Moving into a new home: interior design ideas

Moving into a new home means making a mark upon it that is in keeping with your personal tastes and preferences. Stamping your own personality on a home, be it vintage, country, contemporary or even shabby chic, is very important.

Even houses that are all ready to move into require a bit of a makeover: brand new homes need to be broken in, which in practice means shaking off that show house appearance with enough personal accessories to make it look lived in. Older houses meanwhile need to be brought up-to-date, to freshen up '70s colour themes, '80s wallpaper or '90s kitchen fittings.

Often, there is neither the time nor the budget to redesign every room in the house the minute you move in, and a complete redesign may seem overwhelming: remember not to panic and simply start with the room that is most used.

What style to choose depends as much on the house as it does on the new owner's tastes: a city flat, for example, lends itself more to a contemporary look than a rustic one, while country additions can work brilliantly in a converted farmhouse.

Colour and texture can make all the difference, and are easy to change at no major expense. Strip off that outdated wallpaper and replace it with a fresh colour and theme that encompasses how you feel about your new home. Once you've chosen a colour theme for the walls, picking a carpet and curtains ought to be an extension of this same theme. Finally, personalise your home with your own knick-knacks, photos and collectables.

Most rental properties are unfurnished, so adding the right furniture for your needs is an essential. Ideally, this will be new items purchased especially to suit the space, but often you can make do with a lot of what you already have. With different colour schemes and placing arrangements, old furniture pieces can look very different. Alternatively, consider painting or stripping dressers or chairs to breathe new life into old pieces.

In smaller dining areas, extending dining tables are a great help; they take up little space but can be extended when entertaining.

The 'shabby chic' look is much sought after right now, especially for older cottages or detached homes. Pull up that carpet and replace with an easy-to-maintain laminate floor and a few bright, cheerful rugs: scour the second-hand shops for old vintage dressers and chairs and paint them a fresh white. Old mirrors, milk jugs filled with fresh flowers and plenty of plump, flowery cushions complete a look that is both casual and cosy.

Whether taking it one room at a time or going for a more extreme makeover, don't limit your new look to just one part of the living space: that vintage dresser in the hallway could be the start of a shabby chic theme that can be continued throughout the entire house. Remember to start small and build up gradually, choosing furniture and colour schemes that fit well with the overall theme.

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Pete White Pete White

Love Shrewsbury editor and chief developer at The Web Orchard, find out more on petejwhite.com

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