Most of us have watched those cruel home make-over shows at one time or another. You know the type, where a hyperactive bunch of designers and tradesman bombard their way into an ‘unsuspecting’ civilian’s home, with only an hour to complete a WOW transformation. The magic designer snatches up a few old cushions, whips up the rug, and hey presto, the whole house is a wonderful palace. Don’t we all wish that our tired houses could be awoken with such hasty and invigorating fervour? I’m not promising to make your home your dream mansion, but by following the simple steps below you can bring beauty into your house.
This step sounds so exhausting, but believe me, it’s worth it. Pick a room to start on, and attack it with a pair of rubber gloves and a bin bag. Poke into hidey holes you’d forgotten about, delve into cupboards you’ve been putting off forever, jump right in to the depths of all your clutter and let it go. Don’t be afraid to chuck out that gaudy yellow vase because you made it when you were six, if it’s sentimentally valuable, box it, be strict with yourself about what really is sentimental. Use ‘time since last used’ as your rule of thumb, if it’s been three years since you last used it, chances are its rubbish.
Remember, start as you mean to go on- don’t sort piles into piles, if its rubbish throw it, if it’s not, put it away. Consider recycling any items you don’t need, charities are always looking for items they can sell on. You could also try to make a few pennies out of your old stuff, pop it onto eBay and see what happens!
Love Your Boudoir
When leaving the house for the day it’s easy to just fling the duvet over the bed and open the blinds. Try to make your bedroom an inviting haven, a paradise to relax in after a hard day.
Begin by buying a few lush cushions and a luxurious throw for your bed. If you want to recycle and save a few pennies as well, you can always turn a pair of old, thick curtains into some pillows and matching throw. Your pillows should be plump and enticing, dump any old flat pillows. Scatter cushions over the bed.
Place candles generously around the room for ambient lighting.
If you have a partner, devote one corner of the room to your relationship. Frame some photos of the two of you, and place a few items that symbolise your togetherness.
Before leaving the room in the morning spray some room perfume, use a scent like rose, sandalwood or jasmine for a romantic air, or citrus, mint or pine for an uplifting effect.
Say it with Flowers
Don’t wait for a special someone to buy you flowers, buy a few bunches cheaply from a flower stall or local supermarket and place in your living room, hallway and kitchen.
Studies of the benefits of flowers have proven that the presence of them decreases depression, enriches memory and increases social contact. Use Calla lilies to symbolise beauty, white carnations for loveliness, and orchards for love and magnificence. Add baby’s breath to your vase to symbolise innocence.
Place a few single stems from your bouquet around the house for an added touch.
Open Your Kitchen
The kitchen is the ideal place to sit and have a cosy chat with a neighbour or friend. Make your kitchen the perfect setting for coffee and unwinding.
Bring your kitchen to life with smell. In the morning put a pot of coffee on, using freshly ground beans if you can. The smell of fresh coffee will envelope you when you walk into the kitchen. Use a cinnamon incense stick to make your kitchen smell like warm cookies and childhood.
Invest time in your bathroom. The bath should be the ultimate relaxation experience after a tough day at work.
Place chunky, scented candles around the bathtub. Use lavender or marjoram to soothe and warm.
Invest in fluffy, matching towels, and iron them before folding and placing on a towel shelf in the bathroom.
Always keep a neatly folded, clean towel over the sink or bath for guests to use.
Buy some bath petals and tip generously into a bath before getting in.
By following the steps above you should find your house is a more beautiful, relaxing place to be. Remember that your home should be a safe, warm place for you to rest and recuperate at the end of a day. Put on a CD, invite a friend over, and truly enjoy your own space.
This is a guest post by Emily James