29 Jan 2015

Furniture: How to fill your home with unique finds

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While the pages of interior design books are littered with images of beautifully styled and perfectly preened schemes, it’s the unique and personal touches that make a house a home. Nadia McCowan Hill, resident style expert at interiors brand Joss & Main, shares her top tips for sourcing just the right gems to make a space shine.

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To really put your stamp on a space it’s important to incorporate pieces that speak to you, but with so many options available, many home decorators struggle to know where to start. Piecing together the perfect home is a constant work in progress, but these simple steps should give any would-be decorator the confidence to source new pieces like a styling pro.

1. Collect visuals

Whether you prefer to tear pages from your favourite interiors magazines or are a devoted aficionado of Pinterest, collecting and curating visuals that inspire you will not only help you to refine your style, it will also help you to spot pieces that will work within your scheme. Whenever you see something that appeals, take the time to pin, scrapbook or snap it. You never know when a swiftly stashed visual will come in handy.

2. Know your space

It may sound obvious, but if you are hunting for new pieces for your home, make sure that you’re armed with each room’s measurements – there is no point even considering that Baroque hallway console table if it won’t fit into your narrow entryway! By using a website like floorplanner.com you can get to grips with each room’s dimensions and then make informed decisions whenever you make a purchase.

3. Follow interiors blogs

While magazines and books are an excellent source of design inspiration, following design blogs that cover niche design categories offers an excellent way to stay up-to-date on new products and trends that tie-in with your preferred style. Adore an eclectic look? Try following frommoontomoon.blogspot.co.uk, the award-winning blog devoted to bohemian styling. Prefer a more minimalistic, Scandi-inspired scheme? Check out myscandinavianhome.blogspot.co.uk, which is chock-full of stripped-back Scandinavian styles. Want to inject more colour into your space? Try brightbazaarblog.com, which offers a cocktail of hot hued style advice and product suggestions.

4. Go globetrotting

Nothing adds a dash of originality to your home more than finds from far-flung travels, so whenever you go on holiday, set aside time to shop. Whether you spot a twinkling set of tea glasses in the souks of Marrakech or an antique linen cushion in a Paris boutique, foreign finds will inject your home with personality, while acting as a fond memento of past trips. It’s important to really think about how an item will work within your space and the secret to making holiday treasures sing when you get home is to curate them artfully. When styled within a more minimalist setting, that Chinese chinoiserie cabinet will bring just the right amount of exotica to your scheme, however if you bring too many authentic elements together your space will start to become a parody, so remember to take a balanced approach.

5. Include something old and something new

The most successful schemes marry old and new pieces, so keep an eye out for jumble sales and antiques fairs taking place in your area. While many car boot sales are laden with more tat than treasure, wonders can be uncovered by the discerning eye. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed when faced with a large stall of antiques, so go slowly, taking your time to appraise each piece.

When it comes to furniture, it pays to look past paint finishes and hardware to really focus on the ‘bones’ of an item. An ugly or broken drawer pull can easily be replaced with something beautiful or ornamental, while a lick of paint can quickly refresh that darkly varnished wooden cabinet, instantly updating it. Finally, don’t dismiss plain pieces which can be prettified with some simple decoupage or similar decorative detailing.

6. Find flash inspiration

Online flash sales offer another excellent opportunity to snap-up unique pieces that can’t be found on the high street and with juicy discounts to boot. At Joss & Main, for example, each three day interiors event is curated, so it’s easy to find pieces in an array of styles as well as items that work beautifully together. Keep an eye out for looks that you love and dip into new events to find one-off pieces. Also check out your favourite eTailers’ online blogs for top tips on how to work the hottest looks.

7. Become an aficionado of auction sites

Auction sites such as eBay are another fertile hunting ground for the unique and the unusual, offering a fantastic chance to bring home quality vintage homeware without breaking the bank. If you’re looking for something specific, try saving your search. The item on your lust-list might not be available today, but by saving your selection you will get an alert when it pops up for sale. Make sure that you refine any searches to include your maximum budget and other variables, then sit back and wait for that vintage beauty to come in!

8. Take your time

While it’s human nature to want your space to be furnished immediately, sourcing one-off pieces takes time and the work is never done. Go slowly, curating new elements artfully to produce a beautifully edited home with a perfectly personal stamp.

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