The internet makes decorating your home look easy. Everything is co-ordinated, effortless, and impossibly clean. Creative uses of space and design burst out at the seams of Pinterest boards packed to the rafters, and our favourite creators live in enviable palaces of open shelves and Berber rugs. With each item strategically placed and preened, the standard for home-living is set: "accidental" perfection that doesn't necessarily look like perfection but also kinda is.
This is all a mirage, of course. Turn the lens 180 degrees, and there you'll see it: the familiar mound of carelessly tossed clothes; yesterday's half-sipped tea, complete with a few tiny puddles of second-hand limescale; bins overflowing with a burgeoning tide of baby wipes and diet coke cans. The images we see have been brightened, retoned, and even retouched (it's all too easy to 'heal' out that dead fly taking up residence in the corner of your windowsill), but when we glimpse these photos, it's easy to forget that 9/10 times the scene has been staged, and also that the bits and pieces included have been acquired over the course of years (and sometimes, in collaboration with brands).
When we first moved into our rented home two years ago, I felt dwarfed by the endless blank canvas in front of me. We had a few rooms to fill, and only the necessary items pre-purchased (bed, mattress, towels etc.), so when it came to infusing a little personality and design into the all-white space, we started from the ground-up.
Jumper - & Other Stories (gifted - affiliate link)
Chain Bracelet - Monica Vinader (gifted - affiliate link)
Reef Bracelet - Monica Vinader (gifted - affiliate link)
Shell Pot - H&M (affiliate link)
Interior decoration is not my strong point. I really struggle to visualise things, and I worry that I'm wasting money on a trend item that I won't be as invested in in a couple of months' time. That's why it has taken (or is taking) me so long to make the rooms look decent; only now have I taken the steps to turn our crappy, dark dining room (which had literally just the table and chairs in it) into a much more open and useful space. Up have gone some shelves with personal, decorative items, out is the old artwork which incited no emotion or identification whatsoever, and under is the fancy new rug which eeeeeevery other person on earth owns a variation of, but which I think looks nice regardless. There's so much more life in it now, and it finally looks lived-in and homely.
I found homeware edits like this quite useful in the run-up to our move, as they offered the chance to anticipate how different items would look together, whilst also offering bountiful ideas of both retailers and items I'd not known about previously. Hopefully this neutral edit will be of some use, too; I've stuck to neutral tones because for me, it offers more longevity to the lifespan of your items, and also because it creates a flexible base for adding in more tone and texture when the budget allows it.
I've popped in a caption under each of the items for a little extra info and possibilities for potential use. As a final note for those decorating, re-decorating or maintaining a home: you're not a superhero with an endless budget and open diary. Take your time, remember you don't live in a page of Elle Decor, and most of all, enjoy your home! It's there to be lived in, not looked at.
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