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Brand New House (and Furniture) Falls Flat? Here’s What You Missed

Anyone anywhere that has tried on something ICONIC from the display or mannequin, only to be utterly dismayed in the dressing room can agree on this one thing: just because you can do something, it does not mean that you should. Avoiding the pitfalls of consumerism and the increasingly faster cycle of home decor trends means an intentional approach remains the best route for nailing your home design. Read on as I share a few of my favorite tips for avoiding buyer's remorse while furnishing your dream space with new furniture.

--xx KG

an empty living space with white walls and oak floors

Congratulations, you did it! You purchased a home! You finally renovated that kitchen with the waterlogged cabinets and got rid of the moldy tiles. You took an empty lot in the middle of nowhere and transformed it brick by brick into the home of your dreams! You decided you can only tolerate the sight of your own dirty laundry on the floor and you've moved into the loft space that opened up right in the heart of downtown! Only now, walking around and without any of the tradespeople, realtors, contractors or roommates, it just doesn't feel. . . right. Nothing really prepares a new homeowner or barely still-married couple at the end of an arduous home build/renovation for the gloriously deserved yet dreadfully overwhelming sight of a spanking brand new and horrifying empty space. If you ventured into a new build without the added luxury of an interior designer, chances are your old stuff doesn't really do the new layout justice.

upholstered bed positioned along wall with white bedding and black piping. View leads to primary on-suite bathroom
Haus Guerin Primary bedroom, photo | Angela Brown Photopgraphy

So just how do you cross the finish line of a new build or renovation without the existential dread of feeling like you missed the mark? Don't worry, I have a few tips.

One-stop shop for new house furniture? Think again

According to the 2022 Survey of Construction from the Census Bureau, the average build time a for single home dwelling in the United States is seven months. With custom builds in many regions teetering closer to 18 months, the long road to a finished home can be grueling. By the time the sawdust settles, homeowners are budget-strained and on the cusp of decision fatigue.

Faced with choosing key pieces solely on the basis of functionality, an exhausted couple may feel tempted to shop it all from one place, oftentimes sacrificing cohesive design along the way.

Please. Don't.

You may truly feel as though the six-piece bedroom set you brought directly from the big-box retailer floor is "the one". Well Haus-mates, that feeling is by design. The allure of these type of collections is that it lends a false air of completion. It does not require you to think about finding additional pieces that match. All the hard work is "done" for you. How incredibly gratifying is that! But away from the bright lights and back in your own home, this type of purchase will not look as appeasing once it is taken out of the confines of the showroom. Again, don't fall for this trick!

Black cabinet with white shelving styled with a wide array of decorative ceramics, vases and objets
Haus Guerin styled shelves

The key to a truly put to together space is the effortless cohesion of well-done curation. Getting this right is honestly the main objective. But first, where does your heart lead you?

Pick a Side

When in doubt, decide on a particular style of design and choose complementary pieces from the same era or class of furniture. Bonus points if you place complementary design in architecture that supports that decision. What does that mean exactly? Do try to match the style of the home's interior with the exterior architecture. For example, do you have a traditional brick-clad home? Try transitional furniture with a dash of modern for fun. Are you going big in a small way in a studio loft in the city? Make large scale pieces sing in your open yet small spaces and ground them with rugs to define spaces.

Pro tip: If you are still at a lost for what you truly love, check your wardrobe! Colors, structures and textiles that you naturally gravitate towards will be very apparent in the things you love to wear. So if you're grappling with your style identity, your hangers will reveal if you truly love a maximalist look, or if you enjoy something less visually stimulating but with tactile interest. Listen to your closet!

in focus shot of empty clothing hangers

Once your design style is at the forefront of your plan, now you tinker. This step is critical because honestly, it's what really brings the whole design together. If you're wondering why you would spend so much time nailing your actual design style to then start playing around with themes outside of it, you're ready for my next tip:

Good Design Demands Disruption

For your space to truly sing, you have to forego the call to be matchy-matchy and think more big picture in terms of completing the space. Start of course with with what you like. Are you more drawn to something bold or or something more subdued? Modern or Traditional? Start by building a collection of larger more expensive pieces based on your natural style leanings. Now, add eclectic touches from adjacent style groups--think post modern mixed with mid-century modern or Bauhaus. As you begin to tinker, you'll notice patterns even within the randomness. Did you enjoy a splash of whimsy in your otherwise fussy, traditional home? Or maybe you added romantic impressionistic art pieces to your personal gallery of hyper-realistic photography prints. In the curious case of styling, sometimes the more odd the pairing, the better it translates!

An overhead photo of various interior design textbooks showing interiors, some with tutorials for space planning

All said, making magic inside your home can be exhausting. If you're still feeling indecisive, remember that every detail need not be hammered our right now. Don't feel rushed to decide on all the pieces immediately. Move with intention, create a plan, and good luck!

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1 Comment

May 03

This is just what I needed! We are in the process of closing on a new build (first time homebuyer here) I can’t help but to think how naked it’s going to be! I want to get rid of everything and be more intentional about the furniture and decor!!! Very good read!



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