Top Tips and Advice for New Home Owners with Chulu Mazibuko

chulu mazibuko

I am personally in the process of finding a space to call my own and one thing I never really anticipated was all of the new fees I’m about to pay, all the things I need to buy, and all the ways in which I want to add my own personal touch to the home I’ll be renting out.

I know I’m not the only one who faces this kind of dilemma when it comes to figuring out what you’re supposed to do as a new home or apartment owner. Whether you’re about to buy or rent your next space, I wanted to give you some top tips and practical advice that you can use. I asked none other than Johannesburg-based young professional Chulu Mazibuko.

She recently moved up to Johannesburg to start her career, but has a massive passion for home décor, which has become a huge interest of hers after moving into her first apartment and finding interesting and affordable ways to furnish and decorate the new and exciting space. Without further ado, here are her top tips and practical advice for new home and apartment owners.

Khalipha Ntloko: You moved to Johannesburg recently and created your own place to call home. What were some of the purchases you made to help you turn an empty space into something that was ‘home’ for you?

Chulu Mazibuko: I think for me one of the major items that I was so grateful to have transported from home was our couch. This added to the TV and TV stand that we had already purchased. Due to the fact that the lounge area is the first space you walk into – I focused a lot of time on this. I think the best thing, after a long day of work is to be able to put my feet up with a nice glass of Merlot and catch up on whatever I’m watching on Netflix.

Another space in which I thought was important was the kitchen. I wanted to be able to make hearty meals for my sister and I not feel like I was performing a chore. I focused a lot of purchasing the right tools, crockery and cutlery to make my time in the kitchen as enjoyable as possible

KN: How did you discover your home decor style, and what tips do you have for new home or apartment owners?

CM: Personally – I don’t think I have truly discovered a style that I can say is a style that will resonate with me for years to come. My style at the moment is still quite young with a touch of trendy. I walk into Mr Price Home, Coricraft and the likes and I fall in love with their latest display, themes and colours. This is something I am working on.

I think at the moment, I would say that I truly enjoy the traditional mid-century, modern style with a hint of modernity. I think this style could stick with me for a while – it reminds me of home. I do think however it is important to know what you want the feel of your home to be; or else one falls into the trap of purchasing everything!

Some of the tips I have for new home/apartment owners is:

  • · Start with the basics. The first point of call is to have everything you need to be comfortable
  • · Take your time – furnishing and décor is a marathon and shouldn’t be rushed
  • · When purchasing larger items – don’t compromise on quality. Most of the time, such compromise becomes regrettable after a few years.
  • · Rather wait, save and always purchase within budget
  • · Don’t be afraid of hand-me-downs! They’re the best
  • · Broaden your horizon, do your research and explore!

KN: For those who rent out their spaces and are limited when planning a design project, what tips do you have to help create a homely environment without breaking lease agreements on refurbishments?

CM: Youtube and Pinterest are your BEST friends! There are so many ways in which to make your house a home without having to forfeit the deposit! One of the most important aspects when looking around for places – is to try and find a “blank canvas”; it’s the easiest to work with. Neutral walls, neutral kitchen, and bedroom cupboards. It’s quite difficult to decorate around colours that wouldn’t fit into your style.

However, I think the main thing is to find staple pieces that will stand out and take your space to the next level. For example – occasional chairs are a great way to add a huge statement piece. Youtube and Pinterest have great ways to upgrade your space within the guidelines of your lease agreement, items such as non-permanent wallpaper (I think I’ve seen these at Builders) which can be easily removed; they can make SUCH a difference

KN: What advice do you have when it comes to thrifting and buying bigger items (like furniture pieces) second-hand?

CM: I am an accountant by profession so cost-savings is in my blood. Finding cheap “gems” is my favourite thing to do! So long as the quality is not compromised. However, thrifting larger items second-hand is a bit of a tricky one as these are things that should last you years and years.

Should the item be fairly new, and well-taken care of, then it shouldn’t be a problem; for example purchasing a 2 year of Coricraft couch from someone who is moving overseas, and they have taken extremely good care of it – could be a really good idea!

However purchasing an old, run-down couch which will require you to refurbish the item at large costs – then I would say rather not. So personally 2 things are important:

  • The item needs to be well-taken care of,
  • The item needs to have a solid structure – should you require the item to be refurbished.

KN: What stores have you been shopping at when it comes to furnishing and styling your Johannesburg apartment?

CM: Shopping in Johannesburg has been one of my favourite hobbies to do in my past time. I have found such good stores which are really friendly to my budget.

My favourite centre however is the Woodmead Retail Park & Woodmead Value Mart. Stores such as Continental Linen, Sheet Street, Home etc. are at the top of my list. Value Co is also am absolute gem for items for the kitchen. Personally – I think affordability is the most important aspect. I rely a lot on shops like Decofurn and Mr Price Home for furniture items that are good quality for first time home owners.

KN: Are there any popular interior design trends that you’ve incorporated into your new space?

CM: Since moving into my new home – I think I have found that I’m drawing more and more towards earthy tones. I am loving brown natural colors. This is due to the flooring in my home – which is a type of light brown laminate flooring. So I am looking to invest in items that will compliment this

KN: What advice do you have when it comes to saving money and interior design?

It’s extremely tempting to want to purchase the newest shop displays and layouts. We’ve all walked into Mr Price and wanted to purchase an entirely new decor set! (Trust me – I’ve been there). However, every few months – these shops are changing it up! This is unfortunately not sustainable as it’s not affordable to be buying new items as and when they appear on the shop floors. The most important piece of advice that I have come to learn is to

“Find Your Style”

Know exactly what items you want in your space before getting into the car and driving to the décor stores; you’ll begin to see that your home is truly coming together when you find your style and the items that you purchase match accordingly.

KN: Tell us about your home decor Instagram page and what you’d like to share with your audience on it.

CM: My home décor page is my creative outlet in which I would like to share home projects/improvements and other décor-related content with my followers. As mentioned above – I am an accountant/auditor by professional so most of my time is spent looking at boring work documents; so this is just a way to express myself.

I would also love for it to be a place where people may ask questions around renting an apartment for the first time – what to look out for, where to find affordable but beautiful items to make their space feel like a home.

KN: Any advice for staying organised when planning a new design or décor project?

CM: Plan. Plan & Plan some more. For me, I keep a lot of ideas in my head and I find that if they aren’t on paper – they don’t materialize. So I love to write my plans down. This also helps to visualise the idea and to see which sort of costs go into it. The worst thing is coming back from a trip to Builders Warehouse and realising that you have forgotten to purchase an important element. To plan in advance ensures that you have the time and budget to layout all the items you need for a project.

To learn more top tips and advice when it comes to your new home, follow Chulu on her decor Instagram page.


Published by Khalipha Ntloko

I'm a South African blogger with a love for writing and photography. After completing my BA Honours in Industrial Sociology degree, I'm taking on the real world and embarking on a wonderful journey of continuous growth and success that is filled with nothing but authenticity. So, here's to inspiring real life!

2 thoughts on “Top Tips and Advice for New Home Owners with Chulu Mazibuko

    1. Yay! I’m so glad that you enjoyed this post! And honestly, after reading this, I realised how much of my new apartment all stems from how I want the living room to look like. If I can nail that, I feel like the rest of your home comes together.


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