“Owning and decorating a house brings a lot of joy, but a little stress too. And with that, a vast amount of experience about what does work, what doesn’t and what you wish you’d done differently. Since moving into our house a year and a half ago, we’ve learnt plenty.”
I’ve lately become obsessed all over again with homeware. I want to buy all the interior, all the decor and have the house all sorted, like yesterday. I don’t think I’m alone in thinking this slightly erratic way of thinking tends to happen when you have your own home. Especially when it’s your first.
When you have your offer accepted, the excitement to get in and make it your own is pretty overwhelming. It’s new, it’s yours and you have a blank canvas to make it whatever you want it to be. That in itself can be daunting, but I think it’s pretty amazing! Once the first few months are out of the way, you’ve discovered what it means to live with your other half, and your place resembles more of a home than just a house, the obsession with wanting to buy all the interiors seems to subside. And for quite a while too. The major rush you had beforehand? It’s now been replaced with a majorly dried out bank balance. Gulp.
But, once you’re past that initial mad rush to buy everything and anything, and once you’ve gone cold turkey on any form of interior or homeware shops for months on end (I’m even tempted to say a solid year, personally) your thoughts start running wild with you again, and you’re back loving all things ‘house!’ This is the stage I’m currently at. And although I’m embracing it to my hearts content, I know my bank balance won’t be soon enough. You can’t have it all right?!
After having a slow start to January and confessing over on Madelaine Vlogs that my motivation levels have only just made an appearance, one of the main things on my to-do list this year (not to mention the other 23 things) is to finally finish the house. I’ve previously shared some details with you about mine and Harry’s home, but we’ve still got those dreaded odd jobs lying around that need completing – which will be finished this year. So, as part of my new found motivation to get s**t done, our number one priority right now is turning our spare room into a study. And no, this wasn’t one of the small jobs we had to do. And yes, that means I’ve given us even more work. Oops. However, this does means one thing for certain; Pinterest inspiration. It’s so good, so dreamy and it’s slowly but surely becoming my go-to for killing time – even when I have a gazillion other pressing things to do. It happens.
Owning and decorating a house brings a lot of joy, but a little stress too. And with that, a vast amount of experience about what does work, what doesn’t and what you wish you’d done differently. Since moving into our house a year and a half ago, we’ve learnt plenty. It’s been a steep learning curve, but I’m hoping that now this is out of the way, it will only mean our next move goes a little more seamlessly.
So, if you’re moving house, or moving into your very first home, I thought this post may help. I’m sharing a few things I’ve learnt from our move – the weird and the wonderful, the small and the big, so you can get it right the first time around.
Decide what the rooms are going to be, before moving anything in
This may sound obvious, but this is a mistake Harry and I have now learnt from. Hence, we’re now redecorating the spare bedroom and turning it into a study. Of course this is mostly due to circumstances changing, which no one can predict. But, the option to turn our second room into a spare bedroom in the first place was because I felt like that’s what we should do with it, rather than it necessarily being the most practical and best use of space. Since living in our house, we’ve had people stay in the spare bedroom a handful of times. And the rest? It’s used as a wardrobe and washing room. Fab. So, as Harry will now be needing a study (and I quite like the idea of it too if I’m honest), we decided to go against what people may think we should do with the space, and actually use it to our advantage. It also means I get to redecorate, mix it up and get new decor. Any excuse. Obviously, if we’d thought about it properly in the first place, we wouldn’t have to be redecorating and buying another lot of furniture only six months later. You see my point?
It’s also important to look at your house with fresh eyes when you first move in. Don’t get stuck in a rut by only seeing the rooms as they were with the previous tenants. If you prefer the smaller bedroom as it’s better light, then don’t feel like this can’t be the master bedroom just because it’s smaller. If you don’t want a dining room but instead want a games room, then do it! When we first moved in, the previous tenant had a slightly different layout with the rooms downstairs. We mixed this up, and it works so much better for us and our lifestyle. It’s your house remember.
Save extra money (on top of your deposit)
I can’t reiterate how important it is to have extra cash, on top of your deposit you put down on the house. Not only do you need this to actually buy furniture to make your house liveable, but this extra money acts a back up. You know, just in case your boiler breaks one week in, meaning you have to fork out on a new one immediately. Been there, done that, got the t-shirt.
Unfortunately, when you move into your own home you find out the hard way that furniture is expensive. Like, really expensive. And don’t even get me started on the mundane essentials that you have to have, don’t want to buy, but unless you get a decent version of, won’t be worth purchasing in the first place. Like irons of all things. Hold me.
It’s the bane of all our lives, but just save that little bit harder. You’ll thank me in the long run.
Pick your sofa wisely
Okay, this is a serious tip I had no clue about before buying my own (I mean, why would I have a clue about sofas?!). A sofa is a sofa right?! Wrong. Think about it. Where do you spend most of your evenings? On your sofa? Watching a film? Lying down? Then think wisely when picking one out. This isn’t a throw away item – it’s an investment for the long run.
As much as I love our sofa and how it looks, it’s not the comfiest when you’re two series into Netflix and realise you can’t move your neck anymore. High armrests? Not ideal. Is it big enough for two of you to be on comfortably at once? Is it actually comfy? Throw questions at it, and make sure you can answer ‘yes’ to them all before settling on ‘the one’. You may end up looking like a meerkat popping up here, there and everywhere by testing out all of the sofas in the shop, but if you only take one tip seriously from this whole blog post – make it this one.
Don’t rush into buying furniture or soft furnishings
View your furnishings as an investment and think about the overall style you’re going for. This way, you won’t rush into buying something on the cheap that you’ll hate one month down the line and want to change immediately. Whether you’re going for a more industrial look, glamorous, minimal, scandinavian – whatever it may be, just think it through properly beforehand. This way, when you do pick a style you want to go for, it will not only mean your rooms look much better because they all follow a similar ‘theme’, but it also means you won’t be buying unnecessary items that you then don’t want to use.
If you like a more minimal look in your home, then you may want to think twice about having lots of items on display. Like in your kitchen, for example. You’ll probably want to lose that knife rack on the side. And forget having a bin on full display – get a smaller one that can be hidden from view inside your cupboard. I’m talking from experience with these things. Plan, plan, and plan some more for good measure. You’ll only kick yourself otherwise…
Choose paint colours carefully
The colour of a room can make or break it. And you guessed it, it’s another thing you want to think carefully about. I’m a massive fan of really dark rooms, but I also love plain and simple white walls to match with my #minimalmood – the decision is never easy. Get testers, don’t rush and think it through thoroughly. Remember, choosing a dark colour can make a room appear much smaller, especially if it lacks natural light. Analysing your space can help you to decide what colours you choose. Plus, it means you don’t hastily paint a whole room dark, to then realise you hate it, and then have to try and paint over it again. Good luck is all I’m saying.
Note: these pictures have been taken inside Honest Home, Birmingham. I previously did a blog post all about Honest and why I love it, which you can read here.