You’ve unpacked the boxes, managed to find the right cable to plugin the TV and uncovered the kettle – at last, you’ve moved into your new home. But don’t put your feet up just yet – that’s not where the hard work ends. Once you’ve settled in properly you’ll want to decorate and furnish your new home – and if you’re a first-time buyer you may be starting with almost nothing.
The joy of furnishing a new home from scratch is that you have complete freedom to do exactly what you want. And that’s also the main problem. Just where do you start?
Whether you have moved into a brand new property in a smart, residential development or moved into a tired period conversion which needs a bit of love, the principles of furnishing and decorating your new home are the same. And if you don’t know where to start, follow our top tips for making your new home your own.
Get to know your new home
It’s a good idea to live in your new home for a while before making major decisions. You should get used to the light and the layout and work out how major pieces of furniture such as the sofa and chairs will fit into it. Learn which features you should highlight such as cornicing or a beautiful ceiling rose and decide which to disguise – maybe some shabby flooring which you cannot yet afford to replace.
Make a plan
Next, make a detailed plan of what you need to do. The property may just need a lick of paint or it may need more extensive refurbishment work – whatever is required, the next stage is to get some quotes from reputable tradesmen.
Of course, any major, messy work such as electrical, plumbing or construction work (including knocking down walls to make more open-plan spaces) will need to be done first and building work may require planning permission.
But don’t become overwhelmed by the scale of the project. Tackle one room at a time to make it more manageable.
Decide on your style
Now that you have a blank canvas and a good idea of what you want to do, decide on your style. Do you prefer sleek, contemporary lines or a more traditional look? What is your chosen colour palette?
Look for ideas in interior design magazines and websites such as Elle Décor and The World of Interiors, or find inspiration on Pinterest.
Don’t buy the first furnishings you see though. Do a bit of research and if, after say a month, the piece you have in mind still fits in with your overall scheme, make that purchase. Make sure you look online for promotional codes or discounts from furniture retailers.
Create a mood board using images, fabrics and colour schemes you like to bring your ideas to life.
Consider what furnishings, accessories and artwork you already have (and wish to keep) and what new items you need to buy.
You may need to work around some existing ‘issues’ such as an old kitchen which you cannot yet afford to replace. Or if the property has beautiful traditional architectural features, you will need to mix old with new – again interior design magazines and websites showcase some amazing ideas.
Our interior design tips
There isn’t a single process for designing a new interior- our designers work with our clients to find out their practical requirements and their individual design preferences – and each one is different.
But we do have some tips which can help you develop your own ideas for creating your new home interior design. Above all remember that you should choose pieces that you love and that are functional.
Space – make sure your chosen furnishings work together (but avoid matching sets which can look really ‘twee’!) and that each room has a natural flow.
Light – how much natural light do the windows allow in? How large are they? Which direction does the room face? Go to our Lighting Masterclass blog for more information.
Colours – do you have a favourite colour? Think of the different shades and tones you might use, whether for the paint, furnishings, fabrics and accessories and look at how they work together.
Focal point – it often helps for each room to have a focal point, a real investment piece, whether this is a stunning piece of artwork, a beautiful rug or a statement mirror.
Furnishings – buy the best quality furnishings (sofa, chairs, dining table etc) you can afford as they will have to stand the test of time. They should be neutral in colour and a classic style. You can then accessorise them with soft furnishings – cushions, throws etc for pops of colour to liven things up.
And don’t forget your tape measure – it’s essential to measure larger furnishings in particular to make sure they fit into your space.
Window dressings – window treatments are one of the most important aspects of designing a room. Think about the style, the colour and the fabric.
Keep it simple – there’s no rush to fill a room with ‘stuff’! Take your time and think about how each piece will look – its colour, size, pattern and texture – does each piece complement the overall scheme?
We hope that we’ve given you a good starting point for how to decorate and furnish your new home. If you’re still not sure where to start, don’t forget that furnishing packages offer a stylish and cost-effective way to furnish a home from scratch. They’re available to suit different sizes of property and different budgets and you can choose options to complement your own design preferences.