Good news Sheffield, there’s a brand new IKEA store in town! To celebrate the opening of the new store, I was invited up from London to give a workshop (my first, how exciting!) as part of a month-long series of events for the local community. The workshop was all about designing and planning a redecoration project, both small or big, from the first initial concepts, through drawing together a workable design and putting ideas into practice, to adding the finishing touches.
I walked the attendees through the different room-sets of the store, each curated around different style houses in Sheffield. Then once we had gathered some inspiration and ideas from these, we headed to the new Co-Creation area where IKEA has gathered samples, catalogues and online planning tools to help customers visualise their projects, with IKEA’s interior experts on hand to answer any questions. We ended the session by creating mood boards, ripping pictures out from magazines and catalogues, and adding fabric swatches, so everyone had something to take home and inspire them to get started!
I wanted to show the people on the workshop that updates to the home needn’t be overly complicated or cost the earth. Planning a living room makeover can sometimes feel a little daunting but if you break it down step by step with these tips that I’ve shared below from the evening, I think it will seem all the more manageable and easier to achieve your dream space.
– The purpose of the room
It may sound obvious, but start to really think about what you want from the space. Write down a brief list of how you’ll use the room everyday and how you want it to feel. It might just be a few key words that begin to tell the story of the space. Consider your lifestyle and how hard the space can work for everyone in the family – if you’ve got kids, will you need to think about innovative storage ideas to tidy toys and things away? You could think about wall displays to keep things out of reach of tiny hands. If it’s a grown ups only room, maybe you might need to focus on getting the lighting right to help create a cosy sanctuary. If you like entertaining and gathering friends around, then make sure the space can be flexible and adaptable so there’s room for everyone to sit together, whether it’s a takeaway supper, a formal dinner party or a laid-back movie night.
Most of all, design the space to suit YOU and your family. Don’t worry about what other people will think or if the decor is not to everyone’s taste, or even if it’s on trend. There’s no such thing as a perfect space, real homes are to be lived in and loved. They’re a personal expression of our thoughts, hopes and beliefs. They evolve over time and grow with us – the pristine pictures you see in magazines are only one moment in time. We can all be easily overwhelmed by the high standard of the beautiful spaces we see – we might put a redecoration project off or don’t know where to start to make that inspiration a reality. But you don’t have to achieve everything all at once, often it’s only when we live in a space that we can work out how we use it, how we move around it, what we like about it and what we don’t.
– Get inspired
Gather inspiration and work out what you like. Think about the overall look of the room and the style of space you want to create, whether it’s Scandi minimalism, eclectic boho or anything and everything in between. Try to keep it to one theme to avoid it getting too confused.
You can find inspiration everywhere. Flick through catalogues and tear out pages you like from interiors magazines. Save a Pinterest board with inspiration. But also get outside and snap anything that catches your eye; visit an art gallery, browse interior shops or steal some ideas from a favourite cafe or shop.
Create a quick, rough mood board by arranging the things you’ve found on a piece of card. Add fabric swatches and colours from paint cards. Putting your ideas to paper will help solidify and bring form to your thoughts, allowing you to visualise how colours and textures will work in the space. A mood board will also strengthen the concept so you can begin looking at the finer details.
– Room layout
Take a few key, accurate measurements and sketch out a quick room layout on a piece of graph paper. You don’t have to be the world’s greatest artist, just a simple plan can help you visualise the room and the space you have to work with. Cut out little pieces of paper to represent furniture, such as a sofa, armchair or TV, place them on your layout and have a play with moving them around to find the best solution.
– Don’t be afraid of small spaces
Living in a small space doesn’t mean you have to compromise on style, there are all sorts of clever ways you can maximise every inch of the room you’ve got. One way is to think vertically instead of horizontally – use the full height of your wall space, install shelves right to the top, have a pegboard to display things you need to hand, hooks to hang chairs when they’re not in use. One example is in my kitchen – normally the small space above your top cupboards would be wasted, but I ran my units right to the ceiling to create even more storage space for things we don’t use all the time.
Look for furniture that can serve a dual purpose and help reduce clutter – sofas with built-in storage beneath the seats, nest tables that can be pulled out when needed. Keep an eye out for designs that have legs raised off the ground, being able to see the floor below them will give a greater sense of space.
– The details
Write a shopping list of all the furniture you might need. Keep in mind budget. Not everyone can afford to buy a whole new set of furniture for a room and start from scratch either. Think about what items you will be keeping and how you can bring a new feel to them. It might mean picking out one key, focal piece like an armchair to update a room, buying new cushion covers to uplift an old sofa, or investing in a bright new rug.
In the big scheme of things, don’t forget the little finishing touches that make a house a home too. Touch and feel furniture and accessories as well as looking at them – use lots of textures and tactile, natural materials to appeal to the senses and create a relaxing, inviting space that you want to spend time in. It’s amazing what difference a soft rug underfoot can make to a living room, or the final flourish of a beautiful throw over the end of a bed. Keep in mind the look you wanted to create from your mood board so everything ties together.
Stick to two or three complementary shades of colour, and one contrasting pop of colour if you fancy, to create a cohesive room scheme. (you can read my tips for choosing the right paint here.) If you’re wary of colour (like me!) and can’t decide what hue to go with, try using colour with your accessories – it’s far easier to change a cushion cover than paint a wall again. Or you could be creative and paint the skirting boards and window sills in a bright, contrasting colour, like deep navy blue or soft blush pink. If you have an open plan space or connected living room and kitchen/diner, paint the walls the same colour to make the rooms feel like one space. When I’m decorating I love to use the walls as a neutral backdrop and layer up prints, art, little pieces of design and plants to add colour and interest to a space. Then it can evolve with the seasons and as your tastes adapt and change.
Lighting can often be something of an after thought in a room scheme, but it’s also key to the atmosphere of a space. As well as ceiling pendants, think about ambient light throughout the space with the use of free-standing lamps to create a warm, welcoming setting. I hate the harsh light of the ceiling light in the evenings and much prefer the soft glow of smaller lamps and whenever possible, candles. And if you switch to LEDs and IKEA’s smart lighting, you can turn off the lights at the end of the night from the comfort of your sofa or bed with the click of a button on your phone! Clever and functional.
I hope these five pointers will help set you up in the right direction to transform the ideas in your head into a reality. Let me know if you’re planning a redecoration project yourself – what are the things you always get stuck on? Have you seen the new IKEA Sheffield?
Find out more about IKEA Sheffield and other events in store here.
This is a sponsored post, written in collaboration with IKEA. All images Cate St Hill