New Year’s resolutions for homeowners: Don’t overspend on furnishings

For many homeowners, especially first-time homebuyers, the urge to make a house your own can be strong. However, overspending on home furnishings like decorations, furniture and freestanding appliances can eat away at resources that can be better spent on other aspects of home ownership. 

Before splurging on an expensive new rug to cover a damaged floor, consider investing in carpet or durable but inexpensive flooring. A rug will leave the house with you if you move and bandages the issue without directly addressing it. New flooring, on the other hand, can add value to your home and reduce vulnerabilities that homeowners' insurance providers frown upon. 

In the kitchen, you might be dying to spend $400 on a new top-of-the-line blender or food processor. While those gadgets can be fun and useful, there are other important questions to ask yourself. Is the oven updated to be energy efficient? Does a stovetop range have proper ventilation? Are you missing a garbage disposal or dishwasher that could add value to your kitchen? Some of these expenditures might be out-of-reach in terms of cost for the time being, but setting money aside to make meaningful updates will improve your home's valuation in the long run. 

"Everyone wants to personalize a new home and upgrade what may have been temporary apartment furniture for something nicer, but don't go on a massive spending spree to improve everything all at once," writes Amy Fontinelle of Investopedia. "…as nice as solid maple kitchen cabinets might be, they aren't worth jeopardizing your new status as a homeowner."

Some home improvement projects and houseware purchases are sexier than others, but with a little do-it-yourself effort and prioritization, you can make choices that have a positive effect on your home's value rather than a neutral one.