First-time buyers with a small budget can create their dream interiors scheme by getting priorities in order and being patient
HOUSE-BUYING is the biggest purchase most of us will make in our lifetime but for the newbie, the fun stuff of decorating and furnishing is often stymied by scant funds.
So before feasting our eyes on beautiful things online and finding ourselves without a decent bed to sleep on, the experts offer a steer.
Interior designer and colour consultant Sinead Cassidy of Sinead Cassidy Design says, “Take time to assess the space and also your budget as buying a property, especially if a first-time buyer, is a very expensive time. My two initial investment pieces would be a well-crafted sofa and a high-quality mattress.
“Have a think about the style you like, the size of your space and the functionality. Narrow armrests and sofas on legs are good in smaller rooms to create an illusion of more space. Leather fabrics are easier to maintain if it is a family room or there are pets to consider. A block colour is more versatile as you can update over time with seasonal scatter cushions and throws.
“Moving into a new house can be overwhelming,” she adds, “so live in it a while and enjoy the process of sourcing items, establishing your own individual style and adding colour when you are ready. White and grey wall colours are a good neutral canvas, especially if you have incomplete rooms and you’re unsure of the look you are trying to achieve.”
For colour lovers who want to dive right in, she says, “You could opt for a deep navy to create drama and cosiness in your hallway or living room in one swoop. Teals and moss greens are two other versatile colours that are a little braver but a great backdrop to any setting or to use on a feature wall.”
She also believes that sometimes doing things on a budget can make you more creative, citing a current trend with paint. “Use masking tape and create abstract geometric patterns that almost take the form of wallpaper in appearance,” she says while also advising on giving thought to lighting and the importance of selecting the right mix of task and ambient.
“Getting the lighting wrong from the start makes it very difficult to create the atmosphere your home deserves,” she says.
“Key for me always would be not to compromise on comfort or style,” she adds, “and if that means waiting that bit longer to purchase, it will be a good decision both economically and in your delight, ultimately, in the item.
“Have faith in your own style, it’s as valid as anyone’s and don’t get hung up on a certain look.”
Casey’s in-house interior designer Tracey Collins is also reassuring in her advice for anyone believing they have to sort everything right now.
“There’s no pressure to have a fully-furnished home right from the get-go,” she says. “You have to live in the home, see how it functions for you, your family, your lifestyle. I look at it like your basic wardrobe with that perfect little black dress and the real leather boots that will last you years.
“Start with your basics and build your collection from there. After all, you want your furniture collection to look naturally grown, not overly curated. I would invest in the necessities – sofa, bed, mattress, dining table — somewhere to entertain, to chill out, to eat or work, and to rest.
“Looks can be so deceiving in a showroom, so make sure you bring your measurements because the last thing you need to do is take out a window because your sofa will not fit through the door.
And when it comes to colour, Tracey urges restraint.
“A pink or purple sofa is fabulous but most will eventually get bored of it. I always think timeless with colour, neutral enough but also practical for your lifestyle. You can always style it up with pattern and colour in soft furnishings.
“Accessories really bring the room together, be it family photographs in beautiful tan leather binding photo frames, cobalt blue in a beautiful vase, or maybe little potted plant. Let it be your personality that comes through in accessorising your home. It should be a collection of your heirlooms, your travels, items that put a smile on your face, that framed drawing your six-year-old niece once drew for you. It’s about making your house your home.”