Decorating your first house is usually an exhilarating and somewhat frightening experience, full of possibilities but also expensive pitfalls.

Most likely, you won't move in empty-handed. The kitchen table your mother gave you, the overstuffed chair from your aunt and the banged-up desk you got at a garage sale can't be tossed out just yet.But even if you have enough money to invest in new furniture, take lots of time before buying, and don't buy everything at once. Look through decorator magazines, home furnishings books, department and furniture stores for ideas.

Designers often recommend you settle on a certain "look" for the house and build around that, taking into account the house's architecture and lines, as well as your own taste and budget. Then buy individual pieces of furniture as you can afford them, making sure they fit into your overall plan.

Featured in the Deseret News Home and Summer Living Show will be experts to help. Among the fetured booths will be Levitz Furniture.

Furniture, linens and accessories come in a wide range of styles and not all will look right in every home. Don't buy something on the spur of the moment without considering where it will fit in your house - and with your other furniture.

You can, however, mix furniture from various "periods" to good effect if you have an eye for decorating. For instance an ultra-modern designer chair may look great on an old Oriental rug.

When you envision a room, home furnishings expert say, make sure you have a focal point - a piece of furniture, or architecture or decoration - that naturally draws the eye.

In a family room, it may be the fireplace, in a living room, a great piece of art. In the bedroom, it's likely to be the bed.

Charlotte Korth, owner of a home furnishings store in Texas, said young couples should not be concerned early on with the number of pieces they acquire, but with what kind.

"When you are just starting out, it seems more practical to purchase ... pieces you can use in different rooms at different times," Waters said. "You should forsake buying quantity for quality."

For example, she said, "Instead of buying an elaborate lounge chair for one ... purchase an ottoman for two or three people or even a love seat, an all-around piece.

"An armoire is a multi-functional piece that can go almost anywhere, and it is a popular piece that looks nice anywhere. The main thing to remember is that much of this furniture can be eventually moved into another room as the couple's income and taste grows."

Korth said that the country style of decorating is popular currently.

"This kind of style, which includes woods like pine and oak, gives the new owners the chance to be creative in what they are buying and trying to accomplish," she said.

What makes a country look? Here's how the Better Homes and Gardens "New Decorating Book" defines it:

"Hallmarks include hand-rubbed and hand-carved woods, and hand-loomed fabrics; unpretentious furniture; and pleasantly uncomplicated color schemes.

"Country rooms are also identified by criss-crossed curtains, bright chintz and calico fabrics, braided rugs over bare wood floors, quilts and comforters, and homespun accessories."

While the country look is popular, Ms. Korth said, many young couples stick with traditional furniture.

Better Homes defines the traditional look this way:

"It's a broad-brush category that embraces classic French furniture, as well as pieces by Thomas Chippendale, George Hepplewhite and the Adam brothers of England. And, under its ample umbrella, there's room for much more - selected early american styles, french provincial and elegant oriental, even art nouveau and demo, plus some of the finer pieces from the heyday of victoriana....

"Whether you are decorating with authentic antiques or with modern-day reproductions, enduring traditional schemes call for well-ordered arrangements, pleasing color blends with no strident contrasts and, most of all, furniture pieces that will never go out of style. These pieces generally are straight-forward and clean, with graceful curves and flowing shapes."