Happy New Year!! Well, it seems like we blinked and the holidays were over, however now the mince pies have been eaten and the Christmas trees are down (almost, I’ve still got my artificial one up in the living room because it’s just SO pretty!), it’s time to look ahead and start thinking about 2020. Last year was such a lovely, settling in period for our family, where we got to really explore our new neighbourhood, make good friends and continue to finish off our home with some fun interior projects. These are going to keep coming in the New Year – it seems like there is always more to do when it comes to property! This is the time of year when everyone is thinking about starting new endeavours and whether you set yourself ‘resolutions’ or not, it’s a great opportunity to look at refreshing, updating or overhauling tired or unsatisfying aspects of your life – including your interior! I always find winter/spring the best time to tackle interior projects, as when the weather is grotty, I don’t feel like I’m missing out by not being outside. Here are my top tips to help you with the planning and preparation of any home design projects you might have been putting off till the New Year.
Spring Clean, Chuck Out and Organise
Before you think about tackling any interior design projects, such as a painting refresh, wallpapering or tiling, the job will be made much easier if you first sort and organise the room. Also, if you don’t quite have the energy yet for big projects, seemingly little bits of organisation can make a huge difference to the way you feel about your home. Be brutal – donate or sell anything that has been hidden in a cupboard and you haven’t used in the last 6 months. Facebook Marketplace is a great place to sell on unused home furnishings, and there is also a Facebook group called Castle Hill Flog-It that is used by local sellers and buyers. Lots of people have recommended the weekly Sunday Car Boot Fair in Fox Hounds Lane, Southfleet as a great place to get rid of unwanted bits and bobs. While it’s currently closed for winter, it will reopen mid Feb and I’m definitely going to be checking it out.
Once you’ve cleared some space, look at how you can sort and organise your storage. My husband accuses me of being a ‘hider’, as whenever I do a quick tidy, I tend to chuck things in cupboards and drawers for a quick fix. However, having properly organised storage can help prevent this nasty habit, as it makes it quicker and easier to put things back in a ‘proper place’. I did this last January with our kitchen ‘pantry’ (its just a food cupboard, but I like to sound fancy!). In order to combat the piles of dry goods and kids snacks that were shoved in and spilling out, I removed and recycled all packaging and put everything in cheap containers from Ikea & B&Q that I then labelled with decals from Home Label Collection. It genuinely completely changed the way I was able to use the kitchen, as it frees up SO much more space without the bulky boxes and packets! I also labelled storage caddys to put all of my Baking goods, Herbs & Spices and Cleaning products, making it super easy to just lift down everything you need at once, without having to root around. As a little décor refresh, I also wallpapered the back of the inside of the cupboard, however rather than permanently paste the paper down, I used removable double-sided tape so I can easily change or remove the paper if I want.
Another tip if you’re tight on wardrobe/dresser space, especially in children’s rooms, is to roll the clothes up rather than fold. I did this with all Arlo’s clothes and not only did it free up about half the drawer space, it also is much easier to see exactly what is in the drawer, and means that you don’t get those clothes that are at the bottom of a folded pile and therefore never get worn.
The mood board is an interior designer/interior Instagram blogger/home decor lover’s best friend! It’s the easiest way to sort and visualise all of the exciting, abstract ideas you may have in your head about how you want a space to look. You can make these as idealised or realistic as you like – I like to do mine as more design boards, where I can lay out the furniture and wall finishing in a similar manner to how they would be in the actual room. This gives me a better picture of what works well together, and what I need to re-think. Now, there are lots of different apps and online software that can assist you in creating your board, however I like to make mine in the most basic way – using Excel! I insert all the images that I collect and then use the ‘Set Transparent Background’ and Shadow functions to edit the images.
Measure, Map & Visualise
I can’t emphasise enough the important of accurate measurements when planning a room. For all our interior projects, we’ve spent a few days before even thinking about purchasing furniture just measuring walls and distances and researching what would fit and look best in the space. This takes place initially in pencil on paper, however there are some great online tools to help you further visualise your choices. I love the IKEA planners , we used the BESTA one when planning our home office, to see how many built-in look cabinets we could fit across the wall, which sizes worked and what the various door fronts would look like against our chosen wall colour.
I always like to order samples of paint and wallpaper before firmly deciding on what I’m going to put on the walls. You really can’t tell what a paper or shade actually looks like from an image on your computer screen, and getting as many samples as possible will save a lot of disappointment! Many online stores will send free samples, but if not its always worth emailing to ask. I love Decorating Centre Online as a one-stop shop for both paint and wallpaper, with a great Colour-Match Paint online service. I used this when doing our playroom panelling, as I wanted Farrow & Ball’s gorgeous Sulking Room Pink colour, but at almost £50 a tin it was out of my price range. Decorating Centre online did me a perfect colour match, in really high quality, water based paint that was a dream to paint on, for only £28.99.
I hope I’ve inspired you to think about what interior projects you might like to tackle this year, and given some useful tips to get you started! Remember, it’s all about planning and preparation, do as much research as possible, make sure you know the type and quantity of materials/furniture you need, and then just go for it!