Have we ever been so familiar with our homes? Even the big freeze of 2018 didn’t stop us getting out to pelt each other with snowballs and take snowman-building to a competitive level.
But this winter’s grounding of us all has advantages for home interior buffs as we move into the season of decluttering, clearing out and getting the nest looking its best.
Once that’s sorted and the black bags are lined up in the hallway ready for the charity shop, the fun bit starts — and the chance to channel our inner stylist into our surroundings.
If you haven’t already developed a few home-styling skills over successive lockdowns, let’s keep it simple and get cracking on vamping up just three of the main areas of the home with help from stylist and designer on RTÉ’s Find Me A Home Natasha Rocca Devine.
“Right now everyone knows what their home is being used for,” says Natasha.
“It’s a great time to clear. When are you going to have this time again? Hardware shops are open and you can buy online.
“The hall is very important, it’s a place of transition,” Natasha says. “It should be free, not crowded.
“Clean and clear all idle furniture and accessories from the floors and walls,” she advises. “Then lighten it up. Depending on the size, it could be superb. Add colour or make it neutral; wallpaper or panels.
“To finish, add art and photography in threes. If you don’t like this idea, use totally different frames for photography and mount them on the wall in a grid,” she adds. “I like to have a mirror on one side of the hall and art on the other. Mirrors are good in small spaces also.”
At the moment the communal living room or family room is probably the most used and abused space in the home, while being one of the most important places, especially if you’re living in an apartment.
“A lot of people are having problems adjusting the energy between work and relaxing,” says Natasha.
“You may have to negotiate children, partner, cooking and living in open-plan so zone the space to suit your family and your activities — play, relaxation, work area, pet areas.“Have a living and lounging area, useful for watching TV, reading, relaxing alone or with family, a partner or roommates. This would be the centre of the room with a couch with throws, cushions, a rug under your feet, and candles. Make sure it has that sense of relaxation.
“Other areas could be dining, work, library, kitchen, pets and exercise areas depending on the size of your space and your requirements,” she adds. “If this is the key room or your only room, put your money into this.”
One of Natasha’s top tips is what she calls Subtraction and Addition.
“Subtract any idle furniture, accessories and art that no longer serve your space,” she says. “Add in new furniture, even from other rooms, or order art, accessories and furniture online. For a complete transformation, paint or wallpaper this space to bring your new theme to life.”
Now more than ever dealing with the stresses of a changed world, means a quality night’s sleep is essential for our well-being, and if there’s one must-have it’s a good bed.
“Invest in a bed that is both aesthetically pleasing and comfortable and suitable for your age and space,” Natasha advises.
“Opt for a frame style to suit your overall home and allows for side lockers and lamps for reading and candles at night. A mattress to suit your and/or your partner’s sleeping style is key to a wonderful sleep.
“Keep it serene,” Natasha says. “Remove televisions, phones and technology, while adding blackout curtains, bedding, throws and candles to ensure this space is tech-free for you to relax, unwind to books, music, candles, and enjoy time out. If there is a desk here, make sure to remove the laptop and all gadgets pre-sleeping.”
Reassuringly, the tiniest space can be changed, according to Natasha. “Be brave, clean and clear,” she says.
“Keep it simple and take it room by room. Choose a theme suitable for your personality and your partner’s.
“Review this theme against the overall style of the house. Invest in new wallpaper, paint and bedding. Keep to a budget. You’ll be surprised just by cleaning and refreshing how a room changes.”