how to pick what home projects & purchases to make first

Paint color is Simply White by Benjamin Moore. Matte finish on walls, satin finish on trim.

So this has been one of the most frequently asked questions since we’ve moved and I totally get why! When you first move in, it can be hard to decide what you want to focus on first. Paint, furniture, re-modeling? And I don’t know about you guys but as much as I’d like to get everything done ASAP unfortunately that’s just not realistic for my bank account LOL. So here are some things we’ve thought about/considered during the move-in process in terms of deciding on what to tackle first.

First and foremost, you need to figure out what your budget is. I shared about this some in my recent post How to Budget Home Projects & Decor When You First Move but before you do anything, you really need to know what budget you’re working with. Definitely check out that post for more details but one thing we did first was set aside 6 months of living expenses (6 months is more conservative but I would say to aim for at least 3 months of living expenses saved). Then whatever we had left over after that we decided what we wanted to use towards the house.

Okay so once we had the budget down, I looked at projects that were within that range. For example, the kitchen re-model didn’t really fit within that budget so that got put on the back burner. So what were things that fit in the budget? Painting, furniture and home decor items. Once I had this list, I then thought about what spaces we used the most and what would make the biggest impact. Painting was the first thing that came to mind. Sure, hiring painters to paint 75% of house is more expensive than a piece of furniture but it was still a reasonable cost and fit within the budget. And since painting can make a huge impact and is something that can transform multiple rooms in the house it seemed like the best project to do first (hence why we painting the living room above!)

We then narrowed down the next purchases by the spaces we wanted to use but didn’t have any furniture for. For example, we have a sunroom that we would love to use especially when fall rolls around but right now we don’t have any furniture for it. We also have a dining room that we would love to host Thanksgiving and Christmas for our family with but we have no table LOL. So you can see that those purchases moved up higher on our list in terms of priority. Do I want a new bed? Yes. Do I want a new desk for my office? Yes. But I already have items that are functional in those spaces so I’d rather focus on other spaces that we want to use but don’t have any furniture.

So! From our experience, my recommendation would be to think within your budget, what is one thing that could make the biggest impact and go from there.  I feel like painting can always be towards the top of the list, especially because if it’s just one room, you can do that yourself without spending money hiring someone. But let’s say you don’t need your house painted but you know that you will spend a lot of time in your family/living room. Maybe it’s because you love having movie nights, cozying up with a good book, having game night etc. Then that would probably be an area/home project you would want to prioritize since you’re spending a large amount of time there.

At the end of the day though, remember that you don’t need to re-do everything at once. Not only is not necessarily feasible from an economic perspective but also I think it’s important to live in the space for a while to decide what you really want. You may not know day 1 what you need in certain areas and that’s okay. Patience is a virtue here, people!! xxC


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