by Donna De Palma
If you’ve just purchased a new home, you probably have a checklist of “must haves” to complete prior to moving day. This top ten list of what every homeowner needs, is a great place to start.
1. Window treatments
Cover your windows. We all want to let the sunshine in, however, window treatments are essential to a comfortable, stylish home. Choose versatile treatments that allow plenty of natural light in during the day and privacy when the sun goes down. Whether you choose blinds, curtains, Roman shades, shutters or valances, bring color and pattern into your room by selecting window coverings that set the tone for your room’s decor. When hanging custom shades, choose a fabric that complements or matches your sofa and chairs in a living room or great room. Luxurious fabrics like linen or silk make a dramatic statement when floor length curtains are your choice. The extra length lets curtains puddle slightly on the floor. Valances can add an additional decorative element to a room. Layer curtains with sheers underneath in a fresh-colored fabric to create more options for light control. Have fun with your window treatments. The right window treatment can turn any window into a stunning focal point in a room or the perfect backdrop for fine furnishings.
2. Create a place to relax
Every home needs a special spot to unwind; a serene space to retreat to at the end of your day. Whether it’s a sunroom, man cave or just a cozy corner where you can enjoy a good read, we all need a place to put our feet up and forget the worries of the day. Place a comfortable chair near a reading lamp. Don’t forget an end table to put your cup of coffee on. Groupings of furniture should be cozy and functional.
A bathroom that’s designed like a spa is a prefect place to indulge yourself. Try a soaking tub in a room that features a soft color palette, dimmers and plush fabrics for a fabulous end to a stressful day. Choose a room in your new home that will be your well-deserved retreat.
3. Have a color scheme
Integrate the spaces in your home by selecting a color palette that carries throughout. Choose a palette of neutral tones in subtly-varied hues to create continuity in an open floor plan. Or select contrasting colors of the same tone to designate different functions for different spaces. Colors you can live with that work well with your furnishings are key to a comfortable home that you’ll want to spend lots of time in.
Experiment with accent colors. A little bit of bold color goes a long way if you want to add drama to your color scheme. Remember colors look differently when next to other colors. They also appear differently when they are in different light so bring samples of your color choices to your new home before committing to a color palette.
4. A place to lay your head
There is nothing more important in your home than the mattress you sleep on each night. Your mattress is a great place to splurge on comfort. Trying out a mattress is essential to a good fit. Bigger is usually better especially if you’re sharing your mattress with someone you love. Pillows matter. And so do sheets, blankets and bed coverings. Think comfort first, then style. And don’t forget luxury. If you want crisp sheets, try Percale. For a softer feel, Egyptian, pima and supima cottons reign supreme. Cotton is soft, durable and breathes well. Thread count matters but highest isn’t always best. Generally, the higher the thread count, the softer the sheet and the more likely it will wear well. A good choice is a sheet that ranges between a 200 and 800 thread count.
Mix fabrics, textures and pattern to match your style. When choosing a comforter, coverlet or duvet, touch the fabric to see if it’s something that will be comfortable to lie on. Pillows come in all shapes and sizes from boudoir to bolster. Mix them up to add interest.
5. Storage. Storage. Storage
There’s one thing none of us can get enough of and that’s storage. Clutter doesn’t improve the style in any room. Find containers, baskets, shelves and storage units that take clutter out of sight. Baskets make interesting accessories to hide excess stuff. Storage units come in many forms. Be creative. Stow away personal items in containers that are easy to access.
Whether it’s bright colors and punchy fabrics or pretty weaves and rustic textures, containers can add style to your space. Just remember one simple rule. If your storage units are out of sight, make them strictly functional but if they’re on display, they need to integrate well with the overall design of the room.
6. A Personal Touch
Your home should be a reflection of who you are. Create a collection of your favorite things from your family, your travel, or your childhood. Display your collection on shelves or a wall dedicated to memorabilia. Find accessories that showcase your personality. If you love the ocean, search for themes that reflect your love of the water. If you have a unique vintage collection, group items in a place where they can enjoy center stage.
7. Remember artwork
No one wants to live in a furniture showroom. Artwork adds a personal touch to your home. Finding artwork you can live with takes time and effort. Hang items on your walls that you will love for years. Consider subject matter, color palette and style. Your artwork doesn’t have to be pricey, just something you adore.
Rotate artwork on your walls. A wall of art on a wall going upstairs makes a perfect gallery space. Don’t be afraid to step outside your comfort zone in small ways with your choices of wall art.
Consider scale. Artwork shouldn’t disappear on a wall or compete with another center of interest in a room. Like any accessory, artwork needs to relate to nearby furnishings, wall colors and finishes.
8. Bring the green indoors
Even if you don’t have a green thumb, plants bring life into your home. There are houseplants that need very little care to thrive. Plants improve the air quality in your new home and they make a house feel like a home. Vary the height and variety of plants. Try grouping plants near windows. Taller plants such as a Palm or Ficus, Rubber Tree or even a Norfolk Pine in front of a window add drama to your room. More exotics like Ponytail Palm and Saguaro Cactus are also an option for a sunny corner of your home.
Some low maintenance varieties of house plant with lush green foliage are Philodendron, English Ivy, Arrowhead Vine, Boston Fern and Jade plants.
9. Create an outdoor space
Expand the possibilities for outdoor living with a deck, patio, outdoor grill or fireplace —even a full outdoor kitchen. Discovering the joy of outdoor living adds a new dimension to your new home.
Consult an expert when planning outdoor space. Consider a location for your patio or deck by deciding what function it’s going to fulfill and at what time of day it will get the most use.
If you plan on using your outdoor space for entertaining, position it near an exterior door that’s close to your kitchen. If it faces west and you plan to entertain in the evening, you’ll need a shade structure like a gazebo, pergola or canopy.
Think function to maximize use of your outdoor space. Planting shade trees nearby will block direct sunlight and extend its use. If your patio will be adjacent to a pool and serve as a daytime escape, remember, it will heat up, so lighter colored materials are best. Dark colors absorb sunlight and will get too hot. If your stone, tile or cement is too light, it can be blinding and far too reflective for our eyes. Following a few practical guidelines will make outdoor living a feature of your new home you can’t live without.
10. Consider safety for your new home
Fire happens unexpectedly—even in a new home. Be prepared for kitchen fires with a fire blanket stored conveniently by your stove. Fire extinguishers are a must in all homes. Make sure your smoke detectors are functioning effectively and are the best type for your home. Have an emergency plan in place for family members; a place where your entire family can meet if your home needs to be evacuated.
Finally, to make your new home more than just a place to live but a place for you and your family to thrive, be a good neighbor. These top ten tips can ensure that your new home will be a safe, comfortable place that everyone can enjoy.