Whether you’ve lived in your home for a long time, or just got the keys, it can be really hard to know where to start when it comes to decoration. I think it can be off-putting to feel you have do everything at once; start again with a new kitchen or bathroom, re-paint every room or buy a whole new set of furniture. And I know, speaking from personal experience, that puts me off making any changes at all, as I procrastinate on where to start, or try to save for months on end to re-design rooms and in the meantime put up with spaces which make me unhappy, or which don’t really reflect my style.
But over the last few years I’ve found myself completely converting to the idea that it’s not only okay, but sometimes better, to aim to just make small changes in my home. My new decorating mantra is to ‘Dream Big, Think Small’! With the clever use of the right accessories, some tips for how best to use your space and maybe a splash of paint here and there, it’s possible to achieve a look you really love, by just making relatively quick and easy changes. Here are some of the small changes you can make in your home, which really will have a big impact.
BE BOLD WITH COLOUR
Colour is one of the most immediate and powerful ways to change the look and feel of your room. It’s also one, which can have a dramatic impact on our mood. While we might know that blue is calming and hot pink and red are energising, I really feel that colour is so personal, and different colours will resonate with you and evoke different feelings based on your own memories and experiences. There’s no doubt that adding colour to a space will transform it; a rich deep colour on the walls will create a completely different feel to white-washing a space. The key to making changes in your home, which make the right kind of impact on you, is to be guided by what you really love. This advice goes for all décor choices you might make, but with colour in particular, why not choose accessories, soft furnishings and paint colours just because they make you smile? Be bold with your colour choices and you’ll change rooms from functional to uplifting and from ordinary to unique.
ORGANISE, ORGANISE, ORGANISE
I’m saying this three times, as it’s something I need to keep reminding myself! Organisation and decluttering doesn’t come naturally. I’m guilty of hanging onto things for too long, and don’t even get me started on my kitchen ‘junk drawer’! But, once again, what I’ve learnt through experience, is the dramatic difference you can make to your home by heeding the advice ‘a place for everything and everything in its place’. Luckily, storage doesn’t have to be boring; try to think creatively about it and, if in doubt, have more than you think you’ll need! One of the areas of the home where a little attention and time spent organising can make a big difference, is the hallway. You may not have much space to play with which is why it’s all the more important to get the storage right for this space. Use your wall space to hang coats, scarves and bags and free-up any available floor space for a bench or stool to perch on to put your shoes on.
SMALL INVESTMENT PIECES
I always think it’s amazing what a difference even the very smallest items can make to the feel of a space. The homeware we choose to fill our homes with; the cushions, tableware, clocks, lamps and other accessories, needs to fulfil a function and it’s tempting to just go for functional, mass-market pieces. But I find that, from time to time, choosing to deviate from this with something that bit more special; some hand-thrown tableware, or a richly coloured handwoven rug, can not only make a space look instantly changed, it really has an impact on the way that I feel about it and makes every day activities feel that little more special too.
DISGUISE AND DISTRACT
If you have furniture or perhaps a kitchen or bathroom you’re not completely happy with and you’re not able to change it just yet, don’t give up completely! It’s tempting to just think ‘well I hate my kitchen so I just won’t spend much time in it!’, but there are simple and relatively easy things you can do to improve spaces and make them suit your style a little more. My favourite way to quickly transform things I’ve slightly fallen out of love with, is the ever-popular can of paint! When we moved into our current home, I ummed and ahhed about what we’d do with our very dated kitchen, thinking perhaps we could replace it. But as the weeks turned into months and we still didn’t magically have the funds for a complete re-fit, I decided to just try painting our cupboard doors and see what difference it would make. And, even though I hoped it would work, I was really amazed by what a dramatic change a can of soft grey eggshell and half a day’s work made! So that’s the disguise part! My other top tip is, if there’s something you’re not that keen on, draw attention away from it by highlighting a feature you do love; use a bold painting elsewhere in the room, or create a feature wall away from the ‘eyesore’!
ART IS A GAME-CHANGER
I often find that people hesitate when it comes to choosing artwork for their home. They either don’t want to make the ‘wrong’ choice so don’t get around to adding any at all, or they choose prints and art based on current trends or what’s popular, not around things that truly resonate with them and suit their personality. Really, when it comes to art, there is no right and wrong, but if you’re not sure where to start, the best thing you can do is spend a little time browsing different styles of art and try and spot common themes in what you like. And when it comes to size, try not to be too hesitant; one large print can make a dramatic impact in a space. Alternatively, grouping smaller works together to create a ‘gallery wall’ can be a lovely way to personalise your home with pieces which mean something to you.
AND LASTLY…FOCUS ON WHAT’S MOST IMPORTANT
The idea here is to spend time thinking about what really matters to you; where do you spend the most time in your home, what functions are most important for you and then to focus on these areas before any others. So for example, if you love having people over for dinner, really focus attention on your dining area; invest in special tableware, add a favourite colour to one wall, or a favourite artwork. If you dream of a spa-style bathroom then add houseplants, artwork and the most luxurious towels you can afford to yours to make the most of the space you have. By thinking about what really matters to you, not what you think should matter, you can spend less time and money creating a space which really works for your needs.
I hope this has given you a few ideas for things you can do which really don’t require a huge upheaval, but do make a big difference to the look or feel of your home. I’d always say the most important thing, whether you’re doing a complete re-model or just choosing a new set of tableware, is to think about what will make you happy; go with your instincts and give things a go – the real beauty of just making small changes, is the flexibility it gives you to try out new ideas and looks, giving you the confidence to really go for what you love!
Until next time..