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Why does my house always look just a bit shabby?

(16 Posts)
BonaDea Mon 18-Aug-14 09:32:11

I feel like my house never has the really 'polished', well looked after look that my friends' houses have and I'm not sure what I need to do to achieve it.

We bought the house when it was a real state, and have done a lot of major works including new heating and complete plumbing replacement, plastering and painting every wall, adding a loft conversion (including new staircase), moved a few walls, new kitchen, new bathrooms. Given all the work we didn't pay a lot of attention to the 'soft' aspects of decor and look. Now that we're finished I feel it looks like a student house in some ways.

We both work full time and have a toddler. However, we also have a cleaner. But the house never looks sparkling and it just doesn't feel well put together. We definitely need to re-upholster the sofas and paint some walls. We have some nice art work on the walls, and we are generally fairly uncluttered in style.

But what other tips do you have to make your home feel polished, grown-up and 'done'?

lucidlady Mon 18-Aug-14 09:47:08

Watching with interest!

I think my house is starting to look shabby because the paint is starting to chip on doors and woodwork, so I've bought a tin if paint to do touch-ups. I also think that we don't have enough pictures etc up, so it looks a bit stark. Went to TK Maxx the other day and spent £30 on two framed prints, which is starting to make a difference. Just need to keep going.

CabbagePatchCheryl Mon 18-Aug-14 09:51:55

I don't have a natural talent for decor and our first house looked a bit studenty too. Our second house is a new build and looks much slicker. I've achieved this by having a colour scheme in each room and sticking firmly to it. All the wall art and ornaments match it. I've kept all my colours on one colour palate so you're not, say, walking from a pale blue room into a bright red room.

I've got to say, my house looks a bit "show home-y" which I'm not sure I'm that keen on. I'd love to have one of those artfully cluttered houses, you know- full of uber-cool quirky nicknacks - but I think that actually takes a very good eye, you can't just chuck stuff in randomly.

Good luck!

AMumInScotland Mon 18-Aug-14 09:54:15

I think if you want the 'polished' look then you have to be quite ruthless about what you have in each room, not just removing 'clutter' but also thinking about whether everything looks right together. Which could mean getting rid of things you actually like because they don't fit in with a theme or colour scheme where they are.

One of those old makeover shows used to do quite a good line in just moving people's furniture and stuff around into different rooms and it somehow looked much neater afterwards, even if they didn't buy much new stuff to add to it.

But I think you need a good eye to do it!

BonaDea Mon 18-Aug-14 09:55:26

Cabbagepatch - YES!! That is exactly what I would like, but it would look like a jumble sale in my place!

I think the other problem we have is that DH and I have quite different tastes - he would go for japanese minimalist, I would go for country cottage. The result is that we tend to fall between two stools and end up nothing looking quite right.

CabbagePatchCheryl Mon 18-Aug-14 10:02:00

grin Japanese country cottage - nowt wrong with that.

We've settled on a relatively minimalist look but with lots of nice retro/scandi touches. And we do have one nod to the artfully cluttered look- in our spare room/office we have a huge ikea shelving unit and it's covered in nicknacks, little toys etc as well as our books. I avoid it looking rubbish by ordering them (books and nicknacks) by colour so all the blue stuff is in one section, red stuff in another etc. It looks like a lovely rainbow smile

CabbagePatchCheryl Mon 18-Aug-14 10:03:43

Ps this was all achieved through religiously absorbing the contents of House Beautiful each month for about a year.

Pps I've never written the word "nicknacks" so many times in my life...

SylvaniansKeepGettingHoovered Mon 18-Aug-14 21:11:58

I'm loving the idea of Japanese country cottage smile. My DP is minimalist and I love 'country cottage', I find it's quite difficult trying to happily mix the two. I like to be surrounded by books and cosy homely object, lamps, personal items. This style 'disagreement' even spills over to our garden - DP likes clean lines and (boring) straight hedges, whereas I prefer pretty flowers and a meandering path leading to a wild meadow area sort of thing.

One thing I've recently done is to buy a few small pretty baskets to use as storage for things like keys,mobile phone etc., instead of cluttering up a shelf. I've noticed that houses which look grown-up usually have a few expensive-looking ornaments placed here or there (or even vases/candles/flower-arrangement type things), not too many but just dotted about, but I can't seem to get the look right myself without it being naff.

BonaDea Mon 18-Aug-14 22:01:57

Glad it is not just me (not) working the Japanese country cottage look!

Funny about the garden - we are exactly the same. He has neatly clipped shrubs and I have flowing herbaceous borders.

Droflove Wed 20-Aug-14 14:30:38

I think you have to start from the big and work to the small. Walls and carpets, then sofas, then other furniture, then art and lamps, then small touches. Try to avoid the matchy matchy look by not being afraid to introduce touches of different colours here and there. Don't go for all white furniture or all dark, it will date and look boring. No problem to introduce something modern in an overall traditional room (like a crone lamp).That's my opinion anyway.

honeysucklejasmine Wed 20-Aug-14 15:22:30

Since my DH moved in to my house we've been doing a room at a time. We bought a huge amount of supplies from B&Q with wedding present vouchers, but we have ended up not using some of it as our tastes change. We are going mostly for white, with neutral colour touches or small amounts of bright and bold. The bedroom is white, yellow and grey. The kitchen is cream, oak and green. Its been a long process but we're feeling dead classy! [WINK] Better than my precious pass poor attempts to decorate alone

Reepits Wed 20-Aug-14 15:24:36


Shabby= having a life.

Shabby doesn't give a shit......ha.

DurhamDurham Wed 20-Aug-14 15:32:19

You are probably looking at your home in a far more critical way than you look at your friends' homes. If you delved a bit deeper ( which I wouldn't really recommend grin) in those houses then you would start to notice things that could do with sprucing up or reprinting. As long as your house is clean and relatively tidy I don't think you have anything to worry about. Your friends probably admire all your lovely art work and the fact that it's uncluttered.

NickNacks Wed 20-Aug-14 15:38:38

cabbage clearly we have never chatted on a thread before grin

Tadla Wed 20-Aug-14 19:29:47

god, your post reads exactly what i'd write except we didnt re-do as many rooms... reading with interest and funnily enough, tomorrow e have got a decorator coming round to quote!

SlatternLovesLots Fri 22-Aug-14 09:57:03

I'm also reading with interest. We are in the middle of a redecorating project on the two biggest rooms in the house. It is costing a fortune and I'm terrified I'll get it wrong. There will not be the money, or the will, to redo.

One thing I have noticed already is that the rooms we did a few years ago 'on the cheap' look even more 'studenty' than before.

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