How to Authentically Make Your New House Feel Like Home


Without going completely mad, pulling all your hair out or feeling like you just copied your friends


Buying your first home is an incredibly exciting time. Not only have you made a step on the property ladder, but you are also going to be able to take that space and make it all your own.

The trouble is, where do you start?

How do you tackle a refurbishment or freshen up project without having any knowledge on decorating a home, the potential pitfalls that may arise or which order things need to be completed in?

To help you to achieve your Freshlook and to make sure that your home is all yours; we have put together the things to keep in mind when it comes to decorating your own space.

To create a space that you live in each day where you, perhaps you and a partner or even you plus the whole family have had input as to how it’s been styled, painted and dressed will create a much more welcoming and personal home.

Sure everyone may have different ideas, especially the kids if you have them, no doubt they’d want to decorate the halls in unicorn paint and glitter! That would certainly add a touch of personalisation.


Work within your budget


It can be all too easy to get carried away when refurbishing and decorating a property, spending far too much money and ending up blowing your budget.

However, it is important that you work within your budget. Figure out the things that are a must have and those that you can only have if the budget allows, as this will help you to figure things out.

Being true to your numbers, having a realistic grasp on how much things may cost will definitely help you out here, over our years of helping clients to renovate their homes this one area should be the first major consideration, especially when on a tight budget.

When shopping around for decorative features or getting quotations for scheduled works there are other variables at play that shouldn’t be ignored when the costs are being looked at, they are of course our old friend’s quality and timeframe.

Sure you may save a couple of quid using option A over option B but a longer delivery time could really hold up other essential works from moving forwards, or what about the conundrum caused when you decide to opt for the cheaper item and it doesn’t fit properly meaning the workers have to back track a few steps in order to make adjustments so that it can?

See these are just two examples of things we have experienced ourselves, having helped our clients to navigate their way around such pitfalls is all part of our service, naturally it would be easier for everyone involved if we’d been able to oversee or be able to help at an earlier stage.

You can still create an authentic home of your dreams, but you may have to make some compromises along the way if funds are somewhat limited, consulting with a professional company such as ourselves can help you to get insights into what could be tweaked or swapped without too much noticeable difference, if at all.


Take inspiration from friends but never copy


We all take inspiration from other places, even when it comes to decorating our homes.

There is no shame taking inspiration from your friends who already own their home, but you should never ever feel the need to copy what they have done in their entirety. After all, their house is theirs and yours should be all yours.

Outright plagiarism of their furnishing styles would surely lead to some disgruntlement and tension in the air, a much better approach would be to inquire where they had found such and such an item, or who had provided the service that you were particularly keen on, such as the decorating and wallpapering.

Like anything in life there’s a right and a wrong way to go about it.

Compliments can go a long way, but be genuine.

Also if you really like a particular colour that has been used by your friend, no need to be shy about it, but when looking to apply it to your own home perhaps use it in a different modality. 

For example: you really like their choice of Farrow and Balls’ Elephants Breath paint (which subsequently was one of our top picks from 2018), they’ve used it in a hallway, whereas you could make use of it in a study or lounge, perhaps adding in a contrasting feature wall to break things up a little.

You get the colour you wanted thanks to your friends’ initial discovery, but used in a different modality so that you have sought inspiration but not copied, job well done. 

Of course you can always attribute the source of inspiration back to the original place where it was found (your friends’ hallway).

So when you decide to decorate the bedroom of your flat in Epsom, or wallpapering the lounge of your 3 bedroom house in Ashtead, then remember where inspiration was found.


Don’t be afraid to be yourself


Your home is all for you and those you choose to share it with which means that you should never be scared to put in place the things that are totally yours.

Take ownership of your tastes.

Be Bold, Be Audacious if it fits with your personality.

Bit more reserved and introverted? No problems.  Just find the understated colour scheme to match

What colours do you like?

What style do you like?

Do you have a preference on prints or textures?

Think about what you have in mind when you imagine your perfect home and go from there. There is no-one else who needs to like your home as much as you.

Not everyone would enjoy their bathroom to be painted in flamingo pink, but if it floats your boat then who cares, just do it.

After all it is going to be you that live there so make it look like this is the case.


Be realistic with your timeframe

Renovating and refreshing a property can really take some time. If you have never done this before then you may find it all too easy to under-estimate the amount of time that it takes.

 Be sensible and realistic with your timeframe, not only will this help stop disappointment, but will also stop you rushing decisions later on in the process.

From our own experiences this can be the source of many headaches that are avoidable entirely or at least reduced significantly when it comes to planning.

You might allocate 1 week to decorate an area such as the hallway, landing and stairs but due to the current state they’re in a 10 day timeframe may be more realistic.  Knowing this is advance can really help you out; a professional decorator will be able to give you insights like this during the initial consultation phase.

By getting a good handle on how long things may take will only serve you well, if you’re lucky enough to be managing and co-ordinating  the project yourself don’t forget tp allow a little extra ‘cushioning’ in your timings just in case.

We would advise a buffer of around 10-15% just so that best case scenario you’ve got yourself to completion with a few days to spare or worst case that extra time you’ve allowed gets used up by unforeseen issues that no doubt arise.

Don’t forget about the snagging!


Opt for quality

Chances are that you are going to own this property for some time, whether you plan to keep it for yourself or outgrow it and decide to rent it out , I’m sure you are going to want to make sure that it lasts as long as possible.

Obviously there could be more cost involved but the extra investment is usually worth it, think of the time saved and a better overall finish, you can actually save money in the long run by seeking more expensive better quality items & materials to begin with.

