This guest post has been contributed by Fatima.
About the Author
I am Fatima, born in Karachi, raised in Abu Dhabi and currently residing in Washington DC. I consider myself as a Social Media Star by day and also by night since I love putting every (not every, but most) bit of my life out there (you can find more about me on Instagram & my Website).
When not hosting friends or game nights, I’m usually found cooking delicacies for my husband’s never-ending appetite. Apart from reading books and binge-watching shows, my favorite therapeutic chore is to clean, organize and rearrange my house with some music in the background.
Last year when I moved to U.S. from a two-story house in Pakistan to an empty one-bedroom apartment, it was exciting but very, very scary. I hardly helped around the house back home, but here I was in this new place with the responsibility of making it a pleasant and comfortable place for me and my husband. So today, I am going to share my journey, some tips and hacks that helped me transform this house into a beautiful home.
Take things one day (or one salary) at a time!
So, when I moved here, we hardly had any furniture in the house. We started our journey with a bed, an ironing stand and a few kitchen utensils. Initially, the empty house would give me anxiety and made me feel even more lonelier. I wanted to set it up asap! But then starting from scratch in a new place with one income was very difficult. So firstly, we made a priority list of the things that we required right away and things that could wait.
The rule of bringing one piece of furniture or adding things one by one (every month, with every salary) helped us a lot and was equally exciting as we would plan and look forward to things the next month. Also, because of this ritual, every piece of furniture became special as it held a story in itself. So, my friends, enjoy the process, don’t rush it and take it slow.
Your home is a reflection of you!
I would watch tutorials, read up on home furnishing and get inspired. But during the process of decorating my house, I realized that the beautiful homes and designs we come across in magazines, in stores or online, are sometimes (most of the times) not practical and feasible for us. For e.g. I absolutely love places with the element of plants in it, but I know that wouldn’t be possible at my place because of the carpeted flooring and also because I think I won’t be able to take care of it. But on the other hand, you will find loads of books, colorful jewelry holders, ethnic runners and trays and collection of souvenirs around my house because I am passionately fond of them.
Hence, adding personality to your place and customizing it to your liking, reflects that the house belongs to you (and other family members).
My House, My rules! No Comparisons needed!
Right now, there is a lot of room for more standing mirrors, couches and frames in my living room. But I realized that even though I absolutely love these elements, they will not be suitable for my living arrangement as I love to host game nights and invite my friends over all the time. We all love sitting on the floor, have endless sessions of chai and enjoy the not-so-formal yet extremely cozy gatherings.
So, my point is that decorate and arrange your house according to your lifestyle and liking without feeling intimidated and comparing it to others.
Explore, Evolve, Repeat!
We are always evolving as people, so it’s quite possible for us to not like something that we previously adored. For e.g. last year we purchased this small dining table from Facebook marketplace, but after having it for a year I realized that we hardly use it ourselves and even if we are hosting anyone for dinner, nobody really sits around the table (it’s just how we roll); so now I am actually thinking to sell it out and have a book shelf and a workstation instead.
So, if you don’t like that shelf in the corner and find it useless, replace it with plants or a lamp!
Things to Remember
There were a few things that I kept in mind or learnt along the way of furnishing my first home.
- My cabinets and closets used to be a mess no matter how much time I spent organizing them. And then I came across the blessing of organizers (organizing bins or baskets) and they turned out to be really helpful at keeping things in place (and my sanity intact)
- Initially, if you are on a budget, you can look for furniture and other home related accessories on Facebook Marketplace or IKEA (my entire house is an amalgamation of these two).
- Your home is the place where you spend the most of your time, so make sure that it’s designed according to your liking and comfort.
No matter where I go, which part of the world I am visiting, the fancy hotels I am staying in, nothing replaces the feeling of being home. And that is something to keep in mind when setting up your place. Make it YOURS!