How to make your new house a home – our 6 favourite tips

How to make your new house a home – our 6 favourite tips

Home is where the heart is:  Let us help you make your new house a home.

As the dark days of winter fade, spring brings an upbeat brightness back into our lives.  We are more optimistic and feel ready for new beginnings, making the prospect of moving into a new home tempting and exciting!

Here we will share our 6 favourite tips on using interior design to make your new house a home this spring 2020. However, before we dive into our tips we must mention a few practicalities.  (If you are moving into a new build property, you have a blank canvas to work with and can skip the next paragraph!)

Cleaning and new flooring

Besides a happy toast, moving house coincides with the perfect time to clean your new home thoroughly from top to bottom.  Always purchase quality, cleaning products and turn your house or apartment into a fresh and welcoming home.  Most importantly, everything should be dust-free, polished and shiny:

Carpets vacuumed and hard floors mopped.

If you are considering replacing the flooring, this is the ideal time to do it.

Reflective surfaces – spotless.

Furniture pieces – gleaming and neatly arranged.

 TIP: It’s also worth hiring professional cleaners to give your new house the refreshed look it deserves.

Now you are ready to start designing your new interiors.  So, take a look at our favourite tips that will help you create your dream home.

  1. Natural Materials, sustainability-ditch that plastic

Surround yourself with nature and natural materials, then you will begin to feel a connection to the outside world.   Sustainability is becoming a way of life and this trend is set to continue – which can only be a good thing for our homes and the planet!

Cane and rattan are very on trend this year and are an inexpensive and lightweight alternative to synthetic furniture.  Likewise, raw wood surfaces are beginning to replace high gloss finishes in cabinetry, tables and chairs.

We are beginning to reject cheap disposable pieces in favour of re-using and re-purposing vintage and antique furniture.  (This is particularly true for  the darker toned woods.)  Maybe re-purposing a family heirloom will help to make your new house a home , as well as helping the planet! 

2. Picture Perfect

Do not make the mistake of treating interior design art as an ‘afterthought’ within your design process.  Certainly, artwork plays a key role in personalising any home and should be considered during the creative planning stage.

Not only does artwork provide an instant colour palette, but it can also add a perception of texture, create a strong visual impact and bring a sense of completion to a design.  For example, the inclusion of family photos and portraits is a sure fire way to make your new house feel like home!

So how do you pick the perfect interior design art and use it to elevate your interiors to new heights?

Do have a look at our earlier blog on how to select the perfect artwork

Tip: The inclusion of family photos and portraits is a sure fire way to make your new house feel like home immediately!  

3. Light it up

The right touch of luxury lighting will elevate your new home to extraordinary levels of beauty and sophistication.  Beautiful lighting will set a scene of atmospheric refinement and make your home truly remarkable.  

Do remember that all successful lighting schemes involve layering.  For example, intricate mood lighting spiralling up the staircase, soft-glow, hand-sculptured wall lighting or a unique ceiling light which tells a luxurious story of the home’s style and character. 

Above all creating a calm and relaxing atmosphere will go along way to help you make your house your dream home!  

Tip: Remember you will also require good task lighting in the kitchen and other work areas.

4. Mirror mirror on the wall

Mirrors are an indispensable tool for the interior designer, and can be used in many and varied ways.  Therefore, when designing our stunning interiors we frequently use mirrors to great effect, and would like to share a few simple tips to help you create your dream home.

Create a focal point 

Draw the eye to the visual centre of the room, with an extravagantly framed mirror.  A fireplace is often the focal point of a room, but not necessarily, in which case a mirror will create a beautiful focus.

At Alexander James, we treat decorative mirrors in a similar manner to artwork and hang them as statement pieces or arrange as a gallery.  Placing a mirror behind an illuminated lamp will enhance the available light; indeed, if you put a candle in front of a mirror the effect can be amazing.

