Don’t you think that first hand experience is so important when it comes to offering someone else practical advice and tips?  In my recent article on House of Moloko I’ve shared some practical advice, my own insightful triumphs (and expensive mistakes) for all you first-time movers. To read the original article, click here: “Stylish budget must-haves for first-time movers”.

We don’t always agree that its always best to learn the hard way when someone else can do it for you!  PLUS I was very excited to have some top tips (and tricks) as well as sound practical advice from interior tycoon Maxine, the lady behind the face of WeLoveHome blog whose ongoing home makeover inspires many!

After getting the keys and walking into your shiny, new apartment, what’s the first thing you should do? Start unpacking? Move in the sofa? Start decorating?

Pick Your Paint Colour Last

Most people decide to start painting before they’ve properly moved in, but learn from my mistakes, waiting until you’ve settled in makes for a more cohesive scheme. With hundreds of colours to choose from, what works in your current home will look very different in situ. My biggest, single piece of advice would be to move in your key pieces of furniture first. Once you have an idea of the colours and tones that best suit your artwork, rugs and upholstery – it’s a good idea to buy sample paint and apply this to large pieces of paper. Once dry, tape these to every main wall in the room. This way you’ll be able to see how the light affects the paint colour throughout the day. Having painted my living room twice – trust me, this is a expensive mistake I wish I’d avoided!

If your pockets can’t stretch to designer paint, Dulux trade offer some surprising colour inspiration.

Try Upcycling

Thrifting and upcycling is a great way to decorate on a budget. I recently enquired into the cost of bespoke, built in shelves. They would’ve set me back at least £2,000! I wanted something that looked like this:

I’m not a fan of cheap, flat- pack furniture. Instead, I tend to buy second hand pieces and upcycle them. Not only does this save money but the furniture is often better quality – and there isn’t the guilt factor when I feel like a change.

I recently up-cycled this £30 cabinet – I simply painted it, wallpapered the back and put a light inside.

I hope you’ll agree that this is a lot smarter (and more expensive) looking than when I first got it.

Top Money Saving Makeover Tip

It may be worth investing in an initial home assessment.  In Maxine’s ‘How I gave my home a money saving makeover’ post she discovered that by far the best savings came from stopping draughts.  “It was pointed out that my letterbox and front door had huge gaps –  a quick fix with a draught excluder and UPVC brushes.  My sash windows needed new insulating brushes for the same reason, and it would stop them rattling in the wind. Hanging a thick curtain at my front door and windows will also keep in the warmth.  An amazing suggestion was to put a specialist balloon in my fireplace which inflates to stop draughts coming down the chimney!  They cost £13 but would pay for themselves in one winter!  Such simple ideas totalled £80 but would save me £31 in a  year!”

Stylish Sofas on a Budget

While second-hand furniture, flea-market finds and Gumtree gems are great ways to transform those blank white walls into your dream abode, there are plenty of stylish sofas on the market that are just crying out to be styled. It takes a little digging around, but we’ve done the hard work for you. Here are 3 of the most stylish sofas on a budget.

The IKEA SÖDERHAMN sofa with its clean lines and deep seats make this a really comfy sofa that suits plenty of styles. Oh, and the price tag, starting at £895 is a pretty great feature too.

Hayley from lifestyle blog ‘breathe happiness’ attached three of the modular chaise units together to create one really big, comfy couch. The covers are machine washable which is very handy for those with young children!

My personal favourite is the 3 seater sofa ‘Fielding’ from – The Fielding Collection consists of one classic sofa shape, with two contemporary and minimalist finishes.

If you’re looking for contemporary modular seating, then the Muuto Connect Sofa sold by Houseology is a stylish choice with a reasonable price tag.  The soft pink finish gives the sofa a sophisticated and stylish look, which will work well with most interior schemes.

If your budget doesn’t stretch far enough for any of these super sofas, then why not take heed of Maxine’s advice.  She brought a second hand one and replaced the tired old covers with new ones.  A perfectly simple and cheap solution coming in at a satisfying cost of £688.  There are some really solid well made sofa frames out there which with a little TLC can work wonders at a fraction of the cost.  Read more here about her ‘Sofa Cover Update’ and how she saved money but gained a stylish new sofa. A definite result!

Create Vignettes

One of the easiest ways to add designer style to your home is to arrange objects into vignettes, or groupings  on tables and shelves. Think of it as creating a beautiful still life. You can make a vignette on top of any flat surface: a dresser, table, bookshelf, countertop or window ledge. While your unpacking this is the best time to edit your belongings and unpack the essentials.

Create A Stylish Bedroom Look

In Maxine’s post ’11 secret interior stylist tricks for your bedroom’ our favourite tips to create a cosy and elegant finish are to “1. Go mental with cushions – To finish off the bed, I went a bit nuts over cushions. I like reading in bed and find that big pillows make a great bolster.  I don’t think you can beat a well stacked bed full of plump cushions. 2. Throw’s Rule – My bedroom gets pretty cold in the winter as it is a large room.  I need a couple of extra throws to A} keep warm and B} ‘cos I love ’em”.  Maxine chose the Meenu blanket from Wayfair which came in at £47 loving its blue woven flecked finish.

Kitchen Necessities

Even if you’re not an aspiring home chef, there are a few things you’ll need in your apartment kitchen right away.

Stylish pedal bins
This 30L copper effect soft close pedal bin from Next is a perfect choice at £48.  It has a 90 degree wide opening hinge which makes emptying your bin that much easier.

…To read the full article click here.


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