The Property Ladder
In every previous home I have ever renovated, the driving factor has always been that we were, in reality, renovating with a view to selling and moving on.
Such was the price of property that for many people, and myself included, improving and then moving represented the only sure way to clamber up the property ladder. Buy, add value, sell – ad infinitum.
But the downside of that strategy was that it imposed restrictions on the way in which you could decorate.
You were always trying to second guess what other people like, and when you realise that isn’t going to work, the natural reaction is to decorate in the most neutral style possible, so as not to offend anyone.
A Home for Keeps
So, when we eventually bought a house which I had no intention of selling (well, not for a while anyway), I suddenly realized that I could indulge all my colour fantasies.
Add to that the fact that we had a tiny budget to renovate, and I realised that colour was potentially my greatest ally, in that it could cover a multitude of imperfections and make a big visual difference at minimal cost.
Parallel to that, I had spent so long renting, which felt like a dagger to my creative heart, that I was just desperate to let rip with my decorating rainbow, so to speak.
All of which meant that when I got the colour cards out, there was no holding me back. My first decision was not to worry about clashing colours throughout the house – each room represented a self contained proposition as far as colours were concerned, and with 15 rooms, that meant a lot of scope.
Starting with the hallway, I decided to be led by the original monochromatic tiles and a seascape painting, and opted for moody slate blues and greys – all from Dulux. A fabulously calming colourway, I would recommend it for entrances and sitting rooms.
In the dining room and library, I wanted to create a really cosy, nurturing atmosphere. When I saw Sandalwood in the tin I almost had heart failure, as it was pretty intense, but then I realized that it would make a fabulous backdrop for brighter colours.
Once it was teamed with mirrored glass and shades of burnt orange and lime green, it created the most amazing look – dark yet bright and sparkling at the same time.
Encouraged by those bold but successful choices, I went hell for leather in the sitting room and used a dark sea green and a marshy yellow colour called Bamboo, overlaid with a wash of gold, which makes the walls shimmer in the evening – really glamorous.
In the master bedroom I invested in the expensive but top quality range from Paint Library, and opted for something they called Sugared Violet – I call is Slutty Mauve – and that moniker has sort of stuck.
In the master bathroom I went for monochromatic black, off white and soft grey, with a fabulous black rubber floor and dramatic black mosaic.
My kitchen I kept pure white, as it was just a galley and needed to give the illusion of space it didn’t really have.
I love the character and idiosyncrasy of my home. Colour plays a huge part in that, and I would urge you to embrace it as one of your greatest decorating allies.