Setting up home for the first time can be an expensive business and that’s after all the associated costs of purchasing and moving.
For first-time homeowners, having a completely blank canvas can be both exciting and daunting. Some essential items need to be purchased, but with so many competing demands on the purse strings, what takes priority?
Somewhere to sit is probably near the top of the list, and a sofa is often the most expensive piece of furniture in a home, so a big chunk of the budget is likely to go on that. Often the sofa will also set the tone for everything around it, such as decorating choices and other smaller pieces for the living room.
A bed in which to rest one’s head at night is pretty essential too, as is keeping food fresh, so then there’s a fridge to think about too.
Before long, the costs are mounting quickly and that’s just to cover basic activities of sleeping, eating and sitting down!
Research by furniture experts La-Z-Boy this year estimated that the cost of fully furnishing a three-bedroom house from scratch is around £20,000 minimum.
So, what can friends and family do to help?
A housewarming gift is a good place to start, so here are some suggestions about what makes a good present for anyone starting out in their new property:
Bed linen. New sheets or a duvet set are practical but pretty and it is possible to buy something that will appeal to any taste.
You can’t go far wrong with white sheets and pillowcases, especially in a high-thread-count Egyptian cotton. A white duvet set might sound a bit boring but actually we all secretly love them – look at hotel rooms!
Artwork is probably too personal, but a mirror can make a great gift if you know a little bit about the person’s taste.
Broadly speaking are they modern or traditional? Pick a mirror to match for a lovely gift that’s practical too.
Cookware: Everyone needs the kitchen basics and as they are usually out of sight in a cupboard anyway, personal style isn’t really a factor.
Good-quality casserole dishes, mixing bowls and pans will be useful and last for years. Tea towels and oven gloves are a good shout too.
Glassware: Tumblers, stemware, beakers and beer glasses are fairly standard and are also handy for toasting the happy homeowners at their housewarming party.
Every home needs a laundry basket, a bin and a doormat. If it has to be something more romantic, see scented candles, candle holders and diffusers.
An electric stove with real-flame effect can be moved to a bedroom or study if the owners have other ideas for the living room, plus it is literally a “house warming” present.
A bookcase can be painted later to suit the decor and is useful storage for books, ornaments, photographs and so on.
Don’t forget outdoor areas; some patio furniture or gardening equipment will be one less expense.
Finally, a gift card for the likes of B&Q, Argos or Ikea may be the most appreciated gift of all.