Moving into your first home
My son and his new wife recently moved into their first house, and with it came the joys and woes of starting out - finding furniture and accessories to decorate the space to make it a home.
What young couple doesn't dream of moving into their first home, whether it's a flat, a townhouse or a house. The prospect of moving into that first home is both daunting and exciting at the same time. But if you're moving in without any furniture, or with a few hand-me-downs from family and relatives, you're going to need a decent budget to decorate your first home. However, there are some pieces that you will want to splurge on and others where you can make-do for the time being, or make your own, until you can afford to buy items that would look good in your new home.
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First and foremost, you need a bed. I remember moving into my first home with absolutely nothing but the clothes on my back, an air bed and some blankets. For over a month we slept on the floor until we could scrounge together enough money to buy a quality mattress and base. You want to purchase a mattress of good quality, and this one item will, therefore, set your budget back a bit. Take the time to shop around for the best prices on a mattress that guarantees a good night's sleep and that will stand the test of time.
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You can save money when buying a bed by only buying the mattress and making your own base. When you think about it, most bases are a basic chipboard frame covered with fabric, and you could easily make your own box frame for well under R1000 and upholster in your choice of fabric.
Using 16mm SupaWood or plywood, or 19mm laminated pine shelving and PAR pine you can easily make your own bed base. Depending on the material you use to make the base you can paint it (SupaWood), wrap it with thin batting and fabric (plywood), or stain and seal it (pine). And the good news is that it shouldn't take more than a weekend to assemble the base if you have all your materials cut to size at your nearest Builders Warehouse or timber merchant.
The next piece, or pieces, of furniture you need is a sofa or lounge suite. If you've been making do with an old sofa handed down from your mom, it's not the first choice for your new home, but it will suffice until you can afford to buy new. You can always cover it up with a couple of throws or large blanket if it's covered in moth-eaten fabric and looking worse for wear. If the piece has good bones and you like the style, sometimes it's worth having a piece re-upholstered. There was a time when furniture was well made and built to last, and if all you need to do is replace the upholstery, consider the cost and whether or not it's worth it.
If you don't have anywhere to sit when you move in, these days there are plenty of options for making your own seating using readily available materials. You can buy upholstered seat cushions at Mr Price Home, or you can buy some foam and fabric and make your own cushions. If you don't have a sewing machine you can always ask for mom's help.
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We've already got some great ideas for making your very own sofa on the website, and there's even instructions for making a comfortable modern sofa using materials you will find at your local Builders or timber and board supplier. And if you take the time to do it properly, you can save yourself thousands of Rands by making your own, plus you can make it the perfect size and upholster in your personal choice of fabric.
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If you don't have any DIY skills up your sleeve, you'll be pleased to know that there are ways to make your own comfortable seating without using any power tools. Using the French tufting method, it's easy to use foam, batting and fabric to design a comfortable place to sit that fits in with the decor you have planned for your new home - and you don't even need a sewing machine to do this!
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Wining and Dining
In the last few years DIY has become so popular that everyone is jumping on the bandwagon and making all types of furniture for their home. Dining tables are a reasonably simple DIY project that can be done in a day and the hardest part of making your own dining table is finding the right design and materials.
From rustic farmhouse style to ultra modern, a quick visit to Pinterest and you will be overwhelmed with options for DIY dining tables. You have the choice of making something quick and easy until you can afford to splurge on a table you have had your eye on, or making a dining table that fits in perfectly with your decor and style.
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You can make your dining table using reclaimed flooring planks or beams, reclaimed pallets, or buy PAR pine off the shelf. These days anything goes and you can find a huge selection of legs, have a welder make steel frames for you, or pick up a couple of tree stumps as a base for your dining table. The Internet makes it so easy for us to search online to find what we need or look for alternatives if something we like is not available locally.
When designing your new dining table, stick to what you know. Most of the DIY options are pretty basic and don't require special power tools to make, but if you're not sure you can always ask us for advice and we'll try and guide you through the process of buying the right materials and what tools you'll need.
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Even with basic DIY skills and knowledge you can add pieces to transform your new house into a home - even if you only have a small budget to work with. If you feel your skills are limited, sign up for a DIY Workshop to become more confident and pick up plenty of tips and tricks to help you make your own furniture and accessories.