A Bit of Spring Cleaning

Last month I mentioned that after Christmas I really felt the need to get everything put away, to make my house feel fresh – to rejuvenate it. Then I stumbled across the blog Apartment Therapy who had initiated something called the January Cure. What they had done was set out a day by day list of projects to get your house feeling loved again. It completely summed up how I was feeling about my home – a little bored, a little frustrated – and because there was a list that I hadn’t had to write, I got on and did it. And it was fun! How sad is that?

the january cure

I went through my kitchen cupboards, I wiped down window sills, I hoovered under my sofa and pulled out my bed and binned all the old tissues hiding there. I opened drawers that were filled with stuff and turfed it out. I visited the charity shop and the dump. I even gave away some design books. Next up is to post on Gumtree some furniture I no longer want, (eBay is too much hassle for stuff that isn’t very exciting, dealing with all the emails just as the auction closes is hard work, you have to plan your week around it!) That’ll be the ultimate in space clearing and even better I can put the proceeds towards something I’m really hankering after – reupholstering my sofa.

old sofa upholstery

As an exercise it felt great and it worked. I love my house again and its been interesting to get involved in someone else’s planning. That’s a good lesson for me because so often I’m the one in the driving seat and this was about standing back and taking advice. I liked having a different perspective and reflecting on why I’d tucked away so much stuff in the first place.

So often when you acquire things, you have no home for them. I’m not talking about items you plan for, but the impulse purchase, the things friends give you that you ‘might need one day,’ the stuff you can’t say no to. If you have to find a home for it, it doesn’t belong there. I like William Morris’ quote about not having anything in your home that you know not to be beautiful or useful. If you can’t apply that rule to something, why are you considering including it in your home?

So what did I learn from my January Cure? That my home needs attention to look its best. It’s very easy to dump a box of wine in the dining room and just leave it there. Its very easy to leave the hoover sitting out and to forget to go through the foodstuffs in the pantry regularly. But in doing so I’m forgetting that the space I live in needs to function for more people than just me – if I leave things sitting out indefinitely, what hope do I have to get my children to tidy up after themselves? And more importantly, my home can’t do that for itself. It will look unloved, if I don’t show it that I care. And having just found out how much the property market has improved in this area, I do care!

mantlepiece

So here’s a little list to keep you focused for 2015.
Don’t keep stuff you have no immediate need for – or won’t need in the next six months.
If you can’t think of a use for it the minute you are offered it, its really just another man’s junk.
If it takes up space you could use better, you don’t need it.
If you don’t love it and its not going to replace something you love less, what is it actually adding to your scheme?

If you can’t answer these questions, it isn’t right for your home.

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E-Design the Boho-Glam Way

In my last post I had a bit of a moan about Pinterest, but don’t get me wrong, there are many great ways that an online mood board can really make life easier for you. If you have a wealth of ideas, or have seen so many things that you like and just can’t narrow down the selection, having someone shine a spotlight on one specific style and create a scheme for you that allows you to do the shopping as and when you want, could be a real lifesaver.

One of my blogging friends, Kimberly, who’s been really insightful and offered great advice to me over the last year has recently set up an online design service via her blog Swoonworthy. She will put together a design scheme for you remotely by creating a mood board with all the component details for your room, including the where to buy links and contact information. All you have to do is fill out her key points questionnaire, supply her with photographs of the space you need help with and she’ll do her magic to help you transform the room into something you can be proud of.

Swoon Worthy bathroom redesign v2

The beauty of this idea is that you have a complete guide to how the room will look, but you can put things into action at your own pace as time and funds allow. And even better, if you struggle to come up with the ideas, this could be a great way to kick start your design inspiration. Sometimes having one room decided upon is the catalyst for everything else – its the getting started that seems the hardest part.

refining the look

As Kimberly has recently stepped down as the editor of AO at Home – the blog for AO – she has a wealth of product information at her fingertips and a real interest in what is current and on trend to create the look. I’ve been following Swoonworthy for the last year and have really enjoyed reading about the DIY escapades that Kimberly and Wayne get up to – its fun to see someone else’s home take shape when you’re pausing between projects yourself. Kimberly calls her style Boho Glam; it’s exuberant, colourful and well styled. It’s a balanced approach to the home with each piece being considered and then offset by a companion piece. So there’s lots to look at and plenty of texture. What I love is that it embraces the idea of creating a look that is personal – if you love gold details, go gold with everything, be bold, be loud, have fun. It’s all about self expression – so not really for the minimalists amongst us. But the other thing it does is allow you to see how things fit together without having to commit to the purchases in advance and as a tool that can be very reassuring.

kimberly's dining room

Designing an interior space can be hard work and with so much choice available to us, it’s very easy to be side tracked. Keeping sight of your original inspiration is important if you want to pull a scheme together that says something about your personality and style. So it’s very important to edit ideas, to evaluate each new piece that catches your eye. Does it take you away from the look you want to achieve or work in harmony with the other choices you’ve made? Also, remember the constraints of the space, you’ll have to be strict with yourself. If you forget that the tiles can only be so thick and fall for something that will mean the floor has to be replaced to allow for the extra thickness, you’ve added to the cost, but not to the look. Having someone else put together the scheme for you will enable you to stay focused on the main elements of the space – it’ll keep you on track, a bit like SatNav for the home.

dressing room

So, when you give Kimberly your brief, remember to tell her if there are any limitations to the room that you can’t do anything about. Tell her how high the ceiling is and which way the room faces. Tell her how many sockets there are and if you’re planning on doing any additional work to the room as part of the refurbishment. Then you can put everything into action at your own pace – its going to look great!

swoonworthy landing page