The government tells us it’s providing the right number of new homes (particularly for stretched first time buyers). However, there still doesn’t seem to be enough housing to go around. Certainly where we are in Bristol and the wider SW region, they seem to be whacking them up faster than you can say ‘indoor / outdoor flow’.

We’ve taken a lot of briefs from people, 5 or 6 in 2018 alone, who have bought a brand new property and need some help turning it into a home. The clients have mostly been middle-aged, professional males, with style and money but no time. I didn’t really see this coming. They all need a home, help with both decision making and getting it ready relatively quickly. Generally there’s a good number of rooms and a neutral colour palette which needs attention. All of this together turns it into a pretty large project.

So, what are some of the approaches we use to turn an empty box into a home to love?

Here are our top tips:

  • Try to see beyond trends by buying things from a variety of sources and also to avoid
    things becoming dated quickly

  • If you don’t want it to feel like walking into the Chocolate Factory (from Charlie and
    the…) find your style as an early step and extend it all round the house. Look at
    products for all rooms together rather than ticking rooms off one by one to help make
    sure it’s cohesive. Even if you aren’t buying everything in one go, it’s useful to have
    a grand plan you can keep coming back to

  • Thinking about the right budget…. What are the big items you need? We generally find we
    need to spend £20K ish on these kind of projects (based on a 3 or 4 bedroom house).
    This will include a good number of decent, well made products. It’s totally valid to
    direct more budget towards important rooms, e.g. lounge, family room, master bedroom…
    depending on what your favourite space is

  • Grey is not dead ! A few industry writers are talking about grey being dead.
    It’s not. It’s just not necessarily the ‘go to’ colour right now. But that’s OK, in
    fact it’s probably a good thing (see point no. 1). You will need a soft neutral you
    feel happy with in a few rooms, and for many this might be a soft grey

  • Designate one room to storage / stuff / kit if you are able to keep mess from moving
    round the house

  • Make friends with a decent handyperson if you aren’t doing it yourself. Or if you
    are… are you sure? £200 a day can go a long way when spent on a fast and efficient
    person on your side getting all the things done that would otherwise make you slightly

  • If you need to build flat pack furniture, a really good tip is to not screw all the
    components in all the way until you have all of the matching ones loosely in their
    holes. When they are all lined up, screw them all in. Take my word for it, it’s
    enormously frustrating to have to undo them all because one hasn’t joined up

  • Light bulbs… choose the right ones. Warm ones really do what they say they will. And
    cool ones are great in rooms which already have loads of natural light

  • If it’s your first one and you don’t have anything to bring with you, think carefully
    about what you get hold of. For example… what do you really actually need in a lounge?
    A vase or two, some candles, a few books, somewhere to put a drink / snack, a few
    pictures, some soft furnishings. If this is a place where you just come to wind down
    and switch off, or have a few buddies round for a drink, you might not need to
    embellish it as much as it seems

  • It’s a good idea to have a really good sort out while you’re moving. Make sure those
    mystery boxes of items (precious family treasures aside) don’t just follow you around
    from loft to loft. Many things can be sold and the British Heart Foundation also
    collects certain (electrical / furniture) items you don’t need any more so that someone
    else can use of them.

    Please read our reviews if you’d like to see what our clients think of how we have transformed their new homes.

    Or, find out more about how our interior design service works here.

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