When the owners moved into this four-bedroom detached new build in Newcastle, it was perfect but lacked personality. But with bold colour choices and savvy style ideas, it’s now been totally transformed into a bright and welcoming home that’s full of personality, just in time to fill with Christmas decorating ideas.
‘A new-build can be quite overwhelming as it’s all so fresh and clean with sparkling white walls,’ says the home owner. ‘It’s like writing on the first page of a new notepad… you don’t want to make a mistake!’
It was a few Christmasses ago when the owners first thought about moving home, with things moving speedily and the couple moving into the brand new four-bedroom Bellway home by the end of the following January.
‘Having lived in our first home for seven years, we wanted to buy something bigger as we both work from home. We’re party people so loved the Acacia house type with its open-plan kitchen-diner and living area leading onto a south-facing rear garden. The house was already built so we put down a deposit, part-exchanged and moved in within 20 days through Bellway’s Express Mover scheme. I think the developer had targets to meet by the end of the month so we got a good deal.’
The living room
Although the plain rooms and neutral flooring choices weren’t what the owners would have chosen, the style throughout was safe and inoffensive, which meant it could be lived with until they had the chance to redecorate.
‘I started small by putting up scaffold board shelves in the utility room using Rawlplugs for the first time and then painting it in Denim Drift by Dulux,’ says the homeowner.
‘That gave me the confidence to tackle the front living room idea, which was inspired by a visit to the Sofology showroom. We loved their combo of a green and orange sofa against a bright orange wall, so we recreated the same vibe with a slightly more subdued shade of paint.’
‘Next we decorated the open-plan kitchen-diner and living room. I’d discovered Snug sofas on Instagram and really liked their navy blue velvet sofa. That led to a similar blue paint on the walls, which zones the snug area, while the long back wall was painted in a complementary griege to match the kitchen units.
‘We love Christmas and having two living spaces and always have two trees – one more traditional and one more modern. It’s nice to have a tree that can be seen from the front window as people walk past, as well as one where we have Christmas lunch in the back room.’
I’ve learned not to be afraid of going bold with big purchases like sofas. In our last house I played it too safe and worked around what was there – like the brown carpet – rather than just replacing it. Now I’ll choose a colour that makes me happy and I’m less worried about making mistakes.
‘I didn’t want the snuggler and footstool from Snug Sofa to blend in with the wall, so I only painted part way down using 2am by Coat Paints. The cushions are from Dunelm and H&M Home, while the mirror is from Sofology.’
The dining area
'We might change the kitchen ideas one day, as the gloss doors get covered in fingerprints and are an absolute nightmare to keep clean, but it’ll do for now. I love being a hostess and feeding people so the space is perfect for our regular themed parties.’
‘As we had a wooden dining table in our last house, I liked the idea of glass. A lot of show homes have round glass tables, like this one from Furniture Village, which feel less bulky and open up the space.’
‘I wanted to bring some blue to this side of the room, so chose these bar stools with gold legs from Cult Furniture to make it look like a classy cocktail bar. They were out of stock for ages, but it was worth the wait’
The kitchen area
‘It took me ages to find the perfect blind as there were a lot of old-fashioned flowery designs around. It had to be modern with a big enough statement print in the right colour, and eventually I found this design in Kovu Batik Blue at Hillary’s’.
‘Having decorated the front living room in orange, yellow and green, the kitchen-diner in greige and navy, and the downstairs toilet in pale blue, I put up a terrazzo-effect wallpaper in the hallway to tie all the colours together.’
'When it came to decorating the bedroom, we modelled it on the room we stayed in at the Skuggi Hotel in Iceland, where everything was grey, deep and moody. We’ve got so much colour elsewhere, we wanted a calm, relaxing, cosy vibe in here.'
‘Two sets of curtains - both voiles and heavy drapes - give the room a luxurious look and makes the wall more of a feature. A lantern from Ikea adds to the cosy ambience.’
The dressing room
‘It’s a real luxury having a dedicated space to get ready and everything has its place. I added gold washi tape and hairpin legs to the Ikea console table to glam it up, then paired it with a stool from Cult Furniture. The monochrome geometric wallpaper is from I Love Wallpaper.’
‘In our last house all the bathroom walls were fully tiled, but here I could paint the top half in a Valspar colour match of Farrow & Ball’s Green Smoke for a holiday vibe. Plants and candles make it feel more serene.’
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Lisa is Deputy Editor of Style at Home magazine and regularly contributes to sister title Ideal Home. She has written about interiors for more than 25 years and about pretty much every area of the home, from shopping and decorating, crafts and DIY to real home transformations and kitchen and bathroom makeovers. Homes and interiors have always been a passion and she never tires of nosying around gorgeous homes, whether on TV, online, in print or in person.
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