Blog

Blog

Spring Into Spring

Coffe-Cup-and-notebook

 

Friday was Chinese New Year when we welcomed the year of the Dog. One of the traditions associated with the festival is the cleaning of the home. The grounds, the walls, and every corner of the house need to be cleaned. In Chinese, “Dust” is a homophone for the word “old” (Chen), thus cleaning means to drive the bad luck or the old things away from the house to get ready for a new start.

Springtime is traditionally a time when we all have a thorough clean – having been shut in and hunkered down against the weather over the Winter it’s finally time to open the windows and doors and let in some fresh air. Here are our top tips.

  • Clutter

Image of Packing Boxes ready For Moving House

 

The starting point for any cleaning session is decluttering. Not only is this practical because it makes it easier to clean but it also has a psychological impact. Coming into a cluttered space is very draining. Clutter represents something else and reminds you of something you haven’t done, for example, the ironing, dealing with paperwork or even simply that you haven’t put the ironing away. It therefore installs a feeling of failure in you – a reminder of something you haven’t done. It is easy to feel overwhelmed so tackle it in short stretches, perhaps one drawer at a time, just the bills or set the timer on your phone. Make it fun by putting on some upbeat music and reward yourself with a little treat at the end.

  • Be Prepared 

Image of basin filled with cleaning productsThere is nothing more annoying than planning to do your cleaning only to find that you have run out of a product or tool. So a few days before you planned session check that you have everything you need. This might include some new storage containers to use as part of your declutter.

  • Don’t Forget….

Image of a daisy against a blue sky with caption Time For A  Spring CleanThe Spring Clean is the time to tackle those tasks that you wouldn’t necessarily tackle in your normal cleaning routine. In this we would include :-

Lighting fittings – it’s amazing what difference can be made to the effectiveness of your lighting by simply wiping lighting fittings and light bulbs and dusting or wiping shades.

Windows – again cleaning windows inside and out makes a big difference to the amount of light coming in to a room.

Cleaning cupboards – this is a great opportunity to have a clear whether it is out of date food items or unused kitchen gadgets

Carpets, Rugs and Curtains – If carpets are grubby consider hiring a carpet cleaning machine for a day or even a professional carpet cleaning company. Take rugs outside and give them a good beating (and yourself a great workout at the same time!). Take down curtains and shake outdoors or vacuum and have them dry cleaned/ wash as appropriate. It is the perfect time to swap heavy curtains for lighter ones.

Skirtings – an often neglected area. Dust and wipe clean.

It is a good idea to involve the family in the Spring Clean – young children love helping and older children can be responsible for tidying and cleaning their own rooms. So are you ready?

If you need help give us a call on 07745 876182 e mail on info@homestyle4u.com or complete the Enquiry Form below. We cover Cheshire and the North West. 

Trend Alert – Blush Pink

Coffe-Cup-and-notebook

With Valentines Day next week it seems a perfect time to explore the appeal of this colour trend. Pink has been on the radar for a while now – together with Serenity, Rose Quartz was Pantone® colour of the year in 2016. This year there is lot of this colour on the High Street and it remains very popular in interiors.

Blush is a soft warm shade that combines well with neutral, in particular grey but it also looks good with blue. If Rose Quartz and Serenity are too pale for your taste, pair blush with navy for a stronger look. Blush also softens metallics such cooper, brass and gold.

Make blush a feature wall either with paint or wall paper

Dramatic wallpaper with palm leaves against a blush pink background        Blush pink paint

From the Icons Collection the Palm Leaves print is simple yet striking, This bold print adds a wow to any wall. The Alabaster Pink and Mint colour palette provides an update on retro Miami cool and would combine beautifully with Blush 267 paint from Little Greene. This muted, rosy tone would also combine well with dark colours, to create a stronger statement.

Pick a statement item of furniture 

A striking piece of furniture such as a sofa, armchair or footstool is an easy way to introduce a style update.

shopping

We love the retro feel of this Moby two seater sofa from Made.com in Vintage Pink. Upholstered in velvet it has a luxurious feel and the collection includes a chair and footstool.

Lighting is a also a great way to make a statement.

Wire framed Copper pendant light

This Hugo pendant light from My Furniture with its unique industrial pendant lamp will add a modern touch to any space. It combines sleek, warm toned copper finish with black cable and details. It can be hung either on its own, in multiples or with the Nicolas pendant to create a graphic, eye-catching statement. It comes complete with vintage style, exposed filament bulbs. Great for hanging in a kitchen or over a dining table.

