I promise that this blog won’t just share me, my home, and my style. After all, what often works for one person almost never works for another. Bits and pieces might, but it’s how we put it all together that makes it feel like it’s ours.
I’m a terrible magpie when it comes to home styling – especially as my husband and I are about to become home owners in London for the first time. For me, filling an empty space with ‘us’ is something I love and am very invigorated by. But I understand that a lot of people don’t revel in the task; they simply find it overwhelming. If that’s you, hopefully the three suggestions below will help. It’s definitely helped us figure out what we like and what we don’t!
1. Try before you buy
It’s natural to want to rush out and buy loads of furniture when in a new home. But that often leads to rushed decisions, and a limited understanding of how the space really works for you. I would recommend spending at least two weeks trying out your new home without buying anything. During the two weeks, ask yourself the following questions:
What room are we spending the most time in? Why? What could we do to make it even nicer?
What are we really missing – storage space? A desk? A coffee table? Light?
Are there areas that we’re avoiding? That are frustrating us? Why is that?
What’s the first spot we both visit when we get home? How could I make that work better as a ‘landing pad’?
Once you’ve got answers to these questions, make a list and chat it over with a few people. Talking helps work out what you really want, and what you don’t. And what you mean by the words you’ve jotted down. Once you get to your final list, make an action plan. If you need someone to chat about it with, feel free to drop me a note. I’ll answer back!
2. Don’t just talk about style; spend some time looking at it
Words are a slippery thing. When one person says ‘Light and airy’ it may mean something totally different to another person. However, when we can point to photos, life gets much easier. I spent a lot of time on Pinterest tracking down things I liked, and then showing them to my husband to see what he liked too. We did the same with colour swatches for paint. It took a lot of discussion time to identify that we liked, but was a fun process and we learned a lot about each other. I’ve given our style a working title of ‘Minimalist Scandinavian with an urban twist and a dash of Italian rustic warmth’ The urban twist is a bit of ‘soft industrial’ touches – so exposed metal (in small doses), streamlined furniture, and fun, graphic-inspired artwork. Plus some unexpected pops of colour here and there. The minimalist Scandinavian refers to a lot of our furniture (retro Danish finds that we are refinishing), and also the white washed floors that we will eventually have. The Italian rustic comes through in the materials and fabrics I choose. Tactile touches here and there that warm the space up and make it feel liveable – not like a catalogue. That’s definitely not an aesthetic that a traditional interior designer would have come up with. In fact, I think my list would make them cry. But we found it, and we’re starting to love it precisely because it feels like it’s ours.
So how do you find yours? And then how do you make it happen? Make a list of what you like, and what you don’t. Compile mood boards for each room. Or even just a few images that show the feeling you’re going after. Keep these handy for when you’re shopping. (Thank god for smart phones). They will help to keep you on track, and prevent you coming home with an impulse purchase. Whenever I’m in a shop, I walk around with my phone out. If I pick something up that isn’t in line with what we’ve got in our mood boards (I’m often momentarily swayed by rustic French and European touches as well, but am saving these for another home), I put it back. It’s saved us a lot of money, and a lot buyers remorse.
3. Don’t be afraid to move things around
Just because you bought an item for one room doesn’t mean it can’t live in another. If you really love it, you will find a space for it in your home. We’ve moved armchairs into bedrooms, tables into kitchens, and swapped bedside tables with side tables. Be open. Try things out. If you don’t like something after awhile, you can always sell it or donate it. But give yourself time to settle into something new. We’re creatures of habit; change can be exciting but can also feel a bit strange for a time. Give yourself time to adapt and think about whether you really dislike an item, or whether you just dislike how it’s being used at the moment.
That’s it for now! How do you go about styling your home? Any tips you’d like to share?