It always surprises me how often I get asked about many of the smallest details and pieces in my home when I share a picture on Instagram. I love that people care about the homely details as much as I do. Faffing around with the never-ending details in our house gives me endless entertainment (see there’s that damn procrastination again); and sometimes I just use it as a way to focus my mind when I’m having a difficult day and thinking about Teddy. I guess I’m often thinking about what I should be doing now; more often than not I’m overthinking. So focusing on the details at home helps my vivid imagination from running wild.
I like to think that I have made enough mistakes with the simple things in my own home along the way to be able to prevent you from doing the same thing. So I’ve compiled a little list of things I think are essential to creating a homely and stylish home, and things I would never do again……
Always feather cushion pads. Now I might be teaching you to suck eggs here (In which case scroll on!) but if you are still stuck in the trap of buying shapeless polycotton padded cushions, please STOP! They will not last as long as feather pads, they will flatten (usually after a few months) and that’s it, they’re done for. A complete false economy! I still have feather cushion pads from when my husband and I first moved in together, and when I am bored of the cushion cover? I just re-make (or buy) them! Feather cushions will always be more comfy, plump up nicely on your sofa and feel more expensive. A good tip I have learned is to buy a set of cushion pads from Amazon (you can get them really cheaply and they come in packs); then each time you buy a new cushion (you know, the one you just had to have); if it comes with a polycotton pad inside, then just discard that (or save it for another project) and put the cushion cover onto the feather pad. Voila!
Candles. I have burned enough sh*t candles in my life not to waste time with them anymore. I have also burned enough expensive ones to know what a difference they make in fragrance and burn-time. The balance is finding the right ones at the right price. Candles I cannot get enough of (and actually stumbled across by pure chance and luck when a friend booked us a holiday cottage around the corner from their factory in Cornwall) are St.Eval candles. They are a Cornish company and their fragrances and quality are more than enough to rival the big names we all buy. “Sea Salt” and “Fig Tree” being my particular favourites. Obviously I love Jo Malone too, I had my first Jo Malone candle about a decade ago and burnt it like it was the most precious thing I owned. Jo Malone and Diptyque are more expensive, but they are worth it. If you just can’t justify spending the money then be sneaky and add them to your Christmas and Birthday wish lists! Oh and of course, The White Company. Fresh Fig is my all-time favourite!
Faux flowers. Oh god where do I start with these? These can be so bad. I’m a lover of fresh blooms in the house (aren’t we all?!) especially in Spring when I cannot help but add daffs and tulips into almost every grocery shop that I do. This is an expensive habit, not one that my husband is the biggest fan of. I have found that good faux flowers can save the day; especially in guest rooms and areas of the house that you don’t utilise all day every day. It’s nice to look through the door of a guest room and not see wilting flowers that you haven’t even had the chance to look at while they were looking their best. I am lucky to have a fabulous shop near to me who specialise in them (Wattle & Daub in case you ever wind-up in Godalming wondering where to spend your money?), but if you can’t find an independent local store close-by, then John Lewis and India Jane online both do fabulous faux blooms of all your favourites. I’m not saying these should ever entirely replace fresh flowers; but they are a good alternative for many places in the home.
White bed linen. All day, every day. It doesn’t have to be plain; it can have a detailed trim, embroidery, button detail, pom-poms; whatever it may be that gives it a little bit of your personality; go mad with it if you need to. White linen is classic, it’s timeless; you won’t bore of it when you get bored of the pattern or the colour (let’s face it, I could never tire of white!). White linen will always look fresh, inviting and create a calming atmosphere in your bedroom. I buy all of our bed linen from The White Company and I never get bored of it. If you really are that desperate to add some colour, put some cushions on your bed! You can change them when you get bored (which is also so much cheaper to do) and change the look of your room in an instant. White linen is a game changer and if you’ve not discovered the joys of it, then you can thank me for this one later.
Mirror, mirror…. I have to say I am a sucker for mirrors in every single room (sometimes more than one, even in small rooms). Now this isn’t a home interior cover-up of how best I can find ways to satisfy my vanity; it’s simply due to the fact that my house is a Victorian semi, and the light doesn’t always get into the rooms and spaces that you might like it to. So my masterplan to introduce mirrors of all shapes and sizes into every room has really helped to increase the light and make the rooms look so much bigger. Although some of my mirrors have been a bit of a splurge (at up to £300) many have been bargains, picked up from eBay, vintage stores and Ikea (for as little as £20). I have also been known to paint Ikea mirror frames in chalk paint if I don’t quite like the colour, or if I want them to look like I did spend £300 on them! Whatever you room size, my feeling is that you can’t go wrong by creating the illusion of a little more space and enabling the light to flood in. It certainly cheers me up on the darkest of days.
Note; the downside of mirrors when you’re having a bad hair/face/life day; you will catch a glimpse of yourself in every room. I mean, there literally is no escape. I think this is a small price to pay though?
Most interior enthusiasts will still be totally buzzing about 2016’s “Hygge” craze (possibly the best/only good thing to have come out of last year?!). As a huge fan of the Scandinavian approach to home-life, I’m glad that it’s hype is set to continue, and I personally believe that the list of essentials above help to add a little Hygge into every home! So embrace it. (That’s not a threat, I am just saying you probably should?)