Accent Colour 

Just a touch of this shade can soften a room and there are lots of accessories to choose from. here are just a few of our favourites

Modern vibrant bedding in shades of pinkblue and yellow Based on a fabric design in the  Lohko collection from Scion Tetra is an abstract interpretation of a graphic tree printed onto fabric. The colour palette of mint and hessian gives the bedding a fresh feel as Spring approaches. Accesorise with the Papillo Cushion and throw with their ivory scroll pattern with turquoise stitches on a coral base piped with turquoise from Harlequin. Or the sumptuous mohair magnolia and blossom throw from Sanderson

Coral coloured embroidered cushion and throw

Mohair blanket in pink and grey

 

While you might not immediately consider pink in a kitchen, a splashback combining pink and grey tiles will lift a grey scheme. The Ourika tile at Fired Earth is from the Marrakesh range of traditional Arabesque and Mediterranean designs. A hand made, hand decorated, glazed terracotta tile with uneven edges and an undulating surface.

Glazed tile in mediterranean style Image of tiles in kitchen setting

We hope that you have been inspired by this blog. If you would like to update your interior call us on 07745 876182, e mail us at info@homestyle4u.com or complete the enquiry form below. We cover Cheshire and the North West.

 

 

Interior Hero – The Console Table

Image of coffee cup and notebook

We love a good console table and feel that it is a bit of an unsung hero when it comes to pieces of furniture. When we are thinking of furnishing our homes we immediately think of the key items such as the sofa, dining table and chairs, bed, wardrobes etc but the console table would make another important addition.

Here are just a few ways in which a console table serves a useful purpose as well as being simply decorative.

  • Hallway – in a hallway a console table can act as a focal point. The console can itself be a stunning feature but add a couple of lamps and position a mirror above and it becomes a centre point for what can be an uninspiring space. We love this Park console from Oka.

download

 

A console can also serve as useful storage in a hallway such as as this Forbell console from jossandmain.com.

Three drawer console table with compartments for storage baskets

  • Living/ Dining Room – in an open plan room a console table can be used to separate living and dining areas and zone the space. Especially if the room is large the console serves to break up the space. This striking steel and composite marble console from Alexander & Pearl would be an imposing addition to either a traditional or modern scheme.

Console table with curved steel base and marble top

  •   Bedroom – In a bedroom a console can function as an alternative to a traditional dressing table particularly where space is more limited. We like this silver mirrored console from Pinkerton Mirrors which has two handy drawers. It would look fabulous paired with the classic Philpe Starck for Kartell Louis Ghost chair available at John Lewis. The effect is simple and light and practical at the same time.

2 Drawer silver mirrored console table                   Louis Ghost chair

 

We hope you have found this useful. For further advice on how to style your home whether for living or for sale contact us on 07745 876182 email to info@homestyle4u.com or complete the enquiry form below We cover Cheshire and the North West.

 

 

Let There Be Light

Coffe-Cup-and-notebook

 

How often when you have been looking to move home have you told the estate agent that the property needs to be “light and airy”? It’s a requirement that is on most people’s wish list. Especially at this time of year light is something we all crave. So, if there is an area in your home that feels dark what can you do to to improve the light. First, there are some very simple tips.

  • Never under estimate the impact of decor and lighting. Decorating in light colours and the use of lighting through a combination of ceiling lights, wall lights and table and floor lamps can make a huge difference.
  • Window treatments. Similarly, using light coloured and lightweight fabrics for curtains and blinds can alter the feel of a room. Ensure that the windows are not obscured by having tracks or poles wide enough that they enable curtains to be drawn back fully. Avoid using pelmets or drapes that overhang the window. This maximises the amount of glass through which light can enter.

For more structural options here are a few suggestions.

  • Can windows be replaced with larger ones? Or if the relevant room leads onto a garden, doors whether patio, french or bi-fold will mean extra light. For these options advice will be required on the need for appropriate structural support.
  • Skylights are a very popular option especially with single storey extensions such as for a kitchen/ diner.

Image of open plan kitchen with skylights

 

 

 

 

  • Sun tunnels. Sun tunnels or light tunnels are a great way of introducing light into awkward spaces. They are designed to provide natural light into corridors, stairwells, bathrooms and cupboards, under pitched roofs, where installation of a more traditional roof window is not possible. They use a reflecting tube to direct light to where it is needed.

Before and after images of a light tunnel in a hall

 

  • Glass flooring. If you have a basement one option is to have a glass floor panel or panels. This allows light from the room above to enter the basement. They can be installed internally or externally and for maximum effect are best positioned adjacent to an external light source such as bi fold doors, full length windows or under a roof light.

image of lounge with glass panel in the floor

 

 

 

 

 

Whatever your circumstances there’s a solution to suit. If we can help call us on 07745 876182 e mail info@homestyle4u.com or complete the enquiry form below.

TAKING THAT FIRST STEP

Coffe-Cup-and-notebook

Earlier this week I was listening to Chef Tom Kerridge speaking with Chris Evans about his new tv show and book Lose Weight For Good.Image of Tom Kerridge Book Lose Weight For Good

Now you’re probably wondering what on earth this might have to do with interior design or staging your home for sale. Well, in the interview Tom talked about how he had lost 12 stone – almost half his body weight. He was asked how he gone about it and he and Chris discussed how do you approach a task that seems so daunting – where do you start? Tom explained how the most difficult thing is taking that first step, in his case that first visit to the gym. This is a feeling that will be familiar to anyone who has started any diet but it applies to other areas of our lives as well such as changing a career or job – or….moving house.

