home floor plan. Definitely not a good arrangement. Would have to turn your head while watching TV from sofa, even with it angled. Also, the sofa is facing the bathroom - not a great focal point. And the arrangement doesn't look cozy - it was set up so potential buyers have lots of room to walk around the space, and to feel like there's lots of room. It's a nice sized room, however. Nice and square, which is easier to work with.
0 Likes   October 1, 2013 at 9:54PM
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linlac
I think you need to a true space plan that shows exactly what kind of area you are working with. Do those measurements run to the island? Have your accounted for how many feet you will need with barstools. Do the measurements go to the powder room wall or the stair wall? The bay is not deep so the chair will mostly be in the room. If you look at the plan that karemore suggested the chairs are in direct line with the TV. Is there room to push them back? Just pointing out some potential problems with using those overall measurements. Is that the entrance by the stairs where you will be looking straight into this room. Do you want to block the bay with chairs or have a more open feel? Use low back chairs to avoid this problem. By using something like the small sectional shown in the model you could eliminate the two chairs to the right of the sofa. Maybe a club chair that swivels in the bay area with the sectional. Or, the bay would be a great place for a window seat. Any friends that could help you with building the bench? I would draw your own floor plan which includes all walls and windows which shows true measurements. Take that to the furniture store and pick out some potential items with different layouts. Get the measurements of all the pieces you pick and use painters tape to show how they will work in the space. Kind of a pain but this will be so worth it. Buying the wrong size or too many pieces of furniture is a common mistake. Hope I didn't overwhelm you. Just giving some different options to think about.
0 Likes   October 2, 2013 at 4:54AM
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linlac
Here's a room that may give you a better visual of what I was thinking. I like the idea of a chair in the corner with a floor lamp if you could do a window seat.
1 Like   Thanked by nehudfriend    October 2, 2013 at 7:58AM
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nehudfriend
oh linlac this looks so pretty!
0 Likes   October 2, 2013 at 8:04AM
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karemore55
Lilac, To clarify - the floor plan I suggested was with the assumption that the TV could swivel. Also, the side chairs suggested are quite small - I had in mind the Pier One chairs posted above, which can also double as DR chairs. I felt that having chairs on this side would close in the conversation area, as well as somewhat mitigate the view toward the bathroom - not something you want to be looking at from the LR lol! Your comments are appreciated, though - and they are lucky to have a room that is more square than rectangular as it gives them more options.
0 Likes   October 2, 2013 at 11:00AM
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nehudfriend
We have not bought the wall mount yet, so we could still go for a one that swivels. I am attaching the picture of the futon we currently have in our apartment. I really love this futon but the only issue is it has an ugly black fabric behind it so if we are using it somewhere in our house we have to place it next to a wall. Oh I am so inspired by all of you! Thanks for all the great ideas!
0 Likes   October 2, 2013 at 11:25AM
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linlac
karemore, my comment wasn't about your chair idea. I like that plan and simply suggested that she get low back chairs that keep an open feel. My comment was directed to the floor plan that nehudfriend posted and the actual measurements. The chairs are right in line with the tv. I was also offering an alternative of keeping that side open. I felt if a sectional with a chaise was used it may eliminate one or both of the chairs. I like the model home layout replacing the two chairs with the sofa. I like the end of the sofa in line with the tv. Hope that made sense.
0 Likes   October 2, 2013 at 12:32PM
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linlac
nehudfriend, I was thinking about the issue of all the furniture floating. That's funny you mention the back of the futon being ugly. I was going to say make sure you look at the back of all the furniture you pick. Sometimes it's not so attractive. As far as leaving one side open or adding chairs, you would be the best judge of that. You've been in the model and seen the one side left open. Did you like that or do you need more seating and like the chair idea.
0 Likes   October 2, 2013 at 12:42PM
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