Preparing to move into my new place has been daunting (I hate packing/moving) and completely exciting (finally, a place to myself). I’ve been waiting for the day to finally have a space that’s completely me, but making a house a home is definitely a process. So when BoConcept reached out about collaborating on a post, the timing could not have been more perfect!
I had the chance to sit down with Nathalie, one of BoConcept Philadelphia’s interior designers, and ask some questions about design, shopping on a budget and how to create a space you love. I even asked her the questions you all sent to me on Twitter.
Q: Which pieces should you buy first for a new home, especially with budget in mind?
A: Depends on the room. Start with the bedroom, especially the bed, which is first and last thing you see everyday. Colors in bedrooms are so important. Go for cool or neutral colors that encourage rest and good sleep. No clocks that tick, which will make you anxious. No tv or too many electronics, which deliver too much stimulation. Opt for picture frames and things that make you happy and calm.
Q: What advice do you have for putting together a cohesive aesthetic? Especially when you pull inspiration from many sources (aka Pinterest).
A: Make an “I love it board” and an “I hate it board”. Pull out the similarities in the images you select, not what is obvious. Then, follow the 80/20 rule: fill your space with 80% one style, 20% another.
Also, choose your “wow” so your space isn’t overwhelming. You can’t have too many wow factors, that creates clutter and chaos.
Q: How can you make the most of a small space?
A: Work with multifunctional pieces. You aren’t doing the same thing in your space all of the time. You want things that can grow with you.
Determine what your needs are exactly. Live in your space for a little bit before you buy something. (Nathalie suggests living in your place for a few weeks before shopping). Think of how long it took you to find your place, it will take you just as long to make it yours and commit to pieces.
Q: What tips do you have for making a rental feel like home?
A: Spaces are all about you!! Focus filling your space with things that make you happy and bring you the most joy. Those things don’t have to be permanent like paint or wallpaper. It could mean figuring out how to incorporate more photos, artwork, books or other small things that you love into every aspect of your space.
Q: How can you get a high end look while shopping on a budget? Where should you splurge, and where should you save?
A: Think of where you spend the most time and what gets the most use. Don’t spend big on pieces that aren’t as important. Invest in the pieces you can see yourself having the longest. Focus on the investments that make the most sense for your lifestyle. If you don’t work from home often, an expensive desk probably isn’t right for you.
Q: What’s the best way to combine styles with significant others or roomies?
A: Talking about furniture turns into couples therapy. Merging spaces merges two lifestyles. A little bit of comprise will go a long way. Know what you’re willing to give up and what are your must-haves. Living in the space first comes in handy here. You may find you want to invest in your together pieces –items that allow you to spend quality time together. If you both love cooking for example, keep your rooms individually unique and collaborate in the kitchen.
Q: What are 3 must haves for your first place?
1. Somewhere to sleep
2. Somewhere to eat
3. Something that makes you insanely happy when you see it. A photo, book, something.
But don’t think too traditionally! You’re somewhere to eat may be a big pillow on the floor rather than a dining room table. Or a big couch in front of your TV!
Q: If you hate your current space, how can you bring it back to life?
A: First, determine why is it dead? Take note of everything you hate about it. And then do the opposite, one thing at a time.
Q: How can you make the most of a small space?
A: Focus on vertical space! Walls can hold things, and wall mounting things can go a long way. Legs make things feel heavier and more enclosing, mounting them will lift your space and make the room feel more open.
Some final words of wisdom from Nathalie:
If stuck in your style: explore! You can find inspiration in the most unexpected places and bring them into your home. You’re stuck in your style if stuck in your space, so get out there!
Full Disclosure: I’m so grateful to BoConcept for sponsoring this post, helping me to clarify my interior needs and letting me share this info with all of you. All photos and thoughts here are my own, all answers provided by Nathalie of BoConcept Philadelphia.