This colour wheel guide is really good - quite a lot in there but the very basics of choosing colours is once you’ve settled on the main one you want, look opposite that on the wheel and that colour is complementary to it. However, this guide goes into loads more ways to use colour as well as that basic model.
My personal top tip is that an easy way to make a space feel homely is to use warm shades of orange/terracotta here and there (this can even include particularly warm/orangey wooden furniture too like certain shades of rosewood)
Always try out new ways with your furniture layout. I move my whole living room around once a year if not more, it’s only the last year I’ve mostly settled on how it works for me and have only made minor changes. Since I’ve lived in my current place it’s had about 12 different layouts.
It takes a while to get it right. Plus moving stuff around is nice to mix things up to make the space feel different when you’re bored of it especially if you’re living in a rented space you can’t make major changes to, and to eventually find the layout you like best. Some small spaces make a layout change seem impossible but give it a go anyway!
Much like buying good furniture - you can’t rush it, it sort of comes to you.
Even if you want a very minimal home and aren’t into the whole cosy aesthetic you should still introduce some layers and different textures to make it seem less like a showroom and enhance its character, making it unique to you.
You don’t have to go mad with loads of cushions but just a few objects of joy, a blanket, or think about getting a deeper pile rug to give some warmth and depth.
Make the functional objects in your home also objects of joy. Sometimes there’s a lot of pressure on having good art or just having something on your walls but I’d say it’s better to think about the beauty in the things you use rather than look at first of all. This is also a good way to think about your collections of things such as plates etc - does having a set of identical dinner plates really make you feel as happy as having 6 different plates? Don’t feel restricted by what you think you should do. Mismatch away if that’s your thing!
Obviously, this is all ‘if you can afford to do so’ but many of my lovely objects are second-hand and were either affordable or free.
I am very bad at this too, and have to constantly mutter to myself ‘clean it as you go along’ but I really struggle with it especially with washing up.
I have quite a lot of baskets knocking about that I shove things in and they help out! I’m making a blanket at the moment and there’s wool everywhere so I’ve brought a basket in the room and I shove it all in there and I feel instantly better even though I’ve not (and can’t) put it all away in its proper place. I also sometimes use a basket for the clothes I took off but are good to wear again as I know I’ll never put them away. Sort of like a laundry basket but a wear again tomorrow basket at the foot of the bed.
Same goes for my inability to arrange cupboards and not trusting myself to keep them organised therefore all our snacks live in baskets, it means I can shove things in quickly without much thought but hide them away.
General tips - look for sofas with washable/removable covers (sadly this doesn’t seem to apply to all the expensive super comfy ones which is ludicrous tbh). I don’t think you should live in fear of dropping things and making stains - this is going to happen, make it easier to fix or of less concern when it happens. I know this isn’t really a design thing as such but what I mean is don’t be unrealistic with your design choices unless you know you can keep it pristine or won’t be gutted when it isn’t.
LED lightbulbs, even low watt and ‘warm’ ones are still quite harsh compared to old fashioned bulbs so for some lamps, against all my other eco choices, I just go for halogen bulbs. It’s only the odd lamp here and there but it makes such a difference. On the topic of lighting - a nice lamp in the kitchen has been a revelation!
That’ll give you time to really plan and realise what you want at least
My place was very sparse for a year or so, even after m was born i was still just sleeping on a mattress on the floor for a while (wish I’d done that for longer rather than get the squeaky annoying bed i got tbh amd have since seen a lovely one now )
Good luck! I wanted one with some of the spotting you get from age but seems this is now trendy and the price of them is ridiculous online. You can only get good second hand mirrors in antique villages and those sort of places imo (here at least) as uts just too overwhelming online.
Try to stick with similar wood finishes in one room.
Doesn’t have to be too strict but generally all darker woods or lighter together. Thats not to say all the hard furniture needs to match though (for instance my living room is all dark, similar shade wood bur my TV bench is white cheap mdf ikea job but works fine as its not the same material).
I’ve not done this yet but plan to when i can afford it - my sofa has pine legs - you can buy replacement sofa legs in any finish really easily online
One for parents especially those with waste/sustainability concerns.
Always question what you’re being sold as essential for family life. How long does the kid furniture last? Is it useful? I’ve strayed from it as much as possible - didn’t get a cot or toddler bed, what’s the reason for not getting a single bed from the off? (I bought the trundle bed from ikea so its effectively a floor bed so once she left my bed she was straight into the single with a few cushions next to it - its also meant saving on things like toddler duvet and bedding as you can buy toddler tog duvets in full single bed size). A media bench thingy is great for a kids room as storage and a play area as its low to the ground too and has some storage and is likely to come in handy for a long time after childhood and be more durable than kids stuff which seems poorer quality
I’m sure you can but I always do terrible jobs of that sort of thing and the cat scratches it so I haven’t tried. But yes as m_w_t said, there was talk of a magical paint recently.
I use lots of covering for tables and things to soften them up or tie things together. Not quite full on tablecoth territory but nice table runners and things that could disguise part of the furniture.
not the cheapest options there but just some examples.
Or you could try to move things around a little? My room was quite mismatched at first too - I ended up just putting my coffee table in the storage cupboard as it annoyed me so much. Could you put similar mismatched items at least near each other if any are similar?
I used Frenchic to paint my shower tiles at the house in France. It looks great and has lasted brilliantly. You do need to not knock them or get them wet for at least a week to ensure they cure but after that you’re good. If you have facebook there is a group called ‘Frenchic fan forum’ where loads of people share before and after photos of how they have used the paint. It is great for seeing what works/getting inspiration etc.