It struck me as, I was listening to the interview, that when we contemplate moving or even giving our home a bit of a refresh it can seem overwhelming. In the case of moving there a lot of things to think about, choice of estate agent – when to put the house on the market, choosing a solicitor, organising removals etc. Your thoughts might include whether you might need to do some work to the house (will it be worth it?) and if so what should you do?

If you are planning a refresh your home again you are faced with a number of choices. You may be unsure as to what exactly to do, how to plan the layout, what colours to use to decorate and you may be worried about making an expensive mistake.

All of these things may mean that you hold back from taking that first step and ultimately achieving that next stage of your life whatever that may be. To help with these fears and get you started, I offer an initial consultation where we will chat about your plans, what exactly it is that you want to achieve and I will advise on the options available to you. The cost is £150 and this is redeemable against the cost of a future instruction – a detailed report in the case of staging for sale or a mood board for interior design.

Contact me on 07745 876182 via e mail to info@homestyle4u.com or complete the enquiry form below. I look forward to hearing from you.

 

HOME STAGING – FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Image of coffee cup and notebook

So, it’s a New Year and during that well earned Christmas break you have decided that it’s time to move. Having made your decision, you are motivated  and want to get cracking. You are keen to ensure that your property sells quickly and for the best possible price. This is where home staging comes in and here are the three most frequently asked questions

1. What Exactly is Home Staging?

Home staging is the presentation of your property for sale so that it attracts viewings leading to offers and ultimately a sale. Selling your house is a competitive business and you want your property to stand out from the crowd. Most buyers commence their property search online which means that your photos need to be of high quality and the subject matter i.e. what is shown in those photos, needs to look good. Home staging involves considering issues such as repairs, decor, clutter and purpose plus that all important kerb appeal.

2. What Are The Benefits?

Home staging will encourage potential buyers to view and those viewers will have a good experience when they view. People who view will want to offer and are more likely to offer an acceptable figure. Ultimately, the aim is that it will reduce the length of time your property is on the market and enable you you make that all important move.

3. How Much Does It Cost?

I know this is very important. There is no hard and fast rule, it depends on what actions are required. However, as a rough rule of thumb I would recommend investing between 1% and 2% of your selling price. I will always take into account your budget when advising on what you should do. Remember, home staging is an investment and you would hope that the cost would be reflected in an improved asking price.

Collage of images around estate agent's Sold board

For further information e mail info@homestyle4u.com call 07745 876182 or complete the enquiry form below. I look forward to hearing from you

Interior Design Tips – Here Comes Spring!

images

 

The sun finally made an appearance this week and with it a welcome rise in temperatures. With the sight of snowdrops and daffodils in verges and gardens and the clocks going forward next weekend it was possible to believe that Spring is just around the corner.

It might be a little early to turn off the heating but we can certainly think about emerging from hibernation and brightening our homes. There’s nothing like a bit a yellow to lift the spirits so here are a few suggestions as to how to use it in your home.

Yellow cushion with image of two toucan  I love this  toucan cushion from Scion. Not only is it a lovely cheerful yellow but the birds themselves make me smile. I wonder what they are saying to each other!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A knitted throw is always an easy and inexpensive way of introducing colour and texture to a scheme. it will also keep you warm if the temperatures drop. This throw from Dunelm has a pom pom trim and also comes with the option of a matching cushion. Perfect for the bedroom or your sofaBed dressed with yellow knitted throw and cushion with pom pom trim.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Yellow background fabric with stylistic image of foxglove

This quirky foxglove design fabric in quince colourway is from Missprint. It would make great curtains or cushion covers. For a kitchen, it would look striking as a blind or table runner. The same design also comes as a wallpaper.

hello (2)

 

 

Word art is a simple way to ring the changes, this piece from Next is perfect for a hallway to welcome visitors but would work anywhere in your home

 

 

 

Spring means wildlife and nature and these make make great themes for a freshen up of your decor.

This bee patterned doorstop is part of a range of homewares from designer Sophie Allport and the beehive shape is perfect.                           Beehive shaped doorstop in bee patterned fabric

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My final piece of advice is to add colour with fresh flowers such as daffodils and tulips Jug of Spring flowers

 

If you would like help with refreshening your home for Spring call on 07745 876182 e mail info@homestyle4u.com or complete the contact form below. We cover Cheshire and the North West.

 

 

Staging To Sell – Would You View Your Home?

images

 

I watch a lot of property programmes (call it research) including those aimed at selling houses such as House Doctor, Phil Spencer Secret Agent and Selling Homes. The presenter often asks “why do you think your property hasn’t sold?” to which the response comes “I’ve no idea, I just can’t understand it.”  At this point viewers are probably screaming at their television because it’s patently obvious why the property hasn’t sold e.g. the place is a tip, the decor is dreadful, there are unfinished DIY jobs etc. Sometimes the home owner is aware that there are problems and is then asked “in that case why haven’t you done X, Y or Z?”

