It's been nearly 2 months since Homestead launched (is that right?) and I finally have Sleek Creek decorated to my (almost) satisfaction and it's turned into a comfortable home.
I picked Sleek Creek specifically for the water it has running through the property; it's the only affordable house with that luxury. The other thing that makes it great for a first house are the large garden areas, and the small inside areas.
It's REMARKABLY hard to accumulate furniture by either farming or buying off other players. This is meant to be end-game content, so it should take a while, it's just I want it NOW (and I don't want to pay crowns to get there). So picking a small house was the trick to getting it feel "full" and "finished".
When judging the Pact Militia Housing Competition something that was clear was people just didn't have enough "stuff" to fill their houses. Picking a small house with a big garden makes this easier. Especially as all the plants are purchased from in-game vendors for gold rather than needing to be crafted.
With some judicious selling of recipes, especially purple ones, I've manage to break even on costs of furnishing this house (so I'm out the cost of the house itself). Most of the furniture I've crafted myself, with materials I farmed as well. The couches were purchased as I couldn't find that pattern at all.
(I have started a 2nd house, and I've gone a bit overboard, and I haven't managed to keep my costs in-check NEARLY as well. Those Redguard bookcases... whew.)