It’s been a long time since I blogged last, and for that I apologise. In the run-up to Christmas, things have been a bit hectic – but also, we’ve been busy making our new flat a home, and debuting the flat to friends and family. And in this process, I have been exposed to an area of fashion I was hitherto more or less unaware of: home decorating. In a way, this is ignorant of me because like the clothes that we wear, the environment in which we (theoretically) spend the most time in, and is meant to be our sanctuary, should be a place which speaks on who we are. It should have an attitude and an atmosphere unique to its inhabitant. And how does one achieve this on a budget?
I’m only just starting to learn, but my mother used to work in a gift shop and bring home interesting ornaments and pieces of furniture quite often. I never realised how expensive furniture can be: a decent coffee table can easily cost £300! But after two months, I feel that Toby and I are starting to make headway in taking a comfortable but identikit flat into a home particular to us. It probably helps that Toby’s and my senses of style and tastes are quite different, and so mashing the two together creates quite an interesting effect. Two of the few arguments we have ever had as a couple have taken place in Habitat, after all! I was quite adamant (and snobbish – but hey) that I didn’t want IKEA furniture, as it is flimsy and often looks tacky. And yet, we have ended up with an IKEA coffee table, bookcase and shelving unit. And guess what? They look quite nice! (as well as doing the trick) :
This is the Expendit 4×4 unit in a walnut colour, and I love the fact that it doesn’t look like a typical set of shelves. The squares give it some character – although it means that DVDs need to be stacked awkwardly in order to be stacked efficiently. I’ve used some coffee table books as display items, and on the top is Toby’s lava lamp (which I originally protested against, but have learned to like as it brings a quirky air to the wall), a Mariah Carey Merry Christmas II You box set, the découpage A&T that Claire made us for our housewarming, and a large framed poster of Georgia May Jagger from the Chanel exhibition I went to last month. All of this has served to personalise a shelving unit. We also grabbed a couple of scrummy throws from IKEA to make the sofa more snuggly and to hide some of the dull brown colour.
My goal is to create a home that is stylish and comfortable – and I’ve got coasters, a table runner and a soap dispenser arriving from Zara Home next week. I’m trying to choose pieces that tie in together without overly matching. For example:
They are natural, and the textures they possess are interesting – and yet, they are different colours. I’m going for a natural feel with little splashes of colour here and there. But I’m also trying to choose things that can be mixed and matched with one another; and that also will last longer than 5 minutes. I am enjoying inviting friends and family round, because I want them to feel at home so that hopefully they will come back and drop in to say hi in the future! We’ve made lots of coffees and teas for visitors, and Toby has cooked some fabulous brunches – here’s to many more! It’s important to me that guests feel comfortable – that it’s a chic and inviting place that still feels like real people live in it, rather than like a showhome. So I am making sure that I’m not being too deliberate or fanatical with matching everything up, or having everything placed precisely. Because Toby and I are real people, and real people do not live perfectly, without leaving a trace. A home would not feel homely if it were too perfect.
As we’re going away to Bristol and Peterborough for Christmas, we also put up the Christmas tree (my mini white one from Earls Court last year) and Toby bought some fairy lights for the shelves, to which I then added my Mariah Carey Christmas butterfly. Et voilà:
Very festive! What I’m hoping to acquire in the near future are some vases and flowers, to bring some natural life and beauty to the ambience of the flat. I am taking some inspiration from this picture of one of Rihanna’s dressing rooms on her recent 777 tour:
I love the natural colours (both light and dark), the various sources of lighting, the teaming of the rug and table runner, and the vase with the white roses (I think they are roses) in the corner. It’s sophisticated, chilled and soothing – exactly the kind of atmosphere I want to take refuge in after a hard day’s work / shopping. I believe that with our current flat and decorating ambitions, it’s the kind of ambience we too can achieve in the new flat.