Five things to consider when home styling

Living room

It is cheaper to swap out a styling accessory you don’t like, than an essential piece of furniture you hate.

Photo credit: Shutterstock

What you need to know:

  • Develop the good habit of shopping within your own home for your styling accessories.
  • Wait to save up enough money for the big-ticket items such as your couch, bed and dining table.

Here are some décor concerns you should bear in mind when styling your space. 

Do I really need an entryway table?

Only incorporate a console table in your entryway if you have the space for it. Remember that the entryway is a transitional space between the door and your living room – I am walking into your home, I need the space to be able to walk in, I don’t want to bump into furniture.

As the homeowner, does your desire to style this space interrupt its functionality? The other option for styling your entryway is to style the wall only, with outsized wall accessories – an outsized mirror or hand painted art, an outsized abstract art piece in metal or carved wood. Styling the wall only keeps the entryway clear and inviting.

Why do most homes have brown or grey furniture?

Homeowners usually play it safe when styling their living rooms by selecting at-hand colours such as brown, grey, beige and, sometimes, black.

There is nothing wrong with these colours, they are actually easy colours – they are easy to keep clean because they hide dirt, easy to style around, easy to find at furniture retailers and easy to resell on the local second-hand market.

It is because of all these endearing qualities that they are so common in most Kenyan homes. You want your space to stand out from the next homeowner’s space. Instead of buying furniture in these colours, be bolder and more experimental, more playful.

Go to your wardrobe and see what your favourite colour is. Green? Blue? Red? Yellow? Good. Consider how you can upgrade your furniture to your favourite colour. Mimic the features of your brown or grey furniture so you don’t regret your choices. That is, easy to keep clean, easy to style around and whatnot. Going for the deeper tones of your favourite colour will maintain these go-to functional features without compromising on style.

How much money should I spend on styling my home?

This all depends on your budget. How much are you willing to spend on this project? Have a vision board, research, do the legwork by visiting funiture shops, and also scour the streets of social media. 

Also shop along the busy streets of social media. Hunt for bargains, collect prices and itemise them in a spreadsheet. Are the totals within your budget?

These projects usually take months to even a year. Especially if you are getting your furniture custom made by fundis. Enjoy this lengthy creative process.

For the smaller styling accessories that you buy from time to time – as and when you stumble upon – have a fixed running figure in your personal monthly budget. Discipline yourself not to spend past this budget. It is easy to go gung-ho and splurge, then you end up getting buyer’s remorse and hating these items you have brought into your space.

Also develop the good habit of shopping within your own home for your styling accessories. Say you are styling your toilet, go into your bedroom and see what accessories you can move about. You will surprise yourself at the finds you will stumble upon in your own home.

Do I buy cheap now or save to buy expensive later?

Consider this: You have moved into a new house and you are on a tight budget. Moving house costs a lot of money, after all, so you don’t have much left now. Not even in your savings.

But there are items you need right away – a bed, a couch, TV. You are thinking hard about how to carry on from here. You are wondering if you should buy cheap now and upgrade later. Or if you would rather save up to buy expensive things later, and for the long-term.

Buying the items you need now for cheap seems like a smart option but it actually costs more money in the long run. Let’s take a couch.

A well-crafted comfortable three-seater couch costs about Sh38,000 and should serve you for at least 25 years. Buying a used couch is about Sh13,000, but it has already done its mileage. A new but poorly crafted couch would cost you Sh25,000, it would serve you for no more than six years.

Wait to save up enough money for the big-ticket items such as your couch, bed and dining table. Then style your home gradually around these items. It is cheaper to swap out a styling accessory you don’t like, say a rug (of Sh12,000) than an essential piece of furniture you hate, say your couch (of Sh38,000).

What about my pets? 

Styling a home that has furred family members demands that you incorporate hardworking upholstery for your furniture and styling accessories. You need resistance, dear reader. Stain-resistant, scratch-resistant and chew-resistant.

Cats like to scratch on furniture and curtains, dogs chew baskets and rugs. There will also be loose fur from shedding in just about every space of your home. Not forgetting dusty or muddy paw prints when they run into the home from the outdoors.

In addition to buying resistant fabrics and accessories, train your pets on how to behave in the house – where to sleep (in their own beds and crates), where to eat and defecate, what not to chew on and which space not to enter. Buy chew toys for your dogs and build something of scratching post for your cat. Litter boxes are their toilets. Comfortable beds and crates are their designated sleeping spots.

Also, avoid having live houseplants as your pets can chew on them. If you must have greenery in your home, then go with artificial plants.