Stylish First Space

By Joseph Pubillones

June 8, 2019 4 min read

Summertime is a time of change. For some, it marks the start of vacations. For others, it's the time for transition from college to real life. It is also the time for weddings and new beginnings. Celebrating a milestone occasion may also bring with it a new home. Perhaps it is your first dwelling where you are living alone, or it may be the first time you are sharing a home with a significant other or roommate. Just how should you start to furnish your new place so that it has style and can it endure changes over time?

Any time we are confronted by a new interior design project, whether small or large, there are a few basic questions to be asked so that the project can adapt over time while still ultimately reflecting your own self-developed style. Of course, you don't want it to look just like your parent's home, but be conscious that our environment as we grow up tends to creep in whether we embrace it or not.

Most people will start with the selection of a sofa. This is a crucial piece of furniture that will determine the tone of your decor. Just think before you buy that burgundy leather sofa: Will it stand the test of time? Will you love the color two or three years down the road? Will it be a piece of furniture on that you can build a room around?

Our best advice is to select your first couple of upholstered pieces as basic and simple as they can be. Forgo the bold colors and noticeable prints in favor of materials that are neutral in color and texture. This type of basic choice will allow you to change the feel of your room in the future and give you the freedom to select other smaller occasional furnishings that are trendier and definitive in character and style.

Next in importance is the selection of case goods. Case goods are furniture — be it a table, cabinet or desk — made of wood or with wood as a principal component. The finish on any case good will start to define the character of a room. For example, a highly polished end table will set a formal tone, while a coffee table made of bleached or cerused oak alludes to rusticity or a beach-like environment. Lighter finishes generally tend to read as casual, while darker finishes seem to dictate formality. Of course, to this, you must factor whether the finishes are high-gloss or matte. High-gloss finishes require more processes and maintenance therefore they're considered a more luxurious finish than matte.

Starting to decorate your first place can be an intimidating process. Even in wall colors, I recommend keeping with a safe choice of white, off-white, linen, ivory or even a pale gray. As each day, week and month passes, you'll be able to discern what you really like and in the long run end up with a stylish and personal place.

Joseph Pubillones is the owner of Joseph Pubillones Interiors, an award-winning interior design firm based in Palm Beach, Florida. His website is To find out more about Joseph Pubillones and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at

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