An explanation that home owners frequently give in this situation is that whoever buys the property is going to want to do their own thing so there’s no point.  My observations on that are:-

  • There is no excuse for not tidying up and cleaning.
  • Yes the buyers may wish to put their own stamp on a property but in most cases they will intend to live in the property while they make any changes so they want to feel that they can move in and live in the property in the meantime. A clean property that has been given a fresh coat of paint and maybe a new carpet gives that feeling.
  • Unfinished jobs, even minor ones, cause lead buyers to worry that there are more serious problems to be discovered and put them off.

Often very simple, and inexpensive changes can make a big difference to the appeal of your property making it easier to sell and achieving a better selling price. Our advice service is a cost effective way of learning exactly what you need to do, read more HERE.

 

 

So if you are thinking of selling, or have been on the market for a while but not sold – ask yourself the question “If I was looking to move would I view my home?” and give an honest answer. If you need help call on 07745 876182 e mail us at info@homestyle4u.com   or complete the enquiry form below. We cover Cheshire and the North West.

Interior Design – The Role of the Interior Designer

images

 

I recently enjoyed watching The Great Interior Design Challenge  on BBC Two. Some of the episodes got me thinking about the perennial question – to what extent should the designer take on board his or her client’s views? Some of the candidates in the series were totally committed to their design whereas others seemed more open to adapting their design to take account of the client’s feedback.

The process begins with the client’s Brief . The designer needs to listen to the client and understand their wishes. They then need to interpret the Brief and they will bring their design influences and style to their design. The designer then presents their design to the client. As the series demonstrates, the presentation is a very important element of the process and the candidates were judged on their presentation skills.

What was interesting was to see how the different candidates dealt with the feedback from the client and how they handled and any objections. Should the designer stick with their original design or should they make the changes that the client asks for even when they believe that it will undermine the finished result?

For me, communication skills are vital. The designer needs to establish a rapport with the client, demonstrate that they have listened to and understood the client and built up trust. The designer needs to have confidence in their design and be able to communicate that confidence – “trust me, I know what I am doing and I believe that you will love the finished result.” If the client insists that they do not want an element of the design is there a way of taking on board the client’s concerns without spoiling the vision?

At one extreme the designer can say “this is my style this is my design” and at the other the designer can accommodate all the client’s views. I certainly believe that a good designer should take the client out of his or her comfort zone, part of the role is to come up with ideas that the client would have thought of themselves but at the end of the day you want the client to have a room that they love. What would you want if you employed an Interior Designer?

The Great Interior Design Challenge

If you are looking for Interior Design inspiration call now on 07745 876172 email at info@homestyle4u.com or complete the Enquiry Form below. We cover Cheshire & the North West.

NEW YEAR – NEW HOME?

images

 

 

Well Christmas and New Year are behind us and perhaps moving house is among your plans for 2017. If so you might be wondering whether now is a good time to put your house on the market or should you wait until the Spring? I say go for it and here’s why.

1. The whole process of moving has changed. Whereas previously it might have been the case that there were certain times of year when the market was quiet, these days that is less the case. In part this is because people are more mobile in terms of changing jobs and more willing to re-locate for work. House hunting has been made much easier thanks to the internet so it is easier for people to do their research. Generally society is faster paced.

2. If it is the case that there are fewer properties launching at this time of the year, then that is a great opportunity to steal a march on your neighbours because lower supply increases your chances of selling.

3. It is certainly true that the weather can be less conducive to out viewing but this can mean that those who are out viewing are serious about buying.

All this means that now is great time to sell. Make the most of the opportunity by making sure that your property is presented to its best. Our home staging service gives you the tools to do just this. Click on the link to read more.

Call now on 07745 876182 email info@homestyle4u.com or complete the contact form below. We cover Cheshire and the North West

 

 

SELLING YOUR HOME – DO YOUR NEED HELP?

SELLING YOUR HOME – DO YOUR NEED HELP?

When we sell we all want to maximise our selling price and usually sell as quickly as possible. Our home is our biggest asset so it makes sense to maximise its potential. Presenting your home to its best advantage is key to achieving these objectives. However, sometimes we get a bit lost when it comes to presentation. Here are two common scenarios.

You may be aware that presentation is important or even know that your home isn’t looking its best, but aren’t sure what you need to do. Perhaps you have painted everything magnolia as you have heard that your decor should be neutral.

Your home has been on the market for a while but not attracted many viewings or any offers and you may be scratching your head as to why this is. In this scenario, presentation could be an issue but you aren’t aware of it. This often happens because we like our homes, they are decorated to our taste and laid out to suit or lives. The problem is that your taste and your lifestyle might not be the same as that of your potential buyers.

