A Look Into How Americans Furnished Their First Home

By Emily Porter

What comes to mind when you think about moving into your first home? It could be excitement over finally having a place to call your own or maybe a few butterflies in your stomach as you head into a new stage of your life. There are a lot of challenges when it comes to moving into a first home, including how to furnish it.

With this in mind, we wanted to learn a little bit more about what that looks like. How old were they when they moved into their first home? How did they get the furniture to furnish their first home? Did they live with anyone? We surveyed over 3,700 Americans, asking their age, how they got five common pieces of furniture for their home, whether they were married or single, if they were living alone or with a roommate, and what state they’re from. Here’s what we found:

Across America, we found that people typically moved into their first home in their mid-twenties—24 years old being the national average. The state with the youngest average age was Delaware at 22 years old. The oldest average age was in North Dakota at 29 years old.

Of those surveyed, 48% of Americans were married/engaged and living with their partner when furnishing their first home, 26% were single and living with a roommate, 25% were single and living alone, and 1% were married/engaged and living alone.

When looking at how Americans got their furniture, the most common methods were purchasing new (55%), given hand-me-downs (25%), and purchasing used items (17%). Less common methods were making furniture handmade (2%), curbside finds (0.25%), and gifted furniture (0.18%).

Less than half of Americans purchase their kitchen table and chairs new, and it’s the second most common item that’s given as a hand-me-down. Surprisingly, couches are the most popular item to purchase new and the second most popular item to find on the curbside. TV stands are the most popular item that’s handmade and the second most popular item to purchase new.

We asked respondents the question, “When furnishing your first home, which factor was more important to you, style or cost?” It turns out, 65.7% of people said that they cared more about cost when furnishing their first home, whereas 34.4% placed more importance on style.

We found that a kitchen table and chairs are the most popular piece of furniture that’s both gifted and purchased used. TV stands are the most popular item that’s handmade and a curbside find. Bedroom dressers are the most common hand-me-down, and a couch is the most common piece of furniture that’s purchased new.

Overall, it seems that Americans have a lot in common when it comes to moving into their first home. Furnishing a home isn’t easy, so if you’re one of the few people who is given hand-me-downs or gifted furniture, take a moment to say thank you. Moving into a first home is a major milestone in a person’s life and should be treated as such, no matter what age the person is or how they furnished their home. It’s something to be celebrated and appreciated regardless of how you did it.

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We surveyed 3,786 Americans in December of 2019, asking them about how they accumulated five common pieces of furniture—their couch, kitchen table and chairs, TV stand, bedroom dresser, and bedroom nightstand. The survey respondents were not limited to specific demographics. We estimate the margin of error at 1%.

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