As the saying goes “you get what you pay for”

If you’re unsure on exactly which areas you can scrimp a little on and get away with it and where it’s not advisable then contacting a knowledgeable local professional company such as ourselves can assist you in making informed decisions.

A good example can be paint for your walls and ceilings, commonly referred to as emulsions, which is readily available in 2 options; matt or silk.

Both are nice finishes but for different reasons, we covered this in another blog post so if you’d like to know more about the paints go check it out.

If you were to buy cheaper lower quality paint then you could expect to have to apply many coats to get a good even coverage, whereas the slightly more expensive paint will cover much nicer in fewer coats and to boot sometimes you may even find a quicker dry time.

Also consider that the better paint will also tend to be more durable for spills and clean ups, keeping it looking fresh and clean for longer time.

So as you can hopefully understand more thoroughly now that cheaper can actually result in higher costs in long run or more time spent which is of course the most precious of assets.


Make the space as functional as possible (for maximum meterage utilisation)


By this we mean you should make best use of all available areas so that you are literally getting your moneys worth from every inch of your new home.

Space under the stairs?  Shoe storage or somewhere to keep the hoover and other cleaning supplies so that your not forever tripping up over them.

Build or buy storage solutions to utilise wall space and the height of rooms, there are lots of surprisingly creative yet stylish options out there on the market that will satisfy most of our demands.

If you’re still stuck you can always get ideas and costing from your contractor, which can meet your exact requirements and is tailored to your space, stuck for ideas here? Give us a shout and we’d be more than happy to take a look for you.

Keep in mind though what the room was originally designed or built for, what you’d like to do with it and how that could be achieved.

For example:

You have a small area in the downstairs of your house at the back that was once used as a washroom/ laundry area, due to the fact you’ve now got 2 machines in your kitchen that take care of all your washing and drying needs  this empty space can be repurposed.

Due to the lighting and location of the room it tends to be a bit cold, has low natural light and is subject to potential damp issues.  Now what could the room be used for?

Well if you were prepared to add in some more windows, get rid of the plumbing features and update the electrics this could well make great home office area, or space to produce some creative side projects.  Alternatively if space is already a hot contention within your home then an additional bedroom or living space may be better suited to your requirements.


Storage is always a welcome addition to the home and can help you keep things organised and stored away correctly, so getting a bit creative with furnishing and built in features can really make best use of your space.

Think ottoman beds, foot stools or coffee tables that lift up to reveal a void, or dining tables that fold away when not in use.

There’s a solution out there for each scenario, you just have to find it, working alongside an established company such as ourselves can really pay dividends as we can show you what others have done previously for inspiration and tell you what could work in your home, that matches your tastes, budget and timeframe.




To D.I.Y or Just to Try?

The age old debate, our favourite, surely has no other area come under so much attempt by the home enthusiast than decorating their own home.

Hats off to those of you that have a go, especially if you’re working full time still and/ or trying to juggle a family around it.

The extra stress that you’ll be under whilst attempting to tackle as many tasks as you can yourself will be immense, not only will you have the watchful eyes of your family but also prepare to have your work examined by professionals.

This beady eye will be trained even more so in your direction if you have opted to tackle some of the more intricate jobs, areas that can have a knock on impact on the next job in the chain or if other work you’ve done in the property didn’t exactly live up to expectations.

Here’s one scenario of how it could play out:

So you decide to rip out the old fireplace yourself, making it into a much more useful feature by putting a shelves into the void and finishing it all off with some nice plastering and fresh paint to complete.

In your head it seems easy enough, rip out old one, make good, mix up some plaster, apply, wait to dry then put in shelves before paint. Voila the masterpiece will be complete, I mean it’s not quite the Sistine Chapel but it’ll do.

One Saturday is all you had budgeted for timewise as the guys are back in Monday to finish off the rest of the room, plenty of time you say.

However your heightened spirits are soon dampened when you realise it’s a cast iron fireplace that will be heavy and brittle scuppering your hopes to remove it intact and sell online to get a little cash back in the kitty.

Next up you’re alone and have to wrestle this beast downstairs into the garden on your own.

Several hours later having worked your way through what looks like the toolkit of a underworld torture king, you emerge victorious.  The fireplace is out, major milestone has been reached.

After a quick break and celebratory dance you return to finish off the task in hand, surely the making good and plaster will be a breeze in comparison!

It is at this point that you realise that you have no idea what the benchmark for good is, nor how you will make it, but fret not a quick search on the old internet turns up some useful advice and videos of what to do. 

With renewed confidence you dive straight back to it, plastering like a pro to get the job done, you’re reasonably happy with the end result but come Monday morning the other guys have got something to say.

In your efforts to save time/ money you’ve just created some setbacks by using the wrong type of plaster, your ‘making good’ wasn’t as good as you may have thought and the paintwork finish is atrocious.

Basically most of your weekends work will need to be redone, at additional time and cost to your original planning, not only a setback but also a kick in the balls.

Let’s hope news doesn’t reach your significant other!

We said ‘hope’

There’s also considerations that need to be made for disturbing old materials and dust when working on older houses as they may have used materials that were popular years ago but have since found to be dangerous to health.

Keeping yourself  and your family safe should always be your priority, therefore if you’re unsure of something when trying to D.I.Y then get a professional opinion to put your mind at rest.

Having professional guidance from start to finish to help plan, design and deliver the home of your dreams can make such a huge difference to the stress, time, budget control and overall quality when you decide to put your mark on your new home, you can reach out to us by clicking on the email address below.