So after 5 months of lockdown (although it felt like 5 years) your little ones, and not so little ones, are back at school and you have your home back to yourself. So much has changed though, you have been working from home, barely going out, had to mediate between sibling wars and at the same time try to find space just for you. Your home has probably not changed though, it is still the same as it was just before lockdown. So now is the perfect time to change all that and get your home to how you want it to be. We have put together a series of blog posts focussing on key areas of your home and how you can change them to make them yours again. Today we are starting with the hallway, kitchen and bathroom.
Let’s start with the first room in your house – the Hallway. This is often a neglected area of a home. People come in the door, throw their coats over the banister, bags get chucked on the floor, and you may well also have a bicycle or two as people are now cycling more. The hallway where this happens quickly becomes a dumping ground. The effect is demoralising, the moment you walk in your home, your sanctuary, your safe place, it instantly deflates you. Your hallway should on the other hand lift you up, make you feel that nothing can get at you now, you are home. If your hallway does not do that then follow our tips below.
First of all remember that the hallway is the first place you or anyone sees when they walk in the front door. Imagine it as the entrance to a luxurious hotel, and you have never seen one of those full of bicycles and dumped coats.
Natural light is incredibly important to a hallway, and fixed solid doors often reduce this. If your home allows the ability to see right through the hallway to a window at the back of the house this will increase the feeling of space. Have a look at your hallway, can you move a doorway (if required ) or change it to a glass door so that as you walk in the front door, you can see straight out to the outside again? Doors like this glazed pine unit from Wickes are cheap to buy, easy to install – for a Victorian home would work well, and at £75.00 are a bargain. For other homes there are many other styles in the Wickes range. If you don’t like the glazing it is easy to replace, normally no putty required, just a hammer and some nails. If hanging a door is beyond you a local tradesman can be found easily on Checkatrade
So that’s light in the hallway sorted – now for the clutter. Bicycles need to live outside, but if that is impossible, get them off the floor and hang them high on the wall. There are several devices for doing this, but we particularly like the BikeDock Urban available from Artivelo . Its simplicity of the design allows it to hang your bike, take the helmet, gloves and shoes, and even lock your bike to it. This latter part is excellent news if you share your hallway with others as you can hang your bike up high out of everyone’s way as well as having the comfort of knowing it’s secured.
Another item of clutter can be shoes! If you always remove your shoes before you walk into your home then you need a shoe storage unit otherwise they are just going to end up all over the place. There are so many to choose from but what is important is that they go with your décor, so a modern contemporary shoe box will not go with a traditional style interior. Just having a wire shelf with them all stacked on doesn’t visually help with the cleaner style, and its almost as bad as having them scattered on the floor. Look for something that will act as an occasional table as well, so you have somewhere to put your keys as well.
This unit by Noa & Nani is perfect, a simple elegant design which acts as a console table when folded away. Their range is extensive, so we are sure you will find something you like. Make sure the unit is as slim line as possible, you don’t want your unit dominating your hallway.
If you have stairs then a simple solution would be changing some stairs to some pull out units or even the under stair space, as can be seen here. This is easy to do and London Contemporary can help you with this.
Good lighting cannot be emphasised enough, good overhead lighting to cover all the space, and if space permits an occasional lamp on the “occasional” table (shoe store). Down lighters are our preferred solution for overall overhead coverage, but always with a dimmer switch to set the mood. Sunken wall lighting along the skirting and up the stairs can add that welcome home touch. There are many lighting suppliers we use but a couple of our favourites are Astro for general lighting and Tom Dixon for signature fittings.
Good decoration is also key to that welcoming feeling. Your hallway is the place you really can make a statement with some wallpaper, it can be wild or subtle it doesn’t matter. Or alternatively some bold paint colours. Don’t forget that soothing colours as you walk in your home, calm and relax you after fighting your way through the traffic to drop the little ones off at school or that rant at the boss.
We recommend Little Green Paints due their colour range and deep colours. The also produce a lovely range of National Trust wallpapers which are based on originals found in some of our grandest houses. Achillea Aurora was created from a fragment of a border found at Felbrigg Hall in Norfolk.
The kitchen is the nerve centre of your home and the place where the whole family congregates. It might only be to have breakfast, but it has to be clean with lots of workspace. We will be doing a feature on kitchens later in the year so watch this space but for now…
Clear all the clutter off the worksurfaces and put it in cupboards, clean work surfaces mean clearer lines which your mind responds to as less stress. The kitchen is your space and needs to reflect you.
If you have a bin not hidden in a cupboard, try to hide it in a cupboard. Pull out bins like this one from Simple Human are excellent and can be retrofitted so easily.
Dishes should not be left draining on Boards, if you have not got a Dishwasher now’s the time to invest in one, they are easy to install and so labour saving. A slim line Dishwasher will fit in those small spaces, like this one from Neff. The dishwasher should always where possible be fully integrated, but if not then semi integrated, however never just free standing.
So let’s be honest, most bathrooms have towels, human beauty products, flannels etc. all over the place and children often make the situation worse. Now, like kitchens, we will be running a full feature on bathrooms in a later blog, but for the time being, here are some simple tips for getting the bathroom back to being yours.
Grooming products are not always beautiful, so put them away in a cupboard, only two bottles ever in the shower or bath on permanent display. Make them nice like this shower gel from Molton Brown.
Towels, an evil necessity in any bathroom, but often they are a mix of different styles and colours, thrown over a towel or bath, or even worse just dropped on the floor. Towels should reflect the colour of the bathroom, strong bold colours work well. Like these from John Lewis, they come in a range of 12 colours. Luxury Towels really are worth their weight, so much better than cheap thin ones which get soggy so quickly.
Every Week change the colour of your towels, all towels should be the same colour for that week, next week change the colour etc. Fold them over the towel rail, length wise in threes. Never on hooks, never on the floor.
Toilet Seat lids, always down, even if it is a male only house, it looks so much neater. Seat covers are a big no no as are toilet “rugs”.
Shower curtains always pull back, or if you have a shower screen, wipe it down afterwards, with a wiper blade like this one from John Lewis, water drips are unsightly.
There you have it!
Simple tips, some lovely products to get your house back to being yours. We will do features on each room in more detail in later blogs but these ones above will make you feel at home again and relaxed, especially when you walk in that front door. Don’t forget you need to train yourself and your family to not just drop things where they are but put them away or regardless of how much effort you put in, it will all go to waste if things are not put away properly. Tidiness is next to Godliness as the saying goes.