In each of these situations our advice service is a cost effective option giving you the tools to do what you need to do.

Our verbal advice option involves a visit to your home with room by room analysis of any issues and solutions. This includes the exterior spaces of the property. We go round together and you make notes which you then implement. This costs £250.

Our written advice option is an extension of the verbal option and has the addition of a written report detailing the room by room analysis and solutions. This costs £400.

So if you are someone who is pro active and happy to get stuck in these are the perfect solution.

Ring now on 07745 876182 to book a consultation. Alternatively, e mail info@homestyle4u.com or complete the enquiry form below. We cover Cheshire and the North West.

 

 

 

Interior Design – Tips For Preparing Your Home For Autumn

Interior Design – Tips For Preparing Your Home For Autumn

This last week has seen some perfect Autumn weather – a slight nip in the air and some lovely sunshine. If you are like me you may have been thinking if it is time to put the heating on (the answer is not yet but I have used the hot water bottle! At times like these we think about how we can create the right feeling in our home – the feeling of warmth and cosiness, that we are snug and cocooned.

lounge-7

 

 

Here are a few easy tips on how to create that feeling.

Colour

A good starting point is to look at the colours of nature. Take a walk in the countryside and take inspiration from the beautiful rusts, greens, gold and reds of the changing leaves. Alternatively, think of the jewel colours such as purple, cerise and turquoise. I like the Atmosphere range of fabrics and wallpapers from Jane Churchill which covers a broad spectrum from gold, copper to teal and purple.

 

Texture

I frequently talk about using texture to create the right ambience in a space. In the cooler weather and with the nights drawing in you want textures that are cosy and will keep you warm and that you can snuggle up with. Wool, velvet and faux fur are perfect for this, they are very tactile and you want to stroke them. A large sheepskin rug is perfect for this and can also be used as a throw over a chair.

Image of a sheepskin rug in a living room

 

 

 

 

Furniture

Ybalmoral-lifestylesou want seating that you can curl up in so now may be a good time to consider investing in a new sofa or perhaps a love seat. I love this Balmoral sofa from Heal’s. It’s covered in Varese velvet in Alchemilla by Designers Guild.

 

 

 

Accessories

Accessories are a perfect way to create the right mood and the good news is they needn’t cost a fortune! Pile up the cushions and add throws but also consider lighting. Use layers of lighting particularly table lamps and uplighters to create a softer feel. Swapping a lampshade to one in a different colour gives a completely different look.

Light scented candles and if you have an open fire or log burner now is the right time to light it. Add a basket of logs for a rustic feel.

If you need help creating the right atmosphere in your home this Autumn call now on 07745 876182 e mail us at info@homestyle4.com or complete the contact form below. We cover Cheshire & the North West and we are here to help.

Interior Design – Autumn Trend Paisley

Interior Design – Autumn Trend Paisley

The word ‘paisley’ is known as the name of the teardrop or tadpole shape pattern, used in fashion and across a wide range of everyday domestic goods and gift items. The Paisley Pattern can be traced back to the Indo-European cultures of 2,000 and more years ago. In Britain the pattern is represented in Celtic art, which died out in Europe under the influence of the Roman Empire. In India the motif was first used on shawls in the Indian province of Kashmir, and introduced into Britain by the East India Company in the mid 18th century.

In recent times the image of the paisley design has perhaps been seen as rather old fashioned but it is making a come back both in its traditional folk guise and a more modern twist.  Here are a just a few of my favorite picks

Image of room with footstool covered in paisley patterned fabric

Paisley design fabric in coral colour

The parmir fabric by Nina Campbell is a contemporary take on the traditional tear drop design and comes in four colourways. I love the coral colour which would look great pared with grey. It shown as upholstery on the universal footstool at Multiyork.

 

 

bohemian-printed-hand-towel-matalan This bohemian patterned towel from Matalan represents the folk vibe and the burgundy and navy colours are perfect for Autumn. I can never resist adding to my collection of towels, if you have a plain bath towel then using a patterned hand or guest towel is a very easy and cheap way of making a change

 

 

 

 

 

 

butterfly-cushion-patrick-moriarty

 

 

 

This butterfly interpretation of the paisley design by Patrick Moriarty is so pretty and continues the trend for butterflies and other insect life in interiors that we have seen for a while now. I also like the blue/ grey colourway

 

 

 

 

 

Paisley patterned wallpaper in turquoise and yellow   The Rajapur design wallpaper from Cole & Son comes in a 11 colourways. This striking turquoise would make a great feature wall or a more neutral shade could be used in a whole room. Codes 66 – 5035 and 66-5039.

Paisley design wallpaper in neutral

 

 

 

 

 

 

I love the teardrop shape bowls by ceramacist Tina Vlassopulos. The large version is £80 and the small £25.They loo36cm x 26cm x 9cm Hk good as a fruit bowl as shown but are stunning on their own.

