• Comfort Smithson

Refresh Your Home To Look Better, Feel Better, and Make More Money Using what you Already Own.

I'm a trained architect turned interior designer/stylist. But unlike the majority of others in my field, I don’t feel comfortable with the belief a space planning solution starts with all things new. While we are all supposed to be championing grand designs, in homes big or small, luxurious or simple. It is very easy to be caught by the project and the desire for it so perfect, it gets to be featured in House Beautiful or Better Homes & Gardens. And yet the focus should always be on the client who has dreams and aspirations for place that they get to spend everyday in with their family.

It is often said, experience is the best teacher. With this in mind, I have come to agree with Sir Winston Churchill in one of his statements, “We shape our dwellings, and afterward, our dwellings shape us.”

I've had my fair share of renting my first home right after university, relocating to and within countries, and now... having to create and maintain our now forever home to fit around our two little ones. In the midst of all this, I had my pieces that were a constant. And I always found a way to make them work beautifully wherever I called home. Why? You may ask. Simply because all of those pieces were and still are precious to me. They remind me of my journey to where I am today. They are a reflection of who I am, their history is something that I take joy in sharing with family.

So, what does it really mean to Design your home with what you have, and how can achieve the home you love with it?

What is decorating with what you have? What stuff?

As you may have gathered from the name, it is simplifying creating the home you love using is already existing; furniture, accessories, and collections. And being the Architect I am, I will go further and add working with the already existing structural features of the home.

Why should I consider using what I have when decorating?

  • It will save you a lot of money

Let’s face it, you already have everything with your home so this in itself already drastically saves you a lot more money compared to buying all things new. Not forgetting buying anymore will only be adding stuff to make the space smaller.

  • It is good for the environment

I recently read a book called “The Story of Stuff” by Annie Leonard and in it, she states some staggering statistics such as “1% of the stuff we buy is still in use 6 months later” which if you can do the math means 99% of what we buy, because we think we should, just gets thrown away. Let that sink in for a moment.

  • It makes you unique and it reflects you.

In the words of the Use what You Have Interiors Founder Lauri Ward, “ Your belongings define your own private world. When you use them strategically, you can achieve a beautiful and practical home that mirrors who you are”

3 steps to get you started.

  • Declutter/clear all surfaces

Decide what you need and edit down as much as you can leaving only the items that bring you true joy. As you do this you will also start to realise and develop your style based on the items you’re most drawn to.

  • Shop Your Home

Oh yes, please. We all love a good excuse to do some shopping. And if we have learned anything from the lockdowns we have had to go through, we most certainly can get creative and imaginative. So allow yourself to take a step back and look at what you have with fresh eyes. Even if two pieces of furniture don’t appear to match, you can make them work! Don’t be afraid to play around with unlikely pairings.

  • Rearrange the furniture in the space.

Now then, we have cleared the space up, done our shopping, next we need to give our “new” items a new spot in the house. Feel free to move things (as far as) moving a chair into a different room, to (as close as) changing a position of the bed in the room.

And, what are the benefits?

  • You save so much money.

By now I am sure you can already see for yourself, how small, simple changes within what you already have can make huge impacts. All without spending any money to start with. From this point, you are in a better position to make smarter discussions on where to spend the money if you have to.

  • It works whether you're renting or owning the house.

Designing using what you have is centrally focused on making sure the space reflects who you are. It's all about make the home with items that make you feel at home.

  • Increases the value of the house.

You wonder how this is even related to what we are talking about. But here is the thing, in the home industry it is no secret that a beautiful home will attract the most interest every single time. Home buyers buy a property or a house because they feel at home in it even as they are viewing. Ultimately, they are willing to pay the asking price or more. If making more money from your home without having to spend anymore than you should doesn’t sound appealing, then I don't know what will.

  • Gives you peace of mind and joy. A fresh start.

So forgetting about everything else, the reason why you are probably reading this is because you felt you needed a change. Your once-perfect home doesn't feel like it's taking on the new changes. But making a start with these small changed immediately gives you a feeling of a fresh start. And the best part, you didn't have to move homes for it to happen. You get to fall in love with the home you once loved all over again.

In a nutshell...

Lastly, remember Step by step does it. Take it one step at a time, one room at a time. By reading this post you have already made the first step. Next, you follow the 3 step process;

  • declutter all surfaces and edit,

  • shop your home, and lastly

  • rearrange what you have.

It is truly and deeply my hope that this blog post has given you some food for thought into the fact that you can start by using what you already have to achieve the perfect home that reflects you. Redecorating, restyling, doing a makeover whatever you want to call it, doesn’t have to be hard.

Here is a more detailed a step by step guide where I go into a little more detail into “How to make your home beautiful with little to no money. Using what you already own”

Until next time, Keep creating the home you love with what you already have.