When I moved into our apartment 2 weeks before our wedding, there was no furniture other than my bed and a rocking chair my mom sent. Initially I figured it would take us a month or so to get the place unpacked and decorated, but the reality is it took nearly a year and a half. Maybe that seems an absurd amount of time.
However, acquiring furniture and organizing just take time. I've learned that there is value to simply living in a space before deciding how to decorate it, because there are functional needs you just can't know about in advance.
For instance, when I started grad school a year ago, it became clear that I needed a spot to put my books, but there wasn't any free room on the bookshelf in our living room. After spending a few weeks thinking about how to solve the problem, and quite a bit of time on Craigslist, we found a cedar chest to put at the foot of our bed to replace my dresser, and where the dresser once was is now home to a reading chair (a $10 yard sale find!) and a bookshelf for my school books. Later on, when we found a lamp small enough to sit at the top of that bookshelf, we realized how much a second source of light was needed in our bedroom, since there are no ceiling lights in that room.
All of this came about by trial and error, a process we're learning to really enjoy. Other "trial and error" projects: the suitcase display in our hallway, the antique bird cage in our front window, the three pictures above our bed, and the mantle our Landlord kindly added upon request a few months after we moved in.
What elements of your own home have you come to love but could have never anticipated needing?
-Domestic in the District