THE FIVE FOUNDATIONS OF EVERY STYLISH HOME
Here’s the dilemma. You dream of a stylish home: one that looks good, that makes you feel comfortable and where you enjoy spending time. But you know you can’t kit it out all at once and need to prioritise*.
*Until you find the pot of gold/win the lottery.
Let’s say your mortgage is crippling, or you’re saving to extend because the place is actually pretty small. Maybe you have a significant other to persuade to go half-in, and slowly-slowly is the way to manage that one. Or, like most people, you have other demands on your funds because, let’s face it, there is always something. We’ll have to get our homes into shape bit by bit – but where to start?
I’ve been thinking about this. Which areas of decorating and furnishing a home make the biggest impact on the way it looks and feels? What do stylish homes have in common? I’ve come up with a list and limited it to five key categories. These are the things that will lay the foundations of a stylish and comfortable home and make style statements too.
But, first, who’s ready for a picture?
You are? OK, here’s our new-ish en-suite. which ticks off four on the list.
I read an old article on House & Garden’s website, the other day, which had some beautiful ideas to make the everyday more lovely at home. Things like linen napkins and candlelight at breakfast to make home life feel special, and I bet they do.
But some of us might need to re-wind a few steps and focus on the areas and items that are the backbone of a stylish home, not the icing on the cake. What is going to work REALLY hard for us in the style and comfort stakes?
By the way, I have it in mind that you already have beds to sleep in, a table to eat from and chairs to sit on. If you don’t, go get those first! Otherwise, shall we jump in?
OK, here they are: The Top 5 Building Blocks of a Stylish Home:
So, storage is a biggie.
Unless you’re a natural born organiser (I am not), then focusing on storage might make your heart dip a little. I get it – it sounds all types of boring and grown-up. But there comes a time when you have to face facts: exercise makes you fitter, vegetables make you healthier and good storage keeps you sane.
I’m naturally quite untidy, but I can accept that mess and clutter beyond a certain level isn’t helping on the style front. After a while it might start to get you down, and in my case, quite angry – ha, I admit it!
Great storage is going keep your place tidier - and more stylish - by giving you a place to hide away any possessions that are less than pretty. And we all have those random bits and bobs that we accumulate and do actually need.
The good news is, storage can also be a style statement. Yep, it can.
I’m currently looking for a sideboard for our living room and there are so many beautiful options. It’s exciting.
For me, beautiful is looking like the gorgeous Ziggy Sideboard from Swoon Editions. It is a definite contender!
As well as being functional, the sideboard I choose is going inject a load of style into my living room - oh, yes!
Here's where I’m going to put it - this alcove where I have the chair. It’s crying out for a style boost!
At the other end of the storage (size) scale, you have little boxes. What’s the point? Well, they can be very handy for all those small bits and pieces you need but might want to hide away. That business card you were given and will need in a week or two? Yep, stick it in a little box.
The bonus is, small storage boxes can look really good as part of a display. I was trying this out earlier, styling my jewellery box on my coffee table, and I’m sold. I’m on a mission to have them in every room now.
Everyone loves a beautiful hardwood floor, don’t they? Or painted floorboards? It does look lovely. By the way, I’m all about carpet in bedrooms, these days, but that’s another post.
So why am I talking about rugs, when they’ll cover up that beautiful floor? Well, rugs can make your home look and feel good in many ways. So much so, I’m going for a bullet-pointed list.
Soften things up with their texture, and that’s not just about looks, it’s also about how it feels. If you have kids, everyone will love a rug because you all end up sitting on the floor. It’s just the way it is!
Soak up loud noises and generally make your place sound nicer.
Help zone areas in large, open-plan rooms.
Bring together pieces of furniture so that they relate to each other, rather than floating around individually. Think about a living room with sofa, chairs and coffee table all on a rug.
Rugs come in an amazing range of textures, patterns, colours and styles so are another brilliant way to inject some style. Some are so beautiful, I’d argue you could class them as art.
And if your floors aren’t too hot to begin with, well a rug can help hide that too and then you don’t need to spend loads of money on new flooring.
You won’t regret making a rug one of the first things you buy for a room. Here's the one we have in our living room. It’s so fluffy and soft.
Lighting is often the last thing that people address when decorating, if at all. Many just stick to a single overhead light. You can tell that by looking into people’s windows of an evening – c’mon, we all do it! The problem is, it sets one mood: very bright and very flat.
No matter how good the rest of a room’s décor, you’ll find it hard to properly relax if it’s very brightly lit. Try to bring in a mix of table and floor lamps to give light here and there, rather than an overall wash. It’s much more atmospheric, which can be a good way of distracting from a décor scheme that’s light on detail, just by the mood it creates.
Also, the particular light you choose is another way of expressing your style. You can bring in shape, pattern, texture, different materials. It goes on!
In the decorating game, mirrors do a lot more than giving you a way to check yourself out. Though that is very important :-)
Position them well and mirrors can:
Make a room feel larger, with the reflection tricking the eye (zip back up to the pic above. You’ll see that the mirror makes our tiny living room seem bigger than it is, by extending the view)
Bounce light around a room
Double your décor – if positioned opposite a feature.
The mirror you choose can also be a style statement in itself. And you thought you were just being vain!
Last, but certainly not least, is paint. Paint can deliver one of the biggest style updates of all. The impact on a room is often HUGE! And all at a relatively small cost.
It can be tricky working out a colour scheme. You may be tempted to put it on the ‘deal with later’ pile and go with a safe, neutral colour while you decide. I get it, and have done it. But it’s a big missed opportunity on the style front. Get thinking about your colour scheme in the early days and you won’t regret it.
See what a big part Farrow & Ball’s new shade, Sulking Room Pink, plays in this room. Just gorgeous!
So, what’s it to be? Could your place benefit if you focused on any of this? I’d love to hear what you think in the comments.
In the meantime, you might like to hop over to one (or more!) of these posts.
If you’re stuck picking a colour scheme for paint or beyond, I have some easy tips to get you started.
Why painting your ceiling with a colour is VERY stylish! It doesn’t have to be white – honest!
Decorating ideas for when you’re broke – yep, those times – boo!
And, before I forget, we need to come back to the four areas in the en-suite pic, don’t we? To stop that being a bit random? So, in the pic you’ll spot a mirror; lighting options (on dimmer); considered paint choice; and storage – that’s four out of five. It’s too teeny for a rug :-)
P.S. You so knew I tried candlelight at breakfast, didn’t you? It was lovely (ignore the fact that the candles are tiny!)