Let's get this straight.
I am definitely not.
When we started doing up this house, it was a massive job. It was grannyville (no offence Grannies!) and the place was filled head-to-toe with garish green carpets and heavy velvet curtains. We peeled back wallpaper to reveal cork tiles on the walls and just about every ceiling was dripping with artex (literally - the girls room looked like an upside down pavlova topping gone wrong!)
My Mum is an amazing homemaker and pretty good on the interior design front (though she'd never admit it) and so I'd had plenty of years observing their home projects unfold (my Dad also has a good eye for style, though my Mum still has to forgive him for insisting they get a corner bath.... what's to forgive?!)
And then I spent a year on the continent, and learnt a whole lot more about decorating to the season.
And then I met Pinterest.
And that, in a nutshell, is pretty much where my decor training has come from.
As you see, no expert.
But I do delight in pretty things, and I do like to decorate to the season and so I thought I'd share the little bit of advice I've got from the experts... 5 things I picked up from people who know WAY more about interior decor than me!
1. Start with a blank canvas
When we started doing up this house, we painted (or allowed our lovely friends and family to paint) almost every wall (with 2 exceptions!) in this entire house some shade of white or cream. And we did it on purpose.
My time on the continent taught me that the best way to have an adaptable interior decor is to start with a blank canvas. That way, I can change up the mood in our home with a few little touches and totally transform the feel. I can add a few bits and pieces and the lounge can be transformed from a cosy Scandinavian Christmas feel of red and white, to the sunny bright colours of spring.
2. Flowers are your friends
I have quickly learnt that flowers are the best form of interior decor! They are cheerful, they are bright and they totally up your mood as well... I'm a personal fan of simple bunches of single colours. I'm not one of these mix and match fans as a general rule, but I know that's a personal preference. The beauty of the neutral backdrop is you can go simple, or you can plan with a bit of colour! I love the deep reds and greens of winter, the yellows, pinks and blues of spring, the whites and yellows of summer and the oranges and reds of autumn.
3. Keep it simple
It's really easy to get carried away with all the seasonal decor you find at the garden centre (and spend a bomb to boot!) but actually, I've found that generally its best to keep things simple. Sometimes its nice to have a focal point. Last Summer, my mother-in-law gave me this beautiful Easter tablecloth. Its beautiful, but its intricate, so I knew to pull if off, everything else would have to be very simple. I'm so pleased with the result. Taking one thing as your focal point and building around it also means you avoid the over-fussy, too-many-colours, how-many-ornaments-can-I-stick-on-the-mantelpiece syndrome. Keep it simple!
4. Complimenting colours
When I was 16, I had my colours done... I was told what colours suited me, and what colours made me look washed up and half dead. I don't remember a lot about what I was told, but I do remember one thing the lady said. She advised always to style with a combination of 3 colours: go with one of two and you look like blocks of colour; more than four and you look like someone vomited the rainbow over you (OK... those probably weren't her exact words!) I may not have stuck to her advice in the clothes department, but its actually pretty relevant for the home decor too! OK... there are no "rules" as such... but I find its a pretty good guide...
So this is the practical bit... I don't actually have a fireplace, which means I have no mantel. So I've had to be a bit creative about making one. I now have two in our living area... One is our sideboard upon which the TV is placed on one side, and the other is a beautiful, inexpensive IKEA shelf above our dining table. I love them both... and both provide me with lots of opportunity to get a bit creative with the season.
I generally set aside one nap time to do this. That means I have an hour and a half to transform the room. And I generally don't go and buy new stuff for it. I am using the same old decorations year after year, with the occasional gift (the chicks were a gift from my Mum last year - she knows me well!) thrown in. And there is something fun about being creative with what you've got!
So here you go... a few "mantels" from the past few years that will speak louder than any "words" I might give...
Now go, have fun and get decorating!