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There’s something really exciting about moving into a new villa or an apartment, from picking out brand-new furniture pieces to upcycling old favourites. We talk to two interior experts, who offer tips on decorating a new home on a budget.
Understand your space
Not all homes are the same so it’s important to work with your home’s unique features. “Take a look at the property objectively and understand its positive and negative features, from spacing to lighting,” says Ellen Bishop, Managing Partner of Bishop Design. “This will help you make good decisions when buying new furniture or bringing in older pieces. When I consult with a client, I use a technique called ‘setting out’. This is basically using a tape to visually create the furniture’s dimensions on the floor to see what fits in and what doesn’t, before moving in. This is vital when it comes to practical space planning.”
Lama Qaddumi, Managing Partner and Creative Director of Mosaique, agrees, adding, “To maximise your space in an apartment, try to buy things with a dual purpose, or items that take up less space. Think about how items pack or fold away. Nesting tables, multipurpose stools or stands, and folding tables and chairs are great for smaller homes, and today you can find fun designs that don’t look cheap or boring.”
In with the old
Not all of us have the luxury of furnishing our new homes with entirely new pieces — and that’s a good thing too, according to Qaddumi. “Not only is this practical from a cost perspective, it also helps to inject your personality into the space.”
Bishop also believes in the power of makeover, when it comes to your favourite objects. “Reupholstering a much-loved sofa or polishing up your aunt’s vintage side board will give that piece and the room a new lease of life. Another fabulous trick is taking your old curtains and restitching them, either with the same fabric or with an entirely different material.”
Qaddumi says that no matter which furniture you’re taking to your new home — old or new — use neutral hues as the base palette. “I always advise starting with subtle colours first — think creams, whites, browns, beige and taupe — because that way people can add accent pieces or accessories to change the space’s style. Neutrality also makes it easier to change a look, if it’s not working, and to update a home’s interior over the years.”
Fridge, armchair or nightstand?
“A home’s first essentials vary greatly from person to person,” Qaddumi says. “Think about what you can’t do without; those are the objects you should be bringing with you first.”
Qaddumi adds that no matter what you consider your essentials to be, storage is also very important — and often forgotten. “You’d be surprised how much stuff you accumulate over time, so factor in storage — in whatever form that may be — at your new home. De-cluttering can be a great stress reliever, especially after a big move.”
Bishop say paying careful attention to both function and personality might make it easier to decide what to keep, what to throw away and what to buy. “I think it’s a good idea to have a comfortable sofa, a good mattress, a nightstand on which you can fit a reading lamp, your book and your mobile, and good lighting,” she says. “If you’re looking to save money, consider spending more on buying, reupholstering or upcycling statement pieces that you’re going to use more often.
“For example, you might buy a less-expensive bed stand, but spend more on the mattress. Lighting is often an underestimated element at home, yet so important. You might not get the full extent of the lighting in your new home until you actually move in as many people first view their property during the day.”
Embrace your style
As homes are personal areas for entertainment and relaxation, Qaddumi says, it is best to bring “what you love into your home and you will automatically adore the space”.
Bishop, who designs across styles but prefers a more minimalistic Scandinavian look in her own home, agrees, adding, “Eclecticism is very popular at the moment, but it’s actually a lot more difficult to pull off than one might think, especially if there’s no personality to go along with it,” says Bishop. “If you’re not up for hiring a designer to help with the look you’re going for, think about why you’re attracted to that style, and embrace it fully if you decide to go ahead with it.
“For example, if you’re designing a Moroccan home spa, embrace the look entirely with Moroccan-inspired lights, sand-hued walls, and Arabesque floor cushions. If you’re doing eclectic and have decided to combine a modern sofa with your granny’s vintage coffee table, the look is very likely to work because there’s a story in the design.
“Simply filling a space with vintage looka-likes in the hope that the space comes off as eclectic isn’t just expensive, you’re also likely to get bored faster. Bring your individualistic style into your interiors because it adds to their longevity.”
Source: Angela Boshoff Hundal, Special to Property Weekly