7 Tips for Decorating Your First Home Together on a Budget

Don’t let your honeymoon phase be dampened by the expense of furnishing your place.
by Samantha Bowers
Couple in living room

When you’re planning one big (expensive) party to celebrate your love for one another, one word you’re probably tired of hearing comes up again and again. (Hint: It starts with “m” and ends with “y.”) The good news? Those newfound budgeting skills will also come in handy when you’re moving in together, or furnishing or remodeling your current home. Simple, smart practices like investing in the pieces that matter, trying your hand at DIY, or using a Synchrony HOME Credit Card to finance your purchases can make creating your dream home a piece of cake—and set you up to start married life together on a high note. 

1. Make a list of things you absolutely need and invest in the pieces that matter.

Do you really need that giant industrial wall clock to hang in the living room right now? Even if it totally pulls the room together, it may be an item you can hold off on until after you’ve purchased a few more essentials. To help keep yourself on track, make a list and rank the items you plan to buy in order of “can’t live without” to “this could wait.” Think about the major pieces you’ll use every day and place them at the top of your lineup, whether it’s a quality refrigerator or a comfy sofa. Once you’ve ranked the items you absolutely need, you’ll have a better grasp on the funds still left over to splurge on more decorative accents. 

2. Look for furniture that can fill multiple roles.

From a footstool with extra storage underneath to a window seat that doubles as a bookcase, you can save money and space by investing in multifunctional pieces. Look for workhorses that have more than one feature and could fill the role of another useful item, now or down the line. If you know you’re going to have guests crashing at your place but don’t have a dedicated guest room, consider a sofa bed (total space saver). If your dining room feels a little cramped, look for a drop leaf or expandable table so you can adjust according to the number of guests. The options are endless!

3. Use a Synchrony HOME Card to finance purchases.

With all the wedding-related events you likely have planned, the chances of guests (and even future in-laws) popping in to stay at your place are high. If you’re looking for a way to upgrade a room—fast—consider using the Synchrony HOME Credit Card to purchase everything you’ll need to get the job done. The card allows you to take advantage of promotional financing on home-related purchases at tens of thousands of retail locations (with perks—there are even exclusive cardholder sales and events). Paying for your new appliances, furniture, décor and even home improvement purchases over time makes it easier to plan your monthly budget and allocate funds in advance.

4. Shop the sales.

Before you buy that rustic three-shelf baker’s rack you’ve been dreaming of adding to your kitchen, ask the retailer if there are any sales coming up in the near future, either storewide or on your specific item (it never hurts to ask, right?). If you’ve fallen in love with a display model, you can even ask about buying the furniture or appliance right off the retail floor. Floor samples are often sold at a reduced price, and most of the time you can find pieces as good as new. While you’re at it, it’s always a good idea to ask if they offer or are willing to throw in free delivery. You’ll also want to be on the lookout for seasonal markdowns on appliances (the best time to buy is in December), holiday shopping discounts and programs like the Synchrony HOME Credit Card’s members-only sales and events, which can help you save big.

5. Start a DIY project together.

If you’re looking for a way to dive in and create a home that reflects your relationship, consider starting a few DIY décor projects together to liven up a room. Supplies are often very affordable, and you can even use the Synchrony HOME Credit Card to consolidate your purchases from multiple home improvement retailers onto one card. Save big by crafting your own table centerpiece, painting the master bedroom headboard to match your décor, or even building a custom bookcase that fits your style. Not only will you and your partner have fun working together, you’ll also be able to make the space entirely unique to you.

6. Go thrift shopping, visit a local flea market, or accept hand-me-downs.

Before you pass on the secondhand coffee table your in-laws offered, think about how much you’ll save by accepting the piece and making it your own. While it’s important to invest in the items you absolutely need (like a quality sofa), consider hunting for less essential furniture and décor pieces at local thrift shops, antique stores or even relatives’ storage units. These can be great spots to find unique pieces that’ll fill your home with character the affordable way. If your find needs a bit of a makeover, you can turn the project into a fun DIY activity (see above).

7. Take it one room at a time.

Slow and steady wins the race, even when it comes to furnishing your first home. Although it may be tempting to go all out and try to tackle multiple rooms at once, start by buying the basics for one room at a time. Consider taking on more public areas of the home first, like the living room, where you know guests will gather.

Purchases with a Synchrony Home Credit Card are subject to credit approval.

The Knot and Synchrony HOME Credit Card present Make Yourself at Home, a sponsored series featuring money-saving tips and ideas to help you furnish your newlywed nest on a budget. Learn more about how the Synchrony HOME Credit Card can help you finance purchases from tens of thousands of retailers.

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