Viewing a show home not only gives potential homebuyers plenty of interior design inspiration, but for those considering buying an off-plan property, it enables them to visualise what their future home could look like.
Show homes are often well coordinated and kitted out with luxe furnishings and high-end appliances. There’s always a strong theme and design direction which runs throughout. There could be light neutrals on the main walls and a stronger colour on one feature wall in a room or hallway, which is then echoed as an accent colour throughout the home in artwork, cushions or bedlinen. In a typical open plan living space, you may find floor lamps in corners and lots of luscious houseplants to soften corners and introduce greenery.
UK homebuilder, CALA Homes, works with an expert team of interior designers across the UK to create aspirational show homes with added wow factor. Here, a panel of interior design experts share some of their show home secrets to help create that professional look in our own homes.
What’s the secret to show home styling like a pro?
‘Focus on colour coordination, balance and a smooth harmonious flow from room to room. Although each space should always have its own “wow” such as an amazing light or a favourite print, try to keep a “thread” of connection between all the spaces,’ explains Eileen Kesson at Envision Showhomes. ‘Personally, I am a huge wallpaper fan – a fabulous on-trend wallpaper can add instant pizazz and lift a room in an afternoon!’
Pat Nightgale at Blocc Ltd, adds: ‘Create a focal point in each room. Something that draws the eye. It could be a piece of artwork, a mirror, cushions or a light fitting. Something unexpected, and sensational! A brightly coloured rug in a neutral room, or wallpaper the ceiling! Something that introduces character and real style.’
Jon Piling at Abode says curtains can make the biggest impact. ‘For us, the big trick that everyone misses are curtains, they can make or break an interior scheme,’ he reveals. ‘Typically we would always try and go for wall to wall, floor to ceiling wave headed curtains to make the room look wider and taller – after all, who wouldn’t want that in their home?!’
But Felicity Stevens at Haus Interiors reminds us that not every design decision has to be so noticeable. ‘Creating a memorable experience is imperative, and impact does not always have to be obvious,’ she says. ‘We always consider the basic senses of sight, scent and touch. Sight – a well-balanced interior that is pleasing on the eye; scent – selecting a scent that creates a memorable experience; touch – using layers of texture so that the interior is interesting to touch.’
Working with a blank canvas? Design advice for your new home
Be methodical about how you are going to live in your new home and plan your space, room by room, says Felicity. Pat suggests measuring the rooms then scaling in your furniture; that way you know what you have to work with.
Then it’s time for inspiration, so create mood boards from magazines and fabric swatches and samples, and save interiors inspo digitally on Pinterest and Instagram. ‘Buy an A2 sheet of white board for each room you want to design. On this, print off any ideas you have found online, any fabrics, furniture or finishes you want to use and then stand back and see if it all works together. This is exactly what we do in the studio to ensure the scheme works,’ advises Jon.
Be confident with decorating and don’t be afraid of colour. Pat’s advice? To hold a family conference on everyone’s favourite colours. ‘Let the kids choose their own wall colours, this really starts to bond them with their new environment. Have lots of family photos in galleries, in the hallway or on the stair wall,’ Pat suggests.
Eileen recommends focusing on ‘core choices’, i.e., the flooring and your kitchen, two springboard areas that she usually starts with in show home design. ‘From there, you can continue to layer in your other important fixed features such as tiling and wardrobe finishes. Take photos as you go; these are great to refer to and allow you to stand back and really consider what might or might not work in a more objective way.’
Above all, take the time to create a space that you truly love and reflects your personality. Felicity concludes: ‘Remember, things take time and your home is not a show home; it should be comfortable, personal and unique.’
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