What makes a house a home? Is it the sound of kids giggling in the backyard, or is it the delicious aroma of a home cooked meal that greets you like a warm hug? Is it the little finishing touches on your coffee table, or that amazing inviting glow cast by the lamp you simply couldn’t live without?
For me, many things (including all of the above) make a home. One of the easiest ways to turn your house into a home is to bring in your own sense of style with some carefully chosen décor. There is no better way to express your personal style than exhibiting that quirky object d’art collected on your travels, or the crazy heirloom ornament that’s been passed down for generations.
Flicking through the latest issue of Home Beautiful or Country Living while waiting for another painful and expensive root canal appointment I found myself wondering how on earth I could afford the looks I so desperately love – champagne taste and shoestring budget here I’m afraid (especially with the cost of root canal therapy!).
Property styling doesn’t need to be expensive. For those of us that don’t have the champagne budget, I have found a few nifty little tricks to turn our house into a home. I’ve used these on two occasions recently.
Firstly to style our home for sale; we had been living in a gorgeous house that was really too big and too much maintenance for our lifestyle. It was a very unique design. I’d spent the last few years that we lived there trying to bring a sense of quirky style into the place for next to nothing. When the opportunity to sell presented itself, I knew we had to really have the WOW factor – that place was unique and let’s face it, probably not everyone’s cup of tea. In order to style the property to maximise the sale price, I started to trawl through inspiration pages – Pinterest, Instagram, I spent way too many hours on Wayfair, Temple & Webster, Zanui building ideas and the look of the lifestyle I wanted to sell. The sales on these pages were fabulous! I bought cushion sets, side tables and finishing touches for very reasonable prices. They were things I loved which I knew I could use again.
I needed to create little ‘living spaces’ to really sell the dream – this included a lot of outdoor areas that required furnishing. This is where my next hack comes into play – council clean ups, Gumtree, Facebook buy swap sell pages – and generous friends willing to lend me their outdoor settings for a few months! These little dreamy outdoor spaces were finished off with the odd $6 lantern from Bunnings and some outdoor cushions I found at a garage sale. It doesn’t have to cost the earth to sell the dream!
If you are super crafty (sadly, I’m not) there are some real bargains out there – for example today I saw a lovely old oak chest of drawers on the side of the road with a sign saying “free”. It needed some work (actually quite a lot…picture Tara Dennis sanding it back and finishing with black japan and… voila! fabulous unique restoration job done); but if you are capable and have the vision, you can create a piece to treasure for ever.
That property was styled well and really appealed the the buyer…it sold even before it went on the market – we were extremely lucky and thrilled with the result. Which led me to my second property styling adventure…we bought a fairly ordinary and a little bit tired home in an area we were really keen to settle down in. Then came the enormous task of trying to create something unique and appealing about this drab little place. Again, the budget wasn’t huge – but it doesn’t need to be – property styling is about having the ideas and inspiration. This home was going to be a challenge! Again, back I went to websites mentioned above for inspiration and bargains. Careful shopping and clever buys can save you a lot of money. Freedom and Matt Blatt were my go-to’s for this place – look at their warehouses and outlets for big savings. Sometimes there will be a real bargain – I bought a lounge this way – ok it wasn’t the exact colour I wanted, but with the throws and cushions I added, I was able to tie it in beautifully with the room and now have an extremely comfortable and cost effective lounge that looks great.
Everyone knows about it…but whether you love it or hate it – Ikea should always be on your shopping list for property styling. For inspiration, grab the catalogue and flick through those fantastically enticing sets where soft furnishings have been effortlessly thrown together with quirky storage and industrial loft style to create a masterpiece (slightly jealous!!). I love Ikea for ideas – wandering through the store I find myself immersed in those cute little rooms and imagining that I could actually live in a loft apartment with my husband, two kids and a dog because it’s just so cool!! A lot of the furniture at Ikea is incredibly practical – it’s easy to add to once you have a few pieces and extremely easy to add your own style to. On the lounges and armchairs most of the covers are removable and washable, and for a really unique touch head over to bemz.com for some fabulous and not too pricey custom covers for all of your Ikea sofas.
My favourite property styling hack though, for when you are unsure, short of time or just needing some extra inspiration is to call in the experts. The team at Calmnest property styling have got the experience, resources and eye for detail and finishing touches to turn your house into a home. The team can advise on simple furniture placement, custom made furnishings, artworks created or even having your favourite photos printed in funky styles – you name it, they can probably find it! It doesn’t need to be expensive and there are options to suit every budget. The Calm Nest team can help with simple colour consulting right through to renovation and remodelling, styling for sale or turning your house into more than a home…they can help you create a calm and cosy nest.