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Buying a new or off-the-plan property is exciting. But not as exciting as the day you get to move in and start making your new house a home. Furnishing and styling are important — no matter your taste or budget — it’s the small touches that really make a space inviting. We spoke to Nicole Miles-Lewis from LIT Interior Co. to get some advice on styling your new home.
Q: What are your biggest tips for people when furnishing and styling their new home?
A: There’s a golden rule: consistency is key! There are three things that we recommend you consider when undertaking a project like this: colour, finishes and furniture. Creating a house that matches visually will help to create a harmonious and comfortable home. In order to do so effectively, you need to think of the entire house when decorating each room. However, don’t be afraid to merge styles in a single room. Introduce a few rustic elements into a sleek modern space. Blend decorating ideas for an eclectic feel. As long as you maintain balance with items that share a thematic shape or colour, you can be as creative as you like. Go on — be brave!
Q: Do you have any tips for decorating a smaller space such as an apartment?
A: Choose materials that open up space. When it comes to furnishing a small area, it’s important to avoid bulk at all costs. Do these three things instead.
• Items with slimline silhouettes: thin table & chair legs; chairs that can slide fully under tables; sofas and benches with narrow, preferably no arms.
• Materials that ‘open up’ your space, think wicker that has an open weave rather than compact weave, glass table tops, slatted seats or fabric seating that allows light to penetrate.
• Go vertical with greenery: to create that lush feeling and still have room for outdoor furniture, install a vertical garden (Petite Retreat has some easy to install options) or hanging planters.
Q: What advice would you give when it comes to colour palettes?
A: White, done right, can differentiate an interior. You don’t always have to paint the rooms in your house a neutral colour. Although tricky to pull off, painting your interior white can make it stand out — and for all the good reasons. White may technically represent the absence of colour, but its application is more popular than ever in interiors. Rather than being clinical or cold, decorating with white can be a wonderful opportunity to experiment with texture and tone to create timeless rooms with qualities of lightness and serenity.
Q: What advice do you have for new homeowners who want to give their home a fresh feel without redecorating?
A: It’s not always possible to change your floor plan — but you can change your furniture placement. Furniture put in the wrong place can cramp a space or simply look unattractive. Symmetry is important. The most common mistake in furniture placement is to position all the pieces around the walls, thinking that it’ll make the room look larger. In actual fact, it does the exact opposite.
Find a hero piece — this is where the fun begins. Transform a space from “depressive to impressive” by finding a hero piece, among other interior design strategies. Look at all of your items, which do you find easier to work with and style and more importantly can be updated to keep in line with changing trends. Every room needs a hero — let’s say a stunning peacock-blue chair, for example. In a room that’s been otherwise decorated on a small budget, with a lot of flat-pack Ikea items, a unique chair lends the space an interesting bespoke feel.
Brighten up your dining tables and lounge table by adding pillar candles in various sizes placed on a decorative plate, a brightly coloured vase with fresh flowers or another unique centrepiece. This is a very simple strategy and can add beauty to any room.
If you don’t want to paint an entire room, paint a large canvas and hang it on a blank wall to give the room colour without spending money on art or large amounts of paint.