Nine things first-time buyers should spend their money on
Best in Class: Invest in a good bed and sofa for starters
Sandbanks timber frame bed, from €538, Marks and Spencer.
1. A GOOD BED
Congratulations if you’ve managed to get that first footing on the property ladder. It isn’t easy and now you need to box clever on how to spend the resources you have to help furnish your home in a way that will bring you joy and comfort.
The first thing you need is something to sleep on. You can sleep on a mattress on the floor but if your budget will push to a decent bed, this is a really smart investment.
Chains like the homegrown Michael Murphy or Harvey Norman offer really good options, the former selling an on-trend velour double bed frame from its Starlight collection, from €549, while the latter’s Hagan is a gold-coloured fabric bed with a wingback head, currently €549. Marks & Spencer has a cool brass bed, from €599, and ottoman divans in fashion colours from €739. This Sandbanks timber frame costs from €538. All are ex mattress. michaelmurphy.ie; harveynorman.ie; marksandspencer.com/ie
2. A COMFORTABLE SOFA
A decent sofa is vital to furnishing your new abode but which shape and size to choose? When shopping, note the dimensions of the sofas you like and use masking tape to mark out the outline to give you some sense of the space it will occupy in your room. If living upstairs, either in a converted house or in an apartment block, make sure the sofa is small enough to make it around corners and through door frames before you buy and have the delivery guys make the discovery for you.
Ask about interest-free credit schemes too if you don’t have the money and simply cannot wait. This Maya from the DFS So Simple range looks the business. Its luxurious detailing means you won’t mind having to sit in every night watching Netflix for those first couple of months. Prices start from €749. The three-seat size in velvet, pictured, is €829. dfs.ie
3. DINING TABLES AND CHAIRS
Many of the multiples sell dining table and chair sets but, with some, the seating is only so so when it comes to creature comfort. A better long-term option might be to look at a higher-end range and tell anyone who would like to give you a house-warming present to help you buy a pair of these. Then, over time, you can complete the set or mix and match it as you like, when you find yourself with a few quid to spare.
In the meantime, why not take up that offer of an old table and or chairs and give it the Jimmie Martin treatment, pictured, in a design by Singapore-based Elliot James? The Graffiti saddle leather chairs will cost upwards of €1,311 each but you could tag or graffiti each of your own seats in a way that suits your décor and brings a sense of individualism to the furniture so that you can live with it for now. elliotjames.com; jimmiemartin.com
Practise putting on new accents for it takes time to imbue your new home with your own personality so play with decorative pieces that will lend spaces points of interest.
A stylish mirror can do double duty. It is decorative and can reflect light into a dark hall or landing. Antique mirrors can look really smart in a contemporary setting so check out auction houses, antique and bric a brac shops. US chain West Elm also sells a rather cool range that includes this diamond-shaped overlapping form, €499, at Arnotts. arnotts.ie; westelm.co.uk
5. GOOD BED LINEN
It seems like a really boring present to give but good bed linen is something that will feel better as it ages and the more you wash it. It’s the gift that will keep on giving, especially if it is ironed and pressed before putting on the bed. Foxford’s most recent collection includes a smart three-row embroidered, 300-thread, Egyptian cotton set, which comes in a navy or bone-colour, pictured. A double duvet costs €210 while matching pillowcases start from €55 per case. foxfordwoollenmills.com
Shelving can be used as a decorative tool. In the halls of some showhouses at Gandon Park in Lucan, Carol Anne Layden of CA Design, who recently opened a second shop in Portobello, Dublin 8, used small shelves to set a playful tone using tiny timber shelves that appeared to float from the wall and were only big enough to fit a scented candle, a miniature houseplant or a set of house keys instead of a more cumbersome console table. Pictured are Frame It box shelves from Scandi chic chain JYSK, which are normally priced €29.99, but can be bought for €24.99, as a special opening offer at its new store in Portlaoise. jysk.ie
7. HANDY BITS
There are loads of really good, affordable places you need to start spending time in and on their websites so you can drop big hints to well-meaning relatives who might like to buy something but have no idea where to start. Next’s new flagship store on Henry Street has great small little bits, like this tableware, with sets starting from about €36, and you will always find cool scented candles, tableware, cushions and towels at branches of Home Sense and even some of the larger TK Maxx stores – Blanchardstown and The Park Carrickmines are two of the best. Søstrene Grene too has neat little console tables, about €50, and velvet dining chairs from about €39, so keep your eyes peeled. next.ie; homesense.ie; sostrenegrene.com/catalogues/
8. BEDSIDE TABLES
You will want some sort of bedside table, or at least a surface on which to put a glass of water, a moisturiser and your book but it’s not an essential to get you through those first few months. A smart, long-term measure would be to get something built-in with floating compartments to make the room feel as big as possible. An interim measure is Ikea’s Lack table, a design that will be recognisable to most as the firm has sold thousands of it. It costs €6 and comes in a range of fashion colours. A more eye-catching option is its Tranaro, a tomato red side table that can be used in a sitting room aside a sofa or outdoors as pictured where it can double as a stool. It costs €18. Ikea.com/ie/
Ambient lighting will be crucial to creating a cocoon effect. Habitat is one of the best places to buy affordable illumination online. Pictured left to right here is the Aurora brass floor lamp, about €277; Harper brass pendant light, about €250, Ivar black and brass table lamp, about €72, Harper gold lamp, about €67, all ex delivery from the UK. habitat.co.uk