 

 

 

 

 

I have really enjoyed exploring this trend and it has given me a fresh insight into this design. If you would like advice on any aspect of how to create the interior of your dreams contact us now on 07745 876182 or e mail us on info@homestyle4u.com or complete the contact form below. We cover Cheshire and the North West

Interior Design – Autumn Tidy

Autumn is upon us and it’s the time of year when the garden is beginning to look untidy. The summer flowers are beginning to die off and things generally are beginning to look a bit straggly. Here are just a few tips.

Now is a great time to get out in the garden and spruce up your outside space whilst enjoying the last of the sunshine. Start by cutting the grass. It may be obvious, but it is amazing what a difference mowing the lawn makes – just like having a haircut! Don’t forget to go round with the edging shears to tidy up the edges.

Deadhead. Removing the flower heads that are past their best makes the plant look neater and encourages new flowers.

Clear out hanging baskets and pots, including compost and fill with fresh compost and plants. Winter flowering pansies give great colour whether it’s a complete mix or from one colour palette. I also love cyclamen which look good on their own or combined with heathers. Include some foliage such as ivy or, for something different, create a display purely from foliage plants.

It’s important to give your property some kerb appeal both for your own pleasure or when you are selling to appeal to buyers. Pots positioned either side of the entrance always look good but if they are past their best then they detract rather than enhance so replace. Pretty hanging baskets add colour but again need to be maintained. Replace summer bedding such as petunias and geraniums with winter flowering pansies and cyclamen.

I always think that the exterior of your property is just as important as the interior and you can’t consider the two in isolation, together they make a whole. For advice on all aspects of interior design contact us now on 07745 876182 or e mail info@homestyle4u.com or complete the contact form below. We cover Cheshire and the North West.

 

 

INTERIOR DESIGN – THE DOWNSIZING DILEMMA

Watching Phil Spencer struggling with buyer Margot in last week’s episode of Location, Location, Location (watch here) got me thinking about the dilemma that faces people looking to downsize. I’ve conducted many house viewings over the years and the episode illustrated my experience – many downsizers simply aren’t ready to downsize. So here are a few tips if you are facing a downsize for whatever reason.

Mindset

In my opinion, this is probably the most important aspect. Frequently, buyers present as downsizers, and this may be their intention, but when it comes to viewing properties they say the property or the rooms are too small. I think this stems from the fact that the buyers have not considered the implications of downsizing sufficiently or at all. Often buyers want fewer rooms but still want the large rooms that they are used to. When they start house hunting they find that the proportions of the properties with fewer rooms are smaller. So if you are planning to downsize then do take the time to do your research and prepare. When looking at properties on the internet pay attention to the dimensions of the rooms. Ask yourself “am I ready to downsize?”

Declutter

If you are downsizing then it is inevitable that you will need to declutter so start early. Read details of our decluttering service here. Decluttering also helps with the move because when your home goes on the market it will make your property appear more spacious, and there is less to move! Not strictly a point about decluttering, but if you are downsizing you may need to replace certain items of furniture such as sofas, dining suites or beds, be prepared for this. I often hear people dismiss a property because a piece of furniture won’t fit. Only you can determine how important an item of furniture but at least be open to the idea of replacing it.

Multi – Purpose Furniture

Following on from the last point, as the property you buy may have less storage than your current home be on the look for furniture that can serve more than one purpose. For example, if you have fewer bedrooms but still want to have guests to stay can you have a sofa bed in the living room or a study. Divan beds are a good option and if you have items that you will only access infrequently I like the ottoman style where the top opens rather than drawers since they hold more. Footstools that serve as extra seating, a surface to put a tray on and which open to provide storage are another great option.

If you are looking to downsize, for whatever reason, I can help. Cal now on 07745 876182 or e mail info@homestyle4u.com or complete the enquiry form below. We cover Cheshire and the North West.

 

 

SELLING YOUR HOME – STAGING ON A ON A BUDGET – PART 1

 

Selling On A Budget

One question I am often asked when I talk about staging a property for sale is “how much does it cost?”. People worry that it is expensive and they may also query the benefit when they are leaving the property and may therefore not get to enjoy the results themselves.

Firstly, you should regard any expenditure as an investment rather than a cost, whether that investment is reflected in the speed of sale or the sale price. What the cost will be in any particular case will depend on what needs doing and your budget. Secondly, the cost is likely to be less than the amount of your first price reduction. Yes, if your budget is restricted it is definitely worth staging, this blog is the first of two on the subject of staging on a budget.

