I love making a space my own. I entered a competition the other day where I had to answer a question. The question was something like ‘Tell us what makes your home a home’. In an enthusiastic attempt to win a pretty homewares and decorating book, I wrote this:
I never truly understood what home was until I left it. When I moved interstate last year, the thing I most missed was familiarity and a sense of belonging. As we have settled into our new environment, I’ve realised this: creating a home is all about familiarity. It’s about giving a space a purpose, making it somewhere you belong, and somewhere you’re proud to share with those who matter most to you. For me, home is where the heart is – but more so, it’s an expression of the things that fill my heart to its very brim and overflow onto my walls, floors, surfaces and windows.
Maybe a bit over the top – but not untrue! Our home is full of photos of loved ones, special pieces from our childhoods and wedding, hand crafted art and cheap finds. It’s an expression of us and our attempt to make an unfamiliar place feel like home – and it seems to be working! Here are some of the things I’ve learned about decorating over the past year or so!
Throw rugs. Throw rugs are a great way to bring some colour and texture into a variety of spaces. We have a maroon throw and a cream coloured throw (with added pom poms!) over our brown couch, and a grey throw on our bed and the guest bed. Not only do the colours tie in with other decorations in the room, but they serve a functional purpose in making a couch or bed cosy, comfy and homey.
Framed art. You can chuck just about anything in a frame and it looks great. I recently popped into a craft store, and they had some beautiful handmade paper in a frame. It looked amazing, and the textured, colourful sheets of paper were only $3.50. We have a few frames around our apartment. The first is a huge wood-look frame I picked up in an op-shop for $15 (not that much of a bargain now that I think about it). We found a print we loved on Etsy, and opted to print cheaply through Officeworks. Obviously you can splash out on printing if you want to, but we can hardly tell the difference. The second piece of art is one that I made myself. It’s a slightly smaller piece, so I was able to pick up a frame from Kmart for $10 which fit it perfectly. Score! I already had the paper and some watercolour paints, so it only cost $10 total. You don’t have to be great at art to create something beautiful. Watercolour paints don’t have to be a precise art, and the way it dries gives it beautiful detail no matter what you’ve painted.
Plants. I love having some greenery in the house. Flowers are a beautiful way to do this, but they tend to be expensive and die very quickly. You can easily spend $30 on a bouquet – but think about what permanent greenery you can purchase for the same amount, or even less! I recently bought a beautiful Fiddle Leaf Fig from Bunnings for $18. Yep, $18. I couldn’t believe it either! It’s pretty small at this stage, but with the right care, it should grow and mature into something tall, leafy and green. Make sure you talk to someone at your local nursery, or look online for care instructions so you can help your plants to thrive.
Storage on display. This sounds like a weird one – but what have you done with all those magazines you love but you’re not ready to throw away? I have a bunch of magazines I’ve written for or have some kind of attachment to, but instead of shoving them away in a cupboard I bought a small wire container from Kmart for $4. They’re easily accessible and viewable here, and bonus – it looks great! You could do the same thing with a record collection. My father in law recently gave me some pretty green, blue and white balls of wool. They’re perfectly circular and match the colours in our living room, so instead of putting them away until I get the chance to use them, I’ve put them in a bamboo bowl that my parents gave us and displayed them on a small book shelf.
Minimise. One of my favourite decorating tips is to stay as minimal as possible. Having at least one totally clear space in each room is ideal – which is going to save on decorating! For example, I try not to permanently leave anything on our coffee table and only leave a fruit bowl on our kitchen table so things don’t look too cluttered. A great way to keep things off surfaces is to put them on walls and make a feature out of them. For instance, we recently put up a peg board and shelves to house Peter’s various coffee contraptions – which doubles up as ‘storage on display’. It looks great, and keeps them off his already busy coffee cart. Peg boards are also really affordable at Kmart!
Buy neutral. Do you have one neutral colour theme that runs throughout your entire space? All the walls in our apartment are white, and we’ve bought the same coloured wood (go IKEA!) for our table, coffee cart and coffee table. All the other furniture we own is white – which means that if we ever wanted to move anything to another room, we could. Buying neutral doesn’t just help you keep a theme throughout your whole space, but it makes redecorating cheaper. Introduce colour with things like bed spreads, cushions or other decorative pieces. Keep things like lamps and window furnishings neutral so that you can easily change up a space with a different doona cover and a couple of new cushion covers!
I hope that gives you some ideas and inspiration for decorating!