The First Design Steps After a Big Move

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The Estate Update

Holly Welles is a home improvement writer and the editor behind her own blog, The Estate Update. She believes that anyone can create a beautiful space, no matter their living situation. Subscribe for weekly tips!

Moving to a new place is exciting and exhausting at the same time. About 35.1 million Americans move every year, and more than 82 percent of those stay within the same state. Most are do-it-yourself movers, but some do hire professionals to at least help with the bigger items, such as furniture.

The costs of moving add up quickly, and once you've finally packed everything up and gotten it moved to the new place, you face the overwhelming task of unpacking it all and getting your life organized after the move. Fortunately, you can take some simple steps to make your new place feel like home and get your life functioning normally again. You also want to make the place your own and add some design elements.

Shown Here: Chelsea House Furniture

1. Place Furniture First

One of your first steps is figuring out how to place your furniture in the best layout. Of course, you want the placement to look interesting, but functionality is your primary goal. No matter how good that accent chair looks in the middle of your living room, if it blocks the flow to the kitchen, it needs a new spot. If you're working with movers, you may want to head to your new home before they arrive and use pieces of cardboard cut to the size of your furniture to try different layouts.

Using cardboard allows you not only to see how the layout looks, but lets you walk around the templates and make sure the flow of the room works for your needs. Once you have a layout in mind, you can have the movers set the furniture where you'd like it to live.

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2. Add Light

If you're renting, you may not have the option of setting up an open floor plan or adding new windows. However, that doesn't mean you can't add light to your new place. A few floor lamps light up a room, for example. Add incandescent bulbs for softer lighting, rather than harsh fluorescents.

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3. Organize Your Kitchen

You packed up your old kitchen and emptied out your cupboards and fridge. You've likely been eating takeout for the past few days. However, with the cost of buying a new home or moving to a new apartment, you can't afford to eat out forever. One of your first tasks upon reaching your new place should be to set up your kitchen. Go ahead and unpack everything. Unpacking also allows you to see what decor you may need to replace, or if you need new oven mitts and kitchen towels.

Shown Here: Bella Notte

4. Unpack Comforting Items

Your next step should be to unpack the items that bring you the most comfort. Familiar things will make your new place feel like home right off the bat. For example, find old blankets and your favorite pillow. Add comforting items for your pet, such as favorite toys or a doggy bed. What are the things you use every day that make your place feel like home?

Shown Here: Greenbox

5. Hang Photos and Art

Another way to add design touches to your new place is figuring out where to hang family photos and art. Keep in mind, not everything will work in your new place, so start a pile of things to donate, sell or keep. If there is a piece you love, but it doesn't go in your new living room, try relocating it to a bedroom and see how it works there.

First Design Steps

Many of the steps you take after moving to a new place aren't design per se, but are more about organization. It's important to get the clutter out of the way so you can enjoy your new place and make it feel like home.