You may or may not recall, I blogged about this experience last year and absolutely loved it. Not just because of the house tours themselves (full of #interiorgoals) but also because it was just a great afternoon with lovely people. So when I had the chance to join a day of house snooping again I jumped at the chance. Not only because it’s a great day to get a whole bunch of home photos, but also because it’s full of interesting people and fresh faces to meet and have a good chat to. This year I went along to see a selection of the houses on the tours and thought I’d share some of the bits of home style and interiors advice I learnt from taking a peek at these stylish homes.
The tour this year was ago with ao.com – who are one of the main sponsors of the Living Etc House Tour. It means that along with taking a look at the interior design choices that made these houses magazine-worthy, we could also spot a number of the gadgets that made these stylish homes functional as well as fabulous. Didn’t help the fact I really want one of those amazing cordless Dyson vacuums cleaners in my life… and SMEG appliances to match my fridge (which I did actually buy from ao.com if you’re wondering… next day delivery on minty SMEG goodness. Yes please). Anyway on to a few home style tips I picked up and of course a whole bunch of house photos!
1. Don’t be afraid of colour – If there was one thing I could take away from touring these houses, it would be that colour is something to embrace and not be scared of. From emerald green velvet sofas (images of green velvet sofa room credit to: louisawarfield_artconsultancy) so silver and yellow wall paper. Every colour under the sun could be found in the selection of houses we saw and it served to perfectly splash personality across the rooms. Ok, so I’m way too fickle to splurge on a bright pink head board because I know I’ll change my mind t00 quickly. But perhaps a splash of pink paint or some bright lampshades. The ways to incorporate colour into a room are endless and I have a whole host of plans for a rainbow room for one of our spare bedrooms…. so watch this space!
2. The little details matter – I’m aware of how OCD this makes me. But I’ve started to really notice the difference little details make to a home. For me, it’s the things like light switches and plug sockets – having these in a brushed chrome rather than generic white is basically the dream scenario. I spotted this ALL over the home tours so definitely not alone in the fact these little details matter. Currently browsing for the right ones for our home. Probably doing a room at a time so the cost doesn’t spiral too much! But glossy chrome sockets and switched HERE I COME.
3. Mis-matched styles is what gives a room personality – One of the things I am rubbish at when it comes to home styling is mixing styles. I find it hard to imagine different pieces side by side if they’re from totally different decor approaches. So a modern chair with a chunky old style table – of course they do look awesome against each other. But I find it hard to visualise. What I saw in bucket loads in these houses was exactly that sort of mixed styling approach. Plastic modern chairs, with antique looking tables. Crystal chandeliers with mid century mirrors. The sort of styles that look like they could have been collected from countless car boot sales or adventures across the world simultaneously. It just works and adds a twist to a room, making it interesting. I love the idea that each item has a story behind it.
4. The garden is just as much your home as inside – Something I am fully on board with. Especially since I have started to grow a few house plants of varying sizes in my conservatory. A room I like to call ‘the jungle room’. Ok, so it’s not *quite* at jungle level yet, but it has a whole lot of greenery going on and the plan is to fill it with all sorts of interesting flora and fauna so it’s a little green inside/out oasis. On the Living Etc House Tours there were two perfect examples of this inside/out approach. One being an amazing extension with glass wall and ceiling that meant it had that ‘am I in the garden or living room’ feeling to it (the ones with the green sofa) and also a beautiful courtyard garden space that was a perfect little oasis in the middle of the city. Quite a space and the fact it was a courtyard meant it had that sun-trap feeling to it that made it feel very much like an extension of the house.
5. Have fun with it and don’t take it too seriously – Easily the biggest lesson of them all was that your home is YOUR home. Design and create a space you love. You spend so much time there, it would be foolish to do anything but. Have fun with it. If you love flamingos and palm prints, use them in your design. If you love minimal style, go for it. If you love trinkets and treasures galore. Display them, you collect these pieces to enjoy! Like many a thing in life – do what YOU love with the space. Be it trend led or just classic styles you love. It doesn’t matter. It might even be a bit of both. That’s totally ok. Have fun with it – and you know the end result will be a home you love. Oh, and if it’s paint – it can always be painted over… so not even *that* big of a commitment anyway!
Let me know what you think of these tips and the photos – I’d love to know if you have a favourite snap from the selection I’ve shared here. I’ve tried to include a few from each of the homes we visited that we were able to take photos at. Some of them we weren’t allowed to take photos but I made up for it by taking roughly a million in the homes we were allowed to snap away in!
Ok, so now maybe I am considering the merits of an emerald green velvet sofa afterall…
I was a guest of ao.com on the Living Etc House Tours