A lot of my childhood was spent arranging and rearranging stuff. Lugging furniture from one side of my bedroom to the other, or convincing my sister to swap rooms with me altogether. I always felt so contented and chuffed when I was done. I'd assume different vantage points to take it all in, before inviting my family to ogle my work, opening the door as if I was unveiling a new building.
Like most traits honed while young, it’s taken up residence for good. I lap the flat I share with my boyfriend now and survey it for opportunity, considering whether the minimalist walls I admired last week, are actually, self-consciously bare. If our cornflower blue bedroom could do with a border, and how and where I can deposit some vintage chintz. I've learned a lot along the way, some of which, should you be decorating, can hopefully help you, too.
My Instagram bookmark folder has always been interiors heavy, but now even the odd square of pretty-ugly shoes or Cacio e Pepe has been usurped by homes and their wares; pantries with porthole windows; centuries-old bathrooms and attic bedrooms covered in ditsy florals. I’m a nester, and although I love my own space, I love imagining myself in someone else’s even more. Who I’d be, and what I’d get up to. It's a good exercise to work out how you'd like to reconfigure a room. Want to read more? Bookshelves and a sink-in chair. Want to want to work overtime? A sturdy but stylish desk. Some of my most bookmarked posts come from House & Garden. It’s got the mind-boggling beauty of Architectural Digest, but everything feels more attainable - even if it isn’t. Great inspiration nonetheless.
To my mind, this is the most important one. I so often know exactly what I want. I can see it like a mirage in a desert but… I can’t articulate it. I audition every description going, while Google watches me, almost trolling me, generating countless variations on a not-what-I’m-looking-for theme. To not let the omission of a single, unassuming word thwart your design dreams, make a list that you add to when you’re scrolling. Whether on Instagram or on sites such as Vinterior, Selency, Pamono or Chairish, note down designers, eras, styles, and materials. For example, ‘Chippendale chair’ will yield infinitely better results than ‘bamboo-effect criss cross chair’, as will ‘60s mid-century sideboard’, as opposed to ‘orangey wood unit’.
It’s tempting to embark on an overhaul. To usher in a new aesthetic that will speak to your new - for now - creative ardor, but hold fire. Often the most original and compelling rooms are a result of layering over time. The acquisition of an antique chest that actually - cocks head - looks quite charming next to that old IKEA shelf. Trends are a) transient and b) tyrannical, which means that while I still appreciate my Anissa Kermiche Love Handles Vase, seeing it on every other table on every other feed, does make me feel differently about it.
We recently spoke to a bunch of interiors experts who told us where they shop second-hand. They gave both online and physical places, the latter of which are up and down in the country, in yards, fields and chocolate box towns. Heeding their recommendations will steer you away from the high street, and in the direction of sustainable and rarefied pieces with a point of view. In addition try eBay and Etsy, where the aforementioned keywords will come in handy. I've also found some interesting pieces through following the hashtag #antiquedealersofInstagram, which throws up tonnes of independent sellers that I wouldn't have found otherwise.
Don't be afraid to...
2. Ask for more pictures and information - its background and story.
3. Ask to arrange a courier for pieces listed as collection only. How else are you going to get that sink down from Belfast?
4. Ask dealers to arrange a courier. More often than not, they’ll be happy to help and will know just the person for the job.
You may have noticed a trend rearing its head on Instagram. Of staged mise-en-scènes, replete with oddities that moonlight as objets d'art. They range from vases and shells to totem poles and candle sticks, and they're all testament to how small things can enliven a space. Get to Sunbury, ASAP.
Enlisting an interior designer is the stuff that dreams - and bottomless bank accounts - are made of, but as with most things, there’s a democratic way to do it, too. A slew of designers and experts are offering a kind of halfway house. Not only because they don't actually step inside yours, but because while they have The Vision, you’ll be the one implementing it.
Wandering Interiors A freshly launched service offering e-consultations for projects big and small. You’ll be sent fabric swatches and samples, in addition to expertly curated mood boards of hard and soft furnishings.
Prices start from £150
Project Home If you’re stuck on grey (Elephants Breath, specifically) back away from the roller and pick up the phone. Project Home will guide you through the formidable concertina that is paint colours. They also offer a full design service (£300) which will give you access to excellent trade discounts.
Prices start from £80