I recently packed away my late dad’s house and got it ready for its new owners. It involved sorting through his belongings, his memories and treasured possessions. I always knew this would be a reflective and sad time for my brother and me.
There were a good few trips to the local rubbish tip. And along with the exhausting work involved, the landfill pile was a good reminder for me to be conscious of how my family and I consume. My dad lived a simple life. And on reflection, packing up his belongings was a manageable exercise. Moreover, the journey reminded me of the importance of a post I wrote a while ago “Eleven ways to help make purchases for your home in consistent ways”. Given these reflections, written below is our now updated –
Buy designs that have been thoughtfully produced and assembled; admiration for sustainability and craftsmanship are attributes that you will always love and admire. It is also a win-win situation when buying handmade or recycled goods because they are generally eco-friendly and help to support the artist/designer who made them.
Try to establish a list of at least five design – elements that meet your expectations/desires. An example of these could be hand-crafted, natural fibres, slim-lined or textured. Write these down and keep this list with you. Before you make a purchase, cross-check your list against the features of the item you wish to buy. If the item you wish to buy does not tick at least three of your design boxes, be strong and resist making the purchase.
Buy an accessory because it speaks to you and your home. This will ensure that you will still like it well after its fashionable /used-by date has expired. A trick that I often use in my work, is to simply write words down that describe the essence of a home. For example, your list could include colours, moods and textures. Be playful and articulate with this exercise as it will help you to get to know your home. Lastly, buys goods that are compliant with your list and most importantly the colour palate of your home.
Like a well-worn pair of shoes, it is important to purchase an item because it has been made well and is comfortable not because it is specifically fashionable or on-trend. A comfortable – supportive lounge will always be more valuable than a fine-looking uncomfortable one.
It’s so very tempting but it’s always best to resist a cliched buy. I hear you ask, what is a cliched buy exactly? These are usually products that are fashionable and very on-trend. If you are seeing a product mass-produced everywhere, chances are that it will date quickly. With pop culture, you are looking at a