What Are The Most Important Things To Do?
Here are my top four tips which are very effective and need cost very little.
1. Clean – it may seem obvious, but to impress viewers your house needs to be spotless (even though theirs might not be!) It requires little other than some elbow grease and a collection of cleaning products from the local supermarket. Focus on the kitchen and bathroom. If you are not a fan of housework I recommend employing a professional cleaning company to give your property a deep clean, including carpets. You can then have them come in at weekly intervals say or introduce your own cleaning routine. Having undertaken the initial deep clean it makes it easier to keep on top of cleaning thereafter, have a rota.
2. Clutter – after cleanliness I think clutter is the second most important element. Clutter makes a room appear smaller than it is and it can be distracting. Buyers often can’t visualise so they may dismiss your home as being too small. Clutter also sends the message that you do not have enough storage. It can be off putting if your buyers don’t share the same taste as you, it makes it more
difficult for buyers to picture themselves living in your property. There are more tips on decluttering in the E Book which you can download from the website.
3. Maintenance – When you have lived in a property for a while it becomes easy to overlook the things that need doing – the dripping tap, the kitchen cupboard door that doesn’t shut etc. The point is that even though these may be very small items of disrepair which can be fixed in a very short period of time it gives an overall impression that the property is neglected. Buyers will worry what else needs doing and that there are bigger issues. Go round your home with a fine tooth comb and make a list of all the repairs and maintenance items that need doing and do them!
4. Decorate – Sellers often make the mistake of thinking that because buyers are likely to decorate then there is no point doing it themselves. Yes buyers will very likely want to put their own stamp on a property and do their own decorating but they may not want to do it straight away A property that is freshly decorated in a neutral shade will appeal to buyers.

In the next blog I will offer tips on where to go for any furniture, accessories that you might need.
There is always a reason for moving and staging helps you achieve your goal.

Contact me now via e mail at info@homestyle4u.com, call us on 07745 876182 or complete the enquiry form below. I cover Cheshire and the North West

HomeStaging – Selling Your Home In The Summer

 

The holiday season has arrived – schools have broken up and people are going off on holiday. So you might be thinking that there is no point in putting your house on the market or, if you are already on the market, that no one will be viewing. Well you’d be surprised – August is a great time to sell read here to find out why.

And if the property market does go a little quieter then that’s great too. Why? might you ask, it seems counter intuitive. The answer is preparation. It is a fantastic opportunity to take stock. If you are thinking of selling you can get ready for a big launch in September. If you are already on the market you can review what has been happening and plan for the next phase. Here’s how.

Not Yet On the Market?

Is your property absolutely ready to launch?  Is it ready for the photos and ready to welcome the viewers? Here are my top tips for being photo and viewing ready.

1. Clean – it may seem obvious, but to impress viewers your house needs to be spotless (even though theirs might not be!) If you are not a fan of housework I recommend employing a professional cleaning company to give it a deep clean including carpets. You can then have them come in at weekly intervals say or introduce your own cleaning routine. Having undertaken the initial deep clean it makes it easier to keep on top of cleaning thereafter.

2. Clutter – after cleanliness I think clutter is the second most important element. Clutter is not only distracting but it makes a room appear smaller than it is. Buyers often can’t visualise so they may dismiss your home as being too small. Clutter also sends the message that you do not have enough storage. It can be off putting if your buyers don’t share the same taste as you, it makes it difficult for buyers to picture themselves living in your property.

3. Decorate – yes buyers will very well want to put their own stamp on a property and do their own decorating but they may not want to do it straight away. A property that is freshly decorated in a neutral shade will appeal to buyers.

Already On The Market But Not Yet Sold?

Has your property been on the market for a while and not received any offers or had many viewings? Then it’s time for a re-think. Have an honest discussion with your estate agent, what has the feedback been? Encourage your agent to seek and give honest feedback, often viewers are too polite to say what they think particularly if presentation is an issue. Consider presentation, could it be an issue? Give me a call, I would be happy to come out and tell you if I think it is and what you can do about it.

For more tips download the free e book by clicking on the image 

If you are thinking of selling or your sale is stuck contact us now on 07745 876182 e mail info@homestyle4u.com or complete the enquiry form below, we’d love to help. We cover Cheshire and the North West.

Interior Design – The Importance of Scent

IMG_0389  IMG_0391  IMG_0388

Last week I was on holiday staying with a friend. One day was spent helping in the garden. I was dead heading roses, which got me thinking about scent (or aroma, perfume – whatever phrase you like to use) and its role in our homes. Scent is incredibly important in any context and this includes our homes. It is very evocative and can have powerful associations – to loved ones, events or places through our sub conscious. It can also  affect how we feel.

When creating our home we may want to evoke these happy memories or create a certain mood, either in our home as a whole or in particular rooms such as bedrooms and bathrooms. There are various ways of introducing scent. There are plugins, room sprays, diffusers and scented candles. One of the best ways of course is flowers and roses are one of the most well known. Lilies have a very strong perfume which can be overpowering and have of course historically been associated with funerals. I like freesia which are a very delicate flower but have a beautiful scent. Apart from scent, flowers have the advantage of introducing greenery into the home which is beneficial to health.