Illusions & Reflections

Mirrors give an illusion of space and create depth in a small room.  Don’t be afraid to use oversized mirrors in a small space; in fact, you can use mirrors architecturally to deceive the eye!  For example; place a full height mirror against a wall at the end of a short hallway and it will immediately appear longer.  Similarly, a mirror panelled wall will create myriad reflections and greatly enhance the amount of light in the room.   Another tip to create an illusion of space and light is to install twin mirrors into an alcove or either side of a window.

Placing a mirror opposite or next to a window will increase the amount of daylight and strategically placed mirrors can bring the outside in. Imagine sitting near a window enjoying the views when it is just too cold (or hot) to be outside!

Mirrored furniture

Consider using exquisite mirrored furniture pieces that will create wonderful reflections, or mirrored and illuminated alcoves – both decorative and functional!  We often create mirrored headboards in our luxurious and elegant master bedrooms.  Therefore, if you are considering an eclectic glamour scheme, this would be absolutely perfect.

Finally, there are many different mirror finishes and colours available that will create different types of reflection do take a look at them!

5. Colours and patterns

For the past decade grey has been the go to colour, from the palest dove through to almost black charcoal.  However, we don’t think that grey has totally had its day, as it is so versatile, but other shades are on the up! 

This year, 2020, the Dulux Colour of the Year is Tranquil Dawn a calm and hazy shade of sage green.  A versatile shade that brings the essence of the natural world into the house, Tranquil Dawn combines beautifully with darker greens or warmer pinky tones.   Generally, warmer shades such as peach and oatmeal are taking the place of grey in neutral schemes.  This change is very much in keeping with the worldwide move towards calmness, nature and sustainability.  

If bold colours are more your style, try Classic Blue, the Pantone Colour of the Year.  Classic blue is a familiar, calming shade of azure, that will inject a real punch into your design. Use it as an accent colour, for cushion, fabrics, artwork and homewares.  Furthermore, we believe there will be a resurgence of lustrous blue taffetas and velvets as part of a gradual return to traditional decorating styles. 

Patterns are definitely in the ascendance for 2020, and there is plenty of choice.  Consider including a statement patterned sofa, wallpaper for a feature wall or accessories! 

For example the 2020 fabric and wallpaper ranges include some beautiful imagery and patterns including florals, foliage, animals and people.  Many of these new designs have a softer and slightly more nostalgic feel.  There are also a number of sea-inspired designs, furthering the move to connect with nature.  One of these designs is certain to make your new house into your dream home!

6. Eclectic Glamour

If you want your home to be sassy, bold and confident, then Eclectic Glamour is the style for you! Think the elegance of the Thirties with a little sexy Seventies opulence thrown in.  Shapely furniture with rounded curves and fluid shapes take centre stage.  Moreover, hints of earlier 1920s influences are appearing in elegant chairs with soft scallop shell curved backs.

Eclectic Glamour is a flamboyant style! To achieve this dramatic look layer metallic tones of burnished gold, gleaming copper, brass and bronze with tones of pink, royal blue, and warm ochre.  As the cornerstone of your design include a statement sofa in luxurious velvet (which is now widely available).  Then, add in a sideboard, cocktail cabinets and mix and match accent chairs, lighting and cushions.  Do not forget there are some wonderfully extravagant wallpapers around, just perfect for this glamorous look.

“One of the great things about moving into a new house and turning it into your home is that you can really have fun with the process.  You can be subtle, with bold touches reserved for accessories and artwork that bring the underlying colour scheme to life. Alternatively, if you are daring and love to experiment, why not try some of the beautiful and vibrant new wallpapers tamed with sensual velvet upholstery?  Whatever style you opt for create a mood board to try out different colours, textures and items that catch your eye.  When you are happy with your design, you can bring your ideas to life within the house.  This is what the pros do to ensure a perfect scheme every time.

 And finally, if you are not confident to design your own scheme – put AJI into your speed dial!”

Stacey Sibley, Creative Director, Alexander James Interior Design

And finally: A house is just a combination of bricks and mortar, while a home is what you make it.  To make your new house a home include a few personal touches throughout by adding furniture, colour and other detail. 

It is these personal items, and the memories they evoke, that make a new house a home.

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