…and how do complete one.
I love a good cry. I cry at romantic films. I cry at groups of people singing (if those people happen to be really young or really old, then I’m in absolute pieces). I cry at weddings even when I don’t even know the bride or groom that well, and I’m always grateful when the wedding is outside so I can mask my tears with some MASSIVE sunglasses. My tear ducts and crying reflexes come from my Mum and put us in front of a programme like ‘Long Lost Families‘ and we’ll cry you a river. However I do remember a day when an expected flood poured out of my eyes and that was the day that we picked up the keys to our newly purchased flat. Back in May 2015, Mark and I had just purchased our first home, and at the ages of 25 and 27. We felt proud, extremely lucky and privileged to be in such a position and actually – flippin’ terrified. I managed to keep my cool in front of the Estate Agents and when we first walked up the stairs, but as we stood in our new living room, with it’s crumbling windows, eighties fireplace and knackered carpet, my bottom lip started to go and once I gave into the quiver, it didn’t stop. We’d just taken on a HUGE task; both in its physical and financial size, and we had NO idea what we were doing and what was in-store….
Shall I tell you what happened? Ours eyes popped out of our heads and rolled across the floor when we realised how much a new kitchen would cost. I spent one afternoon crying in front of bewildered builders as I tried to find someone to help us re-paint the place and couldn’t find a painter that was available for the next six months. We ate Burger King far too much than I’d like to disclose. We used boxes for tables for about three months. We didn’t have a sofa for six months thanks to a major f-up with people we bought it from. We lived with a mouldy bathroom that had a cat-flap in the window above the sink for three whole years. You know ‘It was the best of times, it was the worst of times’ – yeah, that. We were over the moon with small square-meterage that was purely ours, but renovating a home took more time, patience and money that us property newbies could ever have imagined.
Basically the process is LONG and you get fatigued. It’s why people say that you always have a to-do when it comes to making changes and updates to your home, and then when you get to the end, you begin the process all over again. They ain’t wrong! It’s why four years down the line that we still barely had any art hanging on the walls and only the bathroom (sans cat-flap) was the only room that we’d deem truly finished. So we decided that it was time to light a fire under our arses and embark on a year of finishing things off. 12 months of mini renovations; re-painting rooms, removing scuffs from the walls, buying plants, hanging artwork, buying a rug or too, replacing furniture that we bought just because we didn’t have the money for what we actually wanted at that particular time and saving for the items that we LOVE. It turns out that it was a pretty darn good decision. We are in love with our home like never before and we’re only two rooms down. I’m even more of a homebody than I was before if that’s even possible. The office makeover came first, and then we just finished off a re-jig of the bedroom which has transformed it to a warm and cosy haven. Previously my least-favourite room of the flat, it’s now my favourite (video COMING soon!). So whether you’ve rented or bought your home, here are my top five tips for turning it into the space that you’ve always dreamt of, without too much time or money…
MY TOP FIVE TIPS FOR GIVING YOUR HOME A MINI-MAKEOVER
HUNG UP. This is a note to self more than anything else, but if you’re anything like me then you have a dedicated space and home for frameless-prints and pieces of art that you’ve been meaning to hang for approximately the last three years. THIS WEEKEND IS THE WEEKEND! Get yourself that picture hanging set from IKEA that everyone has, or pop to your local D.I.Y. store to get yourself some hangings and screws and get to work creating gallery walls or feature prints. Have a shedload of prints just longing for frames? Find a local framer who can sort you out with exactly the right size, mountings and finish you want.
SOFT FURNISHINGS ARE EVERYTHING. A rug, a pillow, a blanket, a throw – these little flashes of fabric can help to pull together a colour-scheme or add some new shades into a room. Instead of splashing the cash, why not just move your pillows around a bit. I’ve taken my ones that were previously in the office and put them in the bedroom and just like the our whole home in general, it’s made me love them all over again and I didn’t even need to spend a penny. Do the same for all kinds of soft furnishings. It’s like living our your nineties kid ‘Changing Rooms’ fantasies all over again, but in real life.
DITTO A NEW DUVET COVER. Now this does require you to fish out your purse, but adding a new colour or texture into your bedroom thanks to a new duvet set can make it look completely different. I’m always a fan of crisp white sheets, but I just purchased a new dusky pink set of linen covers and the room looks brand new. Previously I’ve always purchased bedding from John Lewis*, but La Redoute* have some great linen options for around half the price of what I’ve found elsewhere and I can vouch that they are extremely soft. Go for patterned number if your bedroom is feeling bland, pair with your switched-around pillows and TA-DAH!
PAY FOR A PALM. Plants! I love a good plant. They fill up empty spaces and add some greenery and health benefits to your home (true story: I wake up with a stuffy nose way less now we have a gigantic rubber plant in our bedroom). You don’t have to pay for fancy pots – Homebase, B&Q and TKMaxx do some good options at bargain prices – nor pay over the nose for plants. Local garden centres usually have a good range of indoor plants and I used Hortology for online delivery of some plants that I wasn’t able to find in stock near me. They really do a great job if things are feeling sparse in any particular room and are much cheaper than filling the area with furniture instead.
A FRESH LICK OF PAINT. Not the most time-consuming tip I’ve shared here, but adding colour to your home, or even just repainting a fresh coat of white to walls that are scuffed and have squirts of liquid bronzer all over them *looks around the room guilty*, can really change things up. When we first moved in, I insisted that every room be painted a bright white, but as we’ve adapted the space we’ve realised that actually some colour can add some personality to the place and make rooms feel more cosy and homely, which was what our flat was really lacking. Start with a small room, put a weekend aside and get your dungarees out of storage.
Photos by Emma Croman
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