Let’s play house: 25 useful home-making suggestions

The Clara sofa from EZ Living offers seating for up to five. Its yellow finish adds a gentle splash of colour to a neutral room (€1,299).

There are things we all ought to have once we start taking home-making seriously. Carol O’Callaghan offers 25 useful suggestions to get you going.

Home is home, whether it’s for now, or something mire permanent, although the character of it changes dramatically from the days of student accommodation or first moving out of the parental home, to the point where we have a job and a lifestyle we’re happy with and want to take a more mature approach to creating a home.

Don’t wait for your forever place to get started on the things you need for a grown up gaff. Here are 25 of them to get you going.

A great bed

A good mattress will last for years and a good bedstead will last a lifetime. The Hastings double bed, €469. Watercolour Damask rug to soften the wooden floor, rug from €230. Both from M&S.

This translates as a great mattress which can’t be a hand-me-down. You slept on enough of those when you were a student.

A comfortable chair

Make it a multi-seater sofa, a design-led statement chair, or, if you’re at a stage where comfort is everything, a recliner.

Decent lighting

Twinkling fairy lights are sweet, but not for reading or seeing what you’re eating. Strong bulbs overhead and lamps and dimmer switches have you covered.

A cookbook

The pot noodle and beans on toast days are behind you. Invest in a few cookbooks for everyday meals and posh dinner parties.

Framed posters and photos

No need to splash out on art, just get some photos off your camera, unroll your vintage posters and start framing. They’re your personal history and a decorative focus.

Placemats for your lovely table

You’re well past the stage of eating out of a carton while leaning against the sink, a table with placemats and napery are a must.

Filing system

Have somewhere near to hand to keep your bills, insurance policies, and appliance guarantees and instruction leaflets.


Even if you’re not constantly browsing Amazon, there must be a book or two that means something to you. They’ll also provide a layer of coffee table styling.

Multi-purpose glasses

You know the ones that look like wine glasses with the stems cut off? They work for water and soft drinks too.

Wooden clothes hangers

Sling the wire ones. Your grown-up wardrobe deserves better, and suits and dresses will thank you.


By now you ought to be able to keep something alive. It doesn’t have to be a child, just a greenery scheme to enhance your surroundings.


A great rug softens up wooden and tiled floors and determines the furniture layout.

Proper curtains

No more sheets attached to windows to dim light searing through a hangover. Get the real thing.

A well stocked fridge

Even if you eat out a lot, have things in the fridge and cupboard for unexpected guests. Include a bottle of wine or two.

A really good corkscrew

This is the solution you need to your after work glass of wine being sabotaged by fragments of cork.

Kitchen essentials

One good chef’s knife instead of a block full of blunt cheapies is the best kitchen advice I was ever given. Same goes for frying pans.

Matching bathroom towels

White goes with everything, but wash them separately like mammy said, so laundry day isn’t stymied by a rogue black sock cleaving to the washing machine drum.

Timeless tableware

The versatility of white wares means contrasting plates can be added to create a fresh look. Water Hyacinth mats 18.99 for four, Collection Bosa 16-piece dinner set €34.99 at Argos.

White, again, is your best friend. Dress them up with napery and your new placemats.

Seasonal bed linen

Unless you live in the tropics, winter and summer duvets are a must.

Signature scent

You didn’t think of this, did you? But in the era of scented candles, choosing a particular fragrance base — citrus, floral, fruity or woody— will reflect the atmosphere you want.

A toolkit

Screwdrivers, hammer, picture hooks, flashlight, pliers, tape measure, spirit level and gaffer tape will help you out with low grade DIY matters.

Vacuum cleaner

Choose portability and compactness for storing, plus good suction to transform housework.


Mix it up for good looks and practicality. Use shelves for display and drawers for things needing to be out of sight.


Reflect on this one for a second, as they’re more than a looking glass. Develop a mirror strategy to reflect the garden into the house and for enhancing a sense of space.

Soft furnishings

Cushions and throws can be dirt cheap or wallet-draining. Either way, they’ll elevate your home from just being rooms with furniture to feeling gorgeously lived in.

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