Don’t forget the importance of scent or aroma when selling your home either. An unpleasant aroma such as from nicotine,damp or pets can be extremely unpleasant and put off potential buyers. It is also one of those things that sellers may not be aware of because they are accustomed to it. A pleasant smell on the other hand can be positive and it can be as simple as opening doors and windows to allow fresh air to circulate. A strong odour of cleaning products lets buyers know your house is clean but tends to be clinical. I personally am not a fan of plugins or diffusers because they can be overpowering and aren’t natural. Beware, too strong a scent can lead buyers to wonder what you are trying to mask so keep it subtle!

Whatever your preference, scent is an important element in creating the right environment whether for your dream home or sale. For more advice, call us on 07745 876182, e mail to info@homestyle4u.com or complete the enquiry form below. We cover Cheshire and the North West

 

Interior Design – Welcome to the She Shed

Image of a she shed with interior decorated in pastel and comfy sofa

 

We are probably all familiar with the concept of the man cave – the shed at the bottom of the garden or perhaps a room in the house that the male of the species disappears to, often for hours at a time, and often just when he is needed to carry out some task. Well recently we have seen the emergence of the female equivalent – the she shed. According to the consumer organisation Which?® there has been a 12 fold increase in the number of such sheds in the last three years.

Figures show that sales of sheds have gone up 50% so far this year. So what is the she shed all about? There seem to be two reasons why women are buying into this concept. One reason is having somewhere to escape to. We lead increasingly busy lives and find it difficult to switch off, a shed is a place where you can go if you want to just have a bit of time to yourself and this is true equally for men and women. It may also be linked to the tendency for open plan living such as the kitchen/ diner. These are great family spaces but this perhaps comes at the cost of fewer rooms that give us privacy.

The second reason is the growth of the home office. 4.2 million people work from home, one third of whom are women. Women are increasingly working at home whether that is to have a better work/ life balance or because they are running their own businesses. We tend to struggle with space in our homes and simply may not have enough room to have a separate office or even workable office space. Having a she shed that works or doubles as a home office could be a much cheaper alternative than moving house.

In each case having that separation between the home and the relaxation/ work space that a shed provides, even if that only involves walking a few steps, can make a big difference to how it feels and how successfully it works whatever its function.

So what does the she shed need to have/ be? The short answer is whatever you want it to. On a practical note, double glazing and underfloor heating mean that your shed will be usable all year round. For me, I would say it should feel like a home rather than a shed so give free rein to your feminine side.  I love the examples below which all have a soft and possibly vintage style. It definitely needs to have comfortable seating, preferably a sofa or daybed but if the space is small a couple of cane chairs and side table are really all you need for an bolt hole. It should have facilities for you to make tea and coffee, maybe a little fridge. You want a desk if it is intended to function as an office or a small writing table. Furnish with lots of cushions and throws and pretty curtains at the windows. The essence of the shed is that it is a personal space so fill it with the things that give you pleasure.

If you would like help creating your very own she shed call now on 07745 876182 e mail to info@homestyle4u.com or complete the enquiry form below. We help people across Cheshire and the North West. 

 

 

she shed 7

Image of the interior of shed furnished with settee and chairInterior of shed with desk and chair

 

 

Interior Design – Form & Texture

Montage of images of textural plants

 

Hang on am I in the right place? – You might be wondering why all the images of plants in a blog about interior design. Well I’ve just returned from a trip to the beautiful St Mawes in Cornwall. During my holiday I was able to visit some of the lovely gardens notably Trebah, Heligan and The Eden Project. Owing to the climate, (and the technology of the biomes in the case of the Eden Project) these gardens are able to grow plants that we can’t grow further North. Some of the plants are large (gunnera manicata – top left), structural (agave – bottom right), have unusual textures (cork – centre) and they definitely have the “wow factor” which got me thinking.

When we decorate our homes we want them to be interesting. There are a number of ways of doing this – bold colour,statement wallpaper, artwork, furniture – these are just a few. Another is through the use of Form and Texture. Adding different textures creates interest but allows you to use a restricted colour palette, a famous example of this is the White Garden at Sissinghurst  in Kent. Incorporate different materials – wood, glass, metal or velvet, fur or silk for cushions. How often have you been in a shop and found yourself stroking a surface or a item such as a throw or cushion. Bizarre as it may sound, when I renovated my current home I actually found myself stroking the freshly skimmed plaster it was so smooth!

Just as you might have architectural plants in a garden, it’s important to have form i.e. statement pieces in your home. These do not necessarily need to be large although a large piece can be used as a focal point in a room that otherwise lacks one. This could be an item of furniture. a piece of artwork, a lamp. One idea is a large houseplant such as a ficus or palm. It’s important to have greenery in your home, so a large houseplant not only gives form to a scheme but brings a touch of outdoors in.

If you would like help to introduce form and texture to your home, or with any other aspect of creating your dream home the contact us. Call on 07745 876182, e mail at info@homestyle4u.com or complete the enquiry form below. We cover Cheshire and the North West. We are here to help.

 

 

Homestyle 4U