Embarking on family life means that your priorities are bound to change, and the urge to keep your home looking expensively chic and up to date can fade rapidly. With a little bit of effort and ingenuity, however, you can still keep your home looking fashionably cared for, even if you’re working to a budget. Here are a few tips to help you out.
This is the space that probably gets the most use in your home. Very much a family room, where children and adults may play together, read, relax or watch television, this is also a space that visitors to your home are bound to see. Decluttering is the secret to giving your home a more polished look generally, so aim for streamlined furniture and shelving, and make sure that you have adequate storage facilities so that toys and other items can be speedily moved out of sight when not needed. Window seats and footstools with good storage capacities are ideal, and there are lots of ways to use your DIY skills to create what are basically decorated and padded boxes.
Every few years, you probably long to give your kitchen a complete makeover. This is an expensive option, however, besides being very disruptive to family life. The best ways to ensure that your kitchen always looks up to date is to decorate in neutral colours and to repaint or change cupboard doors when you need to do more. You don’t need to replace the cupboards themselves; just accessorise your kitchen carefully, according to current trends. For example, it’s cheaper to change your kettle and toaster to get this year’s pop of the hottest colour on your countertops than to redecorate throughout. When you have guests dropping in for a morning coffee or afternoon tea, don’t forget to make the most of sensory enhancements (as recommended when you’re selling up) and make good use of the aromas of delicious coffee or home baking.
Expensive homes often boast vast bathrooms, and a few clever tricks for creating the illusion of space can make your perhaps more modest version compete for attention. Pay heed to natural daylight as well as artificial lighting, and make good use of mirrors to enhance the feeling of space – you’ll be surprised by the results. Depending on the location of your windows, you may need to ensure privacy, and it helps to choose waterproof shutters rather than curtains as these promote maximum daylight because of their contoured lines. They also withstand humidity. DIY shutters are more affordable than custom made and are also easy to fit. Position your mirror – as large as is feasible – in such a way as to reflect natural light, and make sure that you keep it highly polished. An easy-to-clean bathroom window adds to the illusion of space.
Your bedroom and your children’s bedrooms are personal domains; however, if you’re furnishing an additional guest room, you have to be sure that you cater for people with varying tastes. Overstated floral chintz may not conjure up a comfortable environment for all of your guests, for example. Again, neutral tones are best on walls and floors, remembering that you can always accessorise with appropriate cushions and throws. If a small sitting room doubles as an occasional guest bedroom, choose a comfortable bed settee, and remember to include a small bedside table and lamp. If you have built-in cupboards in your room, try changing the door furniture from time to time just to update the look.
Porch and hallway
You might not think of a small porch or narrow hallway as a “room”; however, the entrance to your home, as well as its exterior, makes a vital first impression. If your porch is mainly decorated with muddy football boots or limp ballet pumps, try adding a shoe rack, or better still a cabinet, to keep the floor clear of clutter. Use warm and welcoming colours in the entrance décor, and invest in cheerful lighting. In smaller spaces, keep other furniture to a minimum, and remember to use mirrors to best advantage. Also, make good use of wall space above doorways by adding shelving to house bits and pieces – think gloves, hats and cycling helmets – so that they don’t block access.
You can achieve a lot with a little bit of basic DIY, so aim to create exquisite storage units, use paint and accessories to brighten up your kitchen, and employ lights and mirrors to grow your bathroom. Replace door furniture here and there, and add cheerful colours where needed.
*This is a collaborative post.