THINK CREATING YOUR ‘DREAM HOME’ IS ALL ABOUT ‘CURB APPEAL’ AND FANCY DESIGNER BRANDS? THINK AGAIN!
For a fairly sizeable chunk of my career, I was fortunate enough to edit two very glossy interior design magazines – hat tip to my friends at Jazz Events & Publishing for giving me this opportunity!
While working on these titles, I learnt that as a nation we are slow to tire of kitchen and bathroom supplements (which kept me busy for years). I also discovered that while our parents really only needed to know one word for cream – it was magnolia, a universal shade which matches with virtually every tone known to man, a whole new vocabulary has now sprung up around the nation’s favourite neutral (Farrow & Ball, I’m looking at you) meaning that these days our living rooms are almost certainly painted in a shade like ‘stone’ or ‘string’. It would take a harder heart than mine to reject the new neutrals entirely, but I still secretly salute anyone who’s sticking with magnolia, the nation’s hardest working neutral.
One of the things I’ve discovered in my years of writing about and occupying homes is that what you think you’ll care about and what you ultimately end up obsessing over are two very different things. This is why I, like many others, have been known to paint A4 sheets of paper with virtually identical shades of cream to see how they’ll look in different light conditions (spoiler alert: virtually identical).
In reality, unless you’re toying with choosing a bold paint or wallpaper shade, paint colours tend to be something we agonise over for a few days and then never really notice again.
It’s also tempting to get really caught up in a world of chic designer brands, craving a sleek Italian kitchen or overdraft-inducing bathroom. Sometimes the big ticket items you splurge on for your home will really make you smile every day, but more often than not, it’s nailing the simple stuff that’ll make the biggest difference.
Personally, I’d recommend doing all that you can to ensure that your house maintains a pleasant temperature all year round. Because if your home is stiflingly hot in summer or overly chilly in the winter months, it won’t matter how good the place looks, you won’t be able to kick off your shoes at the end of a long day and feel instantly at ease there.
This means tackling the basics like replacing worn-out windows – Three Counties Ltd currently has a range of window special offers. Also, if your bathroom or kitchen gets very cold in the winter months, I’d recommend investing in under-floor heating. I know it won’t twinkle at you from the shelves in the way that a really beautiful marble travertine tile might, but it’ll make venturing downstairs to make the first brew of the morning feel much more civilised!
Finally, if water pressure’s not your friend, enlist the assistance of a good plumber to see what magic can be worked. Because life’s too short for showering under a trickle of water or topping up your bath with kettles.
I’d love to hear how you’ve made your house feel like a home and whether there’s anything you wish you’d spent more or less on after moving in.
You may also enjoy: My bathroom obsession: The perfect shower.
I was very proud to write this feature in association with Three Counties. Although this is a sponsored post, the words of advice are all my own!