Clever storage solutions
Good storage space can be hard to come by in city homes – even in some country houses! – but it’s especially tricky to find in flats. Most people, even if they’re not the collector type, need a decent amount of space to pack their items away, so clever storage solutions can make an enormous difference.
In any home, but particularly in apartments where you have to be extra savvy with space, go through it and think carefully about what unused spaces you might be able to use for storage. If you’re doing a renovation, walk the builder through the rooms and, together, consider where you may be able to repurpose space for a new storage nook.
For those with stairs, creating – or indeed improving – cupboard space underneath is an obvious one. Another common cupboard add-on is built-in seating underneath windows. We also love high shelving near the ceiling. A great decorative element for items you want to display or, if you’re an avid reader, more space to store books! If you love having your shoes on display (like me!) then including moulding in your walls where you can hang your high heels is also a good option. In general, walls or, even better, the backs of doors, can be used to hang clothing or laundry bags.
Talking about hanging, for the avid cyclist, you probably think your bike is a piece of art anyway, so why not hang it on the wall or from the ceiling – it’ll be a great reminder to go out and train!
Entertaining at home
Being able to invite people round is, for many of us, one of the joys of having your own place. Whether you’re entertaining friends, family, a boss, potential clients, or a potential partner, it’s good to think about how you will do it. What’s your style? What will you need to host with confidence? What will help ensure that you can provide an enjoyable, relaxing time not only for your guests, but for you as well?
Consider your entertaining-at-home style. Do you like standing by the stove and showing your cooking skills while your guests sit and sip wine? A centre island with an extractor would be ideal – it doesn’t block your view and it’s a beautiful piece in itself.
Maybe you like taking your guests to a sofa area and relaxing after the meal; an L-shaped sofa is great for this but if one side is very short these become less efficient. Depending on your space, it might be worth having armchairs as well as a sofa so you can play around with the configuration.
Top tip: little high side tables by armchairs and sofas are ideal for nibbles as well as for guests to put their glasses down on, saving them leaning back and forth across the room or having to put their glass down on the floor, at risk of getting kicked over.
Sense of luxury
When decorating your home, whether to impress others or to create a lovely atmosphere for you, it’s good to have distinctive items that show your style and individuality. Each of us has something which makes us unique, which makes us ‘us’. Your home should tell your story, show who you are and, by extension, be a potential talking point for when people come into your home. Bookshelves, for example, can be not only a place to store your collection, but to reveal what you enjoy reading and spark a good conversation. A person’s books are also a great way to get a sense of who they are – and to quickly find out if they’re just used as artful decoration!
Pieces of art are another way to show your style and personality, to spark a conversation and to really finish a room design-wise. We love incorporating art into our interior designs. Other ways to put yourself into your room is through your hobbies. If you love flying, for example, an antique set of propellers is great. Or if you’re someone who loves to travel, photographs of your adventures are a good way to make your space ‘you’. Ultimately, it’s about putting yourself into your home.
After the party comes the downtime. Your home can be a showcase to impress, but it also has to be a calming place where you can unwind. To increase the sense of tranquillity, natural materials like wood, brick and wool, and elements like fire and water can give you comfort. An open fire creates an incredibly relaxing atmosphere but even just having candles around can create a peaceful mood. I especially love P.F. Candles.
Read here how to get the rest of the lighting in the room right! I also love incense cone holders where the flow of the smoke goes backwards, like a waterfall that flows backwards. It’s incredibly calming to watch.
Lastly, water. Have you ever wondered why the beach is so relaxing? Seeing or hearing water triggers a response in our brain that induces a flood of neurochemicals which, in turn, induces relaxation. For an urban flat, where ponds just aren’t an option, small water features not only give the benefit of flowing water but are works of art in and of themselves. I have this little water feature at my desk.
Last but not least, live plants! Greenery helps to liven and freshen up the space as well as bring in a bit of nature in – especially nice if you don’t have a garden. If you are a complete novice, start with an easy-to-care-for plant like a cactus, which needs very little water. Then gradually work up to larger plants which need more tending. I absolutely love Patch; it has beautiful plants and guides you in both the buying and plant caring process. Plants are not just beautiful to look at, they reduce airborne dust levels, some reduce air pollution, and all increase oxygen levels – win win!
I hope these flat renovation tips have helped spark some ideas for refreshing your apartment or even just slightly improving things by adding or changing little bits here and there. We do, of course, have plenty more ideas, and no home is the same, so if you would like a bespoke consultation, give us a call!