Décor Goes Neutral

Private Property South Africa
Lea Jacobs

While most of us update our wardrobes on a fairly regular basis to reflect changing styles, many don't pay nearly as much attention to their homes. Before we go any further, we are not suggesting that everyone rush out and completely revamp the interior of their homes. What we are saying however, is that people should learn to look at their homes with a jaundiced eye and replace items that are outdated and which affect the overall appearance of their home.

While style is a very personal thing, some things do go out of fashion. Remember the sun filter curtains and shaggy orange, green or yellow carpets of the 60s? Or the avocado bathroom sets that were all the rage in the 70s? Likewise, no home was complete in the 80s without floral decor. People tended to go completely overboard with this one and many homes of that time were literally smothered in frilly flowers in all sizes in hues of pink and green. We’re talking wallpaper, curtains, bedspreads, cushions and toilet roll holders – in fact, anything that could be recovered received the treatment.

Things started to “man up” a little in the 90s and most florals were replaced with animal prints. Zebra and leopard were particularly popular and, while some of us may have relished the idea of living in something straight out of Africa, fortunately many moved away from these prints as quickly as possible.

The problem with home decor trends is that they tend to be expensive to maintain. Lurching from trend to another in an effort to keep up is costly and time consuming. Home design styles on the other hand do have staying power and should be looked at as an investment as a well maintained interior will need less work in the long run.

Style is incredibly important when it comes time to sell. Buyers aren't generally blown away by linoleum flooring anymore. Carpets in the bathroom also tend to be a bit of a turn off. Similarly, floral wallpaper borders, burnt orange melamine kitchens and avocado bathroom suites (yes, we know we mentioned the earlier, but we just want to emphasise the point again) do not scream “buy me”.

Even if you are not considering selling your home in the foreseeable future, updating your home will more than likely, be fun and will make your life more comfortable. Why not make 2014 the year for change?

Here are a few tips to help you get started:

· Remove any coloured tiles that were popular in the 60s, 70s and 80s, and replace them with a cream, white or neutral shade.

· Get rid of coloured bathroom sets (including the avocado green masterpiece) and replace them with white suites. If you want to add a little colour, focus on the walls and tiles, remembering that neutral shades will remain in style for many years to come.

· When it comes to the kitchen you will find that stainless steel and white appliances will have staying power. While replacing kitchen units can be extremely expensive, new counter tops, handles and taps, and a fresh coat of paint can do wonders to transform the room.

· Replace worn, outdated accessories. Consider replacing cupboard and draw handles with brushed metal or chrome fixtures. Think about getting new bathroom kitchen taps fitted. Try to go for something modern and stylish, staying away from what is trending at the moment.

· Light fittings should also be looked at with a critical eye and if necessary replaced with ones that offer a fresh, modern look. Lighting is crucial to your space and the amount of light your home has sets the mood and the tone.

· Lastly, consider reainting the walls throughout the home. Experts recommend that walls should be painted every couple of years. This is sensible advice, given that a fresh coat of paint can completely transform the drabbest of rooms. Again, while wall colour is a personal choice, generally speaking it makes a lot more sense to go with a neutral shade throughout.

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