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Decorating Tips - when you move house

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Fri 01 Apr 2016

Decorating Tips - when you move house

So you’re in.  You have moved house.  Furniture may yet have to find its

The first piece of advice I give to newly moved clients is to spend some time living in the house before committing to any major decorating decisions.  You need to see how the light behaves, establish which rooms you enjoy spending time in, notice vistas that you would like to make the most of and consider where the natural focal points are or where you might need to create one.  final resting place, perhaps boxes of bits occupy most corners and pictures sit propped up against various walls awaiting a hook, but you have done the hard bit; the waiting on exchange date and the multiple box lugging.  Moving to a larger house, a different period perhaps, you have already started thinking about the interior, visualising your dream kitchen and peaceful bedroom schemes.  You may already have a file of pages torn from interiors magazines or a much loved fabric swatch; you are ready to turn your country house dream into reality.

It’s completely natural to want to put your own stamp on your new house as soon as possible but adopting the considered approach will pay dividends later.  If the décor and carpets make the house close to uninhabitable then go for neutral walls, something like Dulux Natural Calico is a great all round off white that works well in any light and should not jar with anything.  As far as carpets are concerned if you have to replace them immediately, an 80:20 mix in oatmeal or stone will keep your options open. There are various “neutral” carpets available but many are very pink or too yellow so can limit your choices when you start planning the room scheme. 

Careful planning will ensure that any budget you have set aside for improving the interior will be spent in the right place.  If you are moving in with your partner then your merging two households worth of possessions may bring with it some challenges both practically and aesthetically.  You may have just bought the home of your dreams but perhaps it does not reflect you or your style so you need to think about how this can be achieved in your new space.  Your furniture may work perfectly well in your new home but the proportions and perhaps period of this property are different from your last home, so what should you put where? And what else might you need to bring together the new look?

There are of course things you can do to quickly make a house feel like home.  My personal quick fix is table lamps – they will transform the mood of a room instantly.  Keeping a table lamp and your bedside lamps easily accessible when you move will allow you to create that warm glow of home immediately and make the first night fish and chip supper all the more cosy.  I always think it’s worth hanging some pictures and mirrors sooner rather than later.  They are generally safer once placed on walls and if you decide to move it and the hook cannot be used for a different piece of art then the hole can very easily be filled and sanded back when you come to properly decorating.

Play around with furniture positions and when working with larger spaces don’t be afraid to place pieces in the middle of the room; furniture does not have to be confined to the walls! Living with it in various places will give you a real sense of where its final resting place should be.  I have worked with clients before who, having initially designated one room as a study and the other a dining room, swapped them around within a few months or so of moving in and then started work on the lighting and the colour schemes . 

What I would also urge you to give careful thought to is how your home will need to adjust over the years to accommodate the changing needs of your family.  If you have children, toys and space to play will be key in the early years but as they move into their teens, somewhere to hang out with friends will be important.  Living in a new property without making too many decisions too early on will enable you to see how you live, what works and what does not from both a practical and aesthetic point of view, and then provide you with a clearer idea of what your priorities are.