Starting from Scratch

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A reader recently asked for help on where to look for inspiration and how to define a style when furnishing a new place from scratch. Like your wardrobe, your home should reflect your personality and how you want to live. To some, choosing furnishings is about as appealing as cleaning eaves troughs, but here a few hard and fast rules to help the process along:

It’s a no-brainer; home design magazines offer great inspiration. If you see something that turns your crank, tear out the page and build a collection of images to provide a plan for you and/or your interior designer.

Avoid the temptation to flood your pad with bright colours. Would you wear a bright yellow suit to the office? A neutral palette is soothing and will not tire as easily. Colour can always be added as an accent by painting an end wall or by hanging some vibrant artwork.


Luke, it’s time that you join the dark side and shun the “matchy-matchy” syndrome. A set of modern chairs or an odd assortment of chairs around a vintage dining table adds interest to the room.


Don’t be cheap on furnishings to increase the scope of the project! Get good quality, well constructed pieces that will last and that you will enjoy using every day. If you can’t afford it all at once, take your time and begin with large elements such as the sofa or bed and add accent pieces as you go.


Cramming a room will make a space look small. Showing restraint when furnishing keeps the space looking light and serene, and empty or negative space helps to define what is there.


The key to home design is to trust your instincts and if you are unsure about how to go about it, investing in a few hours of a designer’s time can help to succinctly put a plan together, save on time and avoid costly mistakes.

Have design dilemmas? Email me at and I will do my best to answer your questions and maybe feature the topic in an upcoming blog.

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