You have just bought your new home and can't wait to make it your own,,,but where do you start. Our colleagues at Fine & Country talk to their specialist design firms who give their top tips on how to decorate and what to do first
1. Sit back and wait
“When you first move into a new property, we strongly recommend doing nothing to begin with,” advises Elaine Penhaul from Lemon and Lime Interiors. “The more work you believe the house needs, the longer you should wait before you start to plan any major changes.”
“The first couple of months in a new home are vital to learn how the space works for you and what changes and improvements you need. If you rush into getting architects and redesigning a space, it will never be perfect for you and your family.”
2. Neutralize the space
“Whilst we recommend doing nothing once you move into your new home, this doesn’t include neutralizing the space,” continues Elaine. “Painting over garish colours and wallpaper with white or a light neutral before you commit to a new colour scheme is an important step towards defining the perfect colour scheme for your new home.
“Leaving the walls white for a few months will mean you understand how the light works around the house, what time of day each room has its strongest light and which rooms don’t get much light at all. Colour is affected hugely by natural light and choosing colours without understanding the natural light in a space is always a mistake.”
3. Take your time
“We always recommend that our clients put their room schemes together slowly when they first move in. Take inspiration from objects that you love, a piece of art, a much-loved family heirloom or a favourite armchair. Use your key pieces to create a theme for colour, style, and furnishing of a room,” says Elaine.
4. Plan your space
“Whilst you’re settling into your new home and daily routine, it’s important to take the time to assess how the room layout and space works for you and your family,” suggests Preet Dhanoa from Mood Interiors. “Just because a previous owner decided that the dining room should be next to the kitchen doesn’t mean that that’s the best layout for you. We always suggest trialing the uses of different spaces to work out which best compliments how your life works.”
5. Make it your own
“Once you are confident with your home design from a space, light and room layout perspective, its time to make it your own,” says Preet. “Be brave and bold, don’t be afraid to add your own style and personality to a space. We serve as a conduit for our clients to draw out their style and personality, as we find many people are nervous using bold patterns or bright colours around their homes without formal guidance.
"For those going it alone, our advice is to take it one room at a time; start with one colour and then gradually introduce others layer by layer. Using accessories, choices of soft furnishings and wall finishes can really add depth and interest to your overall design. Lighting is also something that most people don’t make the most of. For example, overhead spotlights are brilliant for carrying out tasks in the kitchen, but overhead lighting in the living room should always have a dimmer and side lamps or wall lights to give off a warm glow in the evening.
“You can change and augment the whole atmosphere of your home by altering colours, textures or lighting, don’t be afraid to experiment and learn as you go – that’s half the fun.”