Friday, 9 February 2018

Simple life hacks to help make a house a home

What you wear and how you present yourself can say a lot about you, and this same logic can extend through to your home. It doesn't matter if you own your home or rent it, it's a given that you want to come home at the end of a long day to a piece of you - rather than feeling like an intruder in your own home. Owning your property outright means you can delve straight into all manner of home improvements, whereas if you have a landlord or someone else to answer to, there may be restrictions in place preventing you from being able to rip out existing built-in units / flooring, or from painting over those dastardly yellow tinged magnolia walls. If you are in student digs, renting, or anywhere else that holds decorating restrictions, there are small changes that you can make here and there to make your space feel more like your own. And the good news? None of these have to cost the earth.

Throws and soft furnishings

A godsend if you have secondhand / inherited furniture that isn't to your taste. Or if you have pets that shred ALL THE FUR (I'm looking at you, Bailey). I moved into my - unfurnished - house as a first time buyer with ALL THE SHOES but not really anything useful i.e. furniture. Fortunately I acquired an entire living room set from family who simply fancied a change. All of these items were virtually new and in immaculate condition, and as thankful as I was to actually have chairs right from the word go and not be sitting on the floor, the fact still remains that a beige sofa isn't very... me. It's a bitch to keep clean and beige chairs in a room with magnolia walls isn't the one. Future me dreams of replacing them with a grey L shaped sofa or a tan leather affair, but for the time being they can be easily transformed by adding layers of throws and soft furnishings like cushions. What was once a beige cat furr magnet is now covered with a black and white geometric pattern throw (as seen later in this post!) which I'm pretty certain only cost me £5 or less from Primark. For colder evenings, I add extra textures like a rust coloured chunky knit which contrasts nicely against the monochrome geometric fleecy throw. Sheepskin rugs are really versatile as they can be draped on a chair or a bed - not just the floor. Whilst there are pricier options out there, you can also get sheepskin rugs from as little as £10 from IKEA. I also really love those chunky knit blankets knitted with the humongous knitting needles. But no matter what you opt for remember this: don't see it as hiding a piece of unloved furniture - see it more as transforming a piece and making it more you.

Prints & typography

I love an inspiration quote. So a bland looking magnolia wall transformed into a gallery wall of framed motivation quotes... count me in! Choose quotes and artwork that is personal and means something to you. If your accommodation prevents you from nailing things to the wall, choose wall friendly options like command strips or propping frames up on a shelf (I have my print of M, the kittens and I freestanding... as seen here!). I know from my uni accommodation days that blu tack is not the one (chipped paint on the walls meant I lost a chunk of my deposit. Sad times). Whilst you can buy readily framed quotes online, why not create your own for something extra personal? Frames aren't expensive (I bought some from Asda for less than £1 each for my wedding table plan) and can be filled with either handwritten quotes (particularly if you are a calligraphy whizz kid!) or something typed and then printed off from the computer. I also like saving pages from magazines and postcards from Paperchase - both of which also frame well.

Flowers

I don’t know about you, but I love having flowers in the house. They are a great way of incorporating some colour into your life if a) you don't have a garden or b) you have decorating restrictions where you live. Plus they make the house smell lovely, don't they?


The other day I had a surprise delivery from Prestige Flowers who very kindly sent me one of their Lomond bouquets from their luxury range. I have dark inky blue walls in the lounge and I find that bright whites or bright colours like hot pink can look sensational against darker walls. So Prestige were spot on with their colour choice! An arrangement of brightly coloured blooms can help lift a dark room that doesn't see a lot of light (because not all of us are fortunate enough to be living somewhere with huge bay windows!)


I love the contrast of the greens (aren't the shamrock blooms beautiful?) against the pinks. The pinks in particular make a bouquet like this the perfect choice for Valentine's Day or Mother's Day (Prestige do some lovely other Mother's Day bouquets here!). Although to be honest, flowers like these would make me happy all year round! The arrangement filled the house with a beautiful fresh scent and gave the house a spring essence despite the fact it was snowing / sleeting / raining outside. I'm so ready for Spring!


The black gift bag that came with it was a nice touch and would be a lovely way of presenting the flowers if you were invited for dinner somewhere, or to welcome friends into a new home. I liked the high gloss wrapping (also black) and even the box it arrived in was pretty. I'm all too used to boring brown boxes (I'm STILL unpacking from moving house...) and I really liked the chic black and white design. It shows extra attention to detail and pride of presentation at every stage - not just with the flowers themselves.


I was impressed with the condition they arrived in (it can sometimes be a bit hit and miss when flowers are sent by courier) and how they thrived in the days that followed. One thing I did notice unlike other flowers I have had before, is that they drank water like it was going out of fashion. So my advice would be to keep an eye on the water level and keep it frequently topped up so you get a good long use out of your flowers.

Prestige also offer add on items like balloons, fruit baskets, prosecco and so on. They also very kindly sent me Charlie the bear (who for the record Bailey absolutely adores!), a vase, and a box of chocolates - all of which were lovely added touches. I usually avoid the fruity chocolates in chocolate boxes as I can find them a little artificial tasting (also if I wanted fruit, I'd have fruit). But I have to say, the fruity ones I tried were the first I have liked and enjoyed. I think this was because they had a higher chocolate to fruit ratio which I prefer. How cute is the chocolate crown?


So with that, a flower summary: fill your home with fresh flowers and potted plants (pink / purple orchids are a personal favourite of mine!) for an instant injection of colour. Green heavy arrangements can really help lift a neutral space dressed in white or magnolia. Flowers are a great life hack if your living space is one that you don't have permission to paint or make any major changes to, and can really make a house feel more like a home.

Candles

When I first moved into my house, there was a stale smell in the lounge which I couldn't get rid of. I took down and washed the curtains, I hired a Rug Doctor and deep cleaned the carpets, and I washed the walls down with sugar soap. None of these things helped. Then enter the humble candle. Once my living room was a little more put together (read: actually had furniture), I brought out my candles. Candles add a signature scent to your living space rather than eau de previous tenant. And yes, that stale smell in my living room is now a thing of the past (hooray). I don't know about you, but candles instantly make me feel more relaxed. There is something very soothing about watching episodes and films by candlelight. Candles don't have to be expensive, so can be a fairly low cost way of transforming your home. I love Aldi's candles which are a spookily accurate dupe for the Jo Malone candles, but at a fraction of the price. Primark also do some great options.


A huge thank you to Prestige for the flowers (aren't they gorgeous?), the chocolates and Charlie. Prestige have flowers for as little as £19.99 and offer next day delivery (check the site here for order deadlines), weekend delivery, and free chocolates with selected bouquets. I hadn't heard of Prestige before, but was really impressed with the flowers I received and how they were presented and will definitely be ordering from them again in the future!

What are your favourite ways of making your home feel more homely?

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