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Make your property feel homely!

I was recently reading an article about 4 friends who decided to buy a property between them, as individually they did not feel they could get on the property ladder. They went for a shared ownership property and entered the property ladder waaaaay ahead of their friends who had to wait much longer to buy on their own. But with little left over to make any purchases of "investment pieces" after they moved in, the friends used their creativity to turn their new 4-bed property into a home for all. Renting times were behind them. The beauty of shared ownership living is that everyone brings a bit of themselves into the decorating, with second-hand finds and hand-me-downs being the décor of choice.

Shared Ownership is making it easier for first time buyers to finally own a place in London. No more renting means it’s up to you how your new home looks and you can put those DIY and interior design skills into practice at last. I am very excited to be working with a leading provider of shared ownership, L&Q, on this feature, about ideas on how to make a house a home - affordable ideas that everyone can get on board with.

So here are a few handy tips to consider to make sure you turn your new property into into a homely place effortlessly and without spending too much. Be sure to check with everyone you're sharing with, especially before transforming the common spaces, to ensure that the result is considering everyone needs and likes.

Should I paint before I move in?


The easiest way to put your stamp on the new property is to paint it in the colours that represent you and your style. From whites, for a Scandinavian cool living, to the dark hues of industrial style, painting your new home can be great fun (you can even throw a paint party, but careful who you invite!) and here are a few things to consider first.

A lot of people take advantage of the empty space and paint a new home before moving in. This of course makes a lot of sense because you do not have to move or cover any of the furniture; there is less mess to be made. However, and this is the important bit, painting your home after you've moved also makes a big difference: once the furniture and carpets are in place, the place already has a number of colours that you need to carefully consider, if you want your rooms to look cohesive and create a flow from one room to the next.

You want the colour that best complements your upholstery, artwork, rugs. You can pick that color only if your stuff is actually inside your home.

If you have little furniture or art to work with, then how about creating a mood board where you can place photos of the furniture/art you are likely to buy in the future, to test how they will work with the colour scheme you have chosen. That way, you will not have to repeat the painting process after a couple of years just because that sofa seems to be completely out of place (my own experience, found out the hard way!). Get a few Pinterest Boards going for each room, where you and your friends can all contribute. Getting everyone involved in the process makes for a happy home!

Gallery walls


A great way to make your property feel more homely: a gallery wall with photos of your loved ones, mixed with artwork. Choose a theme (for example black and white) and follow it consistently if you want to achieve a more sophisticated look. If your style is more casual mix it all in like in the example below! And it doesn't matter if your original photo was taken in colour; most online printing companies offer filters so you can easily turn your photos B&W or into artwork (even Andy Warhol style!).

Above left: The frames and colours of the photos are coordinated so the black and white theme creates a consistency that is relaxing and simple. Above right: If you are not certain you can keep a straight line when hanging too many frames, try frame rails instead. IKEA has a great collection (£4.50 - £7.90) in black or white and you can just prop the pictures on them instead.

Oh Wallpaper


I sympathise with home owners who just love wallpaper but are intimidated by its "permanent" factor. Wallpaper is not permanent, strictly speaking, but is quite hard to remove and if you are not careful you could end up removing plaster as well.

Fear not, for now there are a number of removable wallpaper options. You can create theme walls behind your bed or in one of your walls behind a sofa or next to a dining table for that extra oomph!

Polaroids + Washi Tape


In a home full of creativity, artwork and beautiful objects need to be on display. A clever solution is to use washi tape or string of fairy lights to hang up some Polaroids. Why not create a feature wall with Polaroids showing the move and the transformation of your new property into a Home. Mix this with inspiring typography print outs for a fab result.

Furniture hand-me-downs


Well if you are going to be sharing, it's very likely you're all bringing some furniture with you. And if you don't have any, ask your friends and family if they have spare chairs or tables to give away. For, like, FREE, obviously! Add chalk paint on mismatched chairs for a vintage look that will be more chic than shabby! You have two options here: paint similar chairs in a different colour or paint mismatched chairs in the same colour.

Have fun & enjoy the process


Congratulations! You're on the ladder - now just sit back and enjoy your accomplishment. I know you may feel like you want to have a place finished within days of moving in, but, you know what? TAKE YOUR TIME. Enjoy decorating your new home over time. Less rush decisions means happier tenants. And stay tuned on this blog to make sure you get up to date news for trends and offers!


This post is sponsored by L&Q. All interiors advice, as always, my own!

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