Many of us are lucky enough to have enjoyed the experience of collecting the most expensive keys you will ever own from your estate agents. The excitement, the adrenaline and the thoughts of how you are going to create memories in your new home overtake any other emotion at this time. After the stress and worry of the buying process, you have finally made it. You are homeowners!
The housing market is a wonderous place. There really is something for everyone out there and these homes come in all shapes, sizes and conditions. In most cases, there is always some sort of work that needs doing. It might just be adding a lick of paint or 5 if you have to go over the black walls of the room of the teenager that was going through THAT rebellious stage. For others, it might be a doer-upper that will take some time before it becomes any way near their forever home. Either way, there will be some hard work on the horizon.
Now comes the fun, but sometimes daunting part, decorating your new house and turning it into your dream home. For some people, the notion of decorating may bring our their creative side and be the part where they can finally express themselves and start to put their visions into action. For others, however, this brings a glass of water and a couple of Paracetamol as well as a banging headache! Well for all of you, here are 5 steps to consider when taking the first steps at creating your dream home.
Listen to the rooms that need your help first
My wife can vouch for this with much irritation, but I am a bit of a fan of making lists. If this isn't you, change the habit of a lifetime and grab yourself a pen and piece of scrap paper. List all of the rooms that you have in your new house, flat, bungalow or whatever it may be. Next to each room on the list, write down the main function of the room. Finally, rank them in the order of what you will need from your home in the next 3-6 months. A bit of help below, all obvious but a good starting point.
You are going to need a functional kitchen to prepare those homely Sunday Roasts or supernoodles dependant on your culinary skills.
You are going to need a functional living area to spend your evenings curled up on the sofa or entertaining your mates when it is your turn to turn your home into a wine bar for the night.
You need a fully functional bathroom. to keep you clean and to use for obvious reasons. Another necessary cog in your homes metaphorical engine.
Finally, I think it is fair to say that the whole process is an exhausting one so you need a decent bedroom to get some of that much needed beauty sleep and to be able to shut yourself off from the rest of the world.
The list is complete and you are now ready to rock and roll! Wasn't too painful was it?
A little floorplan goes a long, long way!
Some of you may think that you can skip this stage but this really gives you a great idea of the space you have at your disposal. "Fail to prepare, prepare to fail!"
These days, you can easily get access to your floor plans from the internet from websites such as Zoopla and Rightmove. How many of you actually look at these and pay attention to the information these give you? These tools gives Interior Designers so much insight into spaces we work with before we even step up to the front door step. You can
use them in a similar way. You have the basic dimensions of each room in your home. Grab yourself a pencil, ruler and piece of A4. When using your ruler, ensure that every 1cm on that piece of paper is equal to 10cm of actual space. Draw the outline of your room. You can find the sizes of pretty much any piece of furniture from the brands websites. Using the same scale, start to faintly draw in the basic outlines of your key furniture pieces in the parts of the room where you see them fitting. You will quickly get a much better idea of how your room will be brought to life and if the furniture fits where you thought it would. Again, in my opinion, taking this time at the start of the project can prevent major issues in the near future.
Think BIG first
You have now worked out which rooms are priority in your home and what needs your attention. Now it is time to get moving and think of the big things first. I am talking your sofa, bed, wardrobes, dining table.... It is safe to say that these will all probably be in different rooms. If not, fair play for creating your own 'niche' style. Proud of you for being brave!
If you don't have them, then now is the time to get the leftovers of your savings out and get them ordered. You will have already measured them out so there should be no silly mistakes here. One thing to remember, check everything will fit through the door!!!!
What I would suggest is getting the rooms you have at the top of your list that you know you need, in a position where they are fully usable but not fully finished. You will now have the internal foundations of your home. Things are already coming together nicely and things are finally starting to take shape. I absolutely love this stage of the process. You could be lay there watching Netflix, looking around the room thinking about the possibilities. Such a good feeling! When you do this for a living, the excitement never fades although the bank balance often does!
You will want to jump ahead and get the artwork up on the wall and get the cushions on the armchairs but all of this will keep! I suggest you get all of the key spaces fully functional before you start to add the finishing touches. Don't worry, it will be totally worth the wait!
Time to pick the paint and sort out those lights!
Now the fun really begins, or has that headache come back? Picking paint can be an absolute minefield. "Think I will paint the living room Grey." Listen, that x-rated film was wrong. There are way more than 50 shades of grey!! It is so easy to go wrong here.
Have a little read on and let some of these tips soak in quicker than the paint on the carpet will.
So many paint companies will give you A5 colour swatches. These are fantastic! Stick them on different walls for a day or 2 and see how the natural and artificial lights impact the colours. Each room will have different levels of natural sunlight coming into the room and it is important that you see what this does to the colours. If you don't have these swatches, buy a couple of testers and a roll of lining paper and paint them onto this. Don't worry about painting on the wall itself, that could come back to bite you later on!
There are some websites out there that can really help. Please do bear in mind ,however, that your computer, phone or tablet can all show different results in what I am about to share with you. Valspar have a tool which will show you how each pre mixed paint will look in sunlight, fluorescent light as well as energy saving lighting. A great way to see the impact light has on colour but I would always recommend following the first step as well.
Sort out your lighting. Different types of light bulbs will affect the paint colour in different ways. Make sure you are positioning the lights in the right places to features the best space in the room and make sure you are matching the bulbs to the moods you are looking at creating in each room.
There is so much more to think about but having these at the front of your mind when making your decisions will certainly help you avoid basic mistakes.
Add the Finishing touches and get creative (don't be boring!)
Your furniture is in place, the paint is dry and your key rooms are nearly there. Now it is time to put the finishing touched together! Now, one thing I always say here, is let your home reflect your personality rather than what is in Elle Decoration! Right, step back in time and imagine you are playing 'Through the Keyhole'. I was the worst at this show, but there were always clues about the identity of the house through its decoration and accessorising. Your home should say the same about you. It should be an extension of what makes you unique. This picture is from our living room. I don't always like to follow the norm. I know what I like and I am happy to embrace it. The great part about being an interior designer is that we take time to get to know our clients before we go away put the plans together. This way, we let their homes become an extension of their own personalities, not ours.
There are so many different ways to make a statement in your home. This can vary from the artwork on the wall to the cushions on the sofa. The rug on the floor, to the clock in the Kitchen. The vase on the mantlepiece to the pendant hanging from the ceiling. Don't be afraid to fill your home with artwork that may be controversial or bold colours that stray away from the norm. This is all about you and those that may live with you in your home. Your new home is the one place in the world where you can truly lock the door and forget about the outside world. It is the place where you should feel safe and secure, the place where you should create happy memories. With all this in mind, fill it with accessories and furnishings that make you all of these emotions. I said at the start of this blog, you have worked so hard to get your hands on the most expensive keys you are ever likely to buy, now it is time to make your house YOUR HOME.
I really hope that this has been helpful for you and has made you think a little differently about how to go about taking on your new home. The whole content of this post came on the back of dialogue with an inspirational estate agent in Sale, Cheshire. The Property Man has really brought personality into buying a home. Check them out at The Property Man | Estate Agents in Sale, Cheshire.