Whether you’ve already signed the papers or you’re still looking around for the perfect place, it’s important to prepare yourself for your new space.

If this is your first home, you might feel a little overwhelmed with how much furniture you’ll need to fill up your new space. You probably have a lot of the smaller household items but what about the bigger ticket items like sofas, tables and beds? How do you decide which one to buy? What do you even buy first?

Going through the milestone of furnishing your first home is a big deal that comes with big purchases. So it’s important to stick to your budget and prioritize your needs. Here are the five essential pieces to start off with to build your space.

The right bed

Lots of people sleep on air mattresses as a temporary fix when they first move into a new place. The problem is that on top of setting up wifi, bills, appliances, unpacking and all the stress that accompanies moving – the temporary fix can become a rather long one. So it’s crucial to have a bed frame and proper mattress in place and ready.

Get measurements of your room before moving in and figure out if you need a twin, queen or king size bed. Second thing you need to consider is if you want a built-in wood bed frame or a metal bed frame. Metal frames tend to be more mobile, affordable, adjustable, and are lighter but creak overtime.

Wood frames, on the other hand, are heavy, durable and natural but also more expensive. Get a metal frame and a headboard if you’re looking to save money without sacrificing style. Here are some options within a varying price range.

Clockwise from top left: Pottery Barn Astoria Turned Leg Platform Bed, West Elm Modern Bed, Anthropologie Deco Bed, Arch Tufted Headboard Skyline Furniture, CB2 Alchemy Bronze Bed.

A sofa based on your lifestyle

A good, sturdy sofa should last you 7-15 years so it’s worth the investment. Selecting a sofa with the right fabric, foam and size should reflect your lifestyle.

Invest in a large, fold out, wear-and-stain resistant fabric sofa if you enjoy hosting parties. If you’re into a more elegant look, opt for a leather sofa. Leather sofas are actually easier to take care of in that they usually need to be lightly dusted or rubbed down a couple times a year, whereas fabric sofas need to be vacuumed and cleaned regularly.

For those who like to watch Netflix or stay in with a good book, look into sofas with memory foam or down plush cushions for maximum comfort. If you have a small space, think about a sectional sofa that can be separated and moved around to fit your needs. Here are some options to get you started:

Clockwise from top left: Knook Sectional Sofa, Homelegance Deryn Mid-Century Modern Sofa, Apt2B Marco Stone 2Pc Sectional, Tracy Mid Century Button Tufted Sofa, Joy Bird Leather Couch.

Tables that fit your needs 

Depending on the size of your new home you might need a dining table, kitchen table and a coffee table or you might only have space for one big table to do it all.

If you enjoy hosting dinner parties, a rectangular shape will be perfect. If you’re working with a smaller space, round tables are a great solution. Whatever your table needs might be, here are some to get you thinking:

Clockwise from top left: Anthropologie Danehill Dining Table, Saarinen Tulip Dining Table, CB2 Peek A Boo Coffee Table, Wood Mid-Century Kitchen Dining Table, IKEA Docksta Table, IKEA Melltorp Table.

Built-in storage pieces to maximize your space

Kill two birds with one stone by looking for storage pieces that can double as an accent piece for your new home. From an entire wall of shelves to a simple side table that doubles as storage, there are so many options out on the market for built-in storage. Here are some to get you organized in style:

Clockwise from top left: IKEA KVISTBRO, Tilted Wall Shelf, PB Teen Standing Project Table, DWR Folk Ladder Desk Shelving, Walnut Record Storage Modern Credenza

Lights to brighten your space

Lighting is the icing on the cake. It sets the ambiance to make your home look and feel more comfortable. Think of light fixtures as a work of art. Not only does it offer utility but doubles as a sculptural piece.

If your new place is slightly older, you’ll have to get creative with lighting solutions. If you’re moving into a newly renovated building with recessed lighting, you’ll just have to worry about some lamps for the side table. We gathered some lighting options to get you inspired:

Clockwise from top left: Pipe Floor Lamp, Lite Source Kailano Polished Steel Floor Lamp, Nordic Simple Pendant Light, Love One Another Natural Pendant Light, Lightology Reece Pendant

Written by Helena Kim
Helena Kim is a writer, editor and lover of style, beauty, home + garden, great food, DIY crafts, and people with stories to tell. She has worked for Chicago Magazine, Craft Ideas Magazine, Bustle, Dose Media and several other interior design blogs. A University of Iowa graduate, you can usually find her doodling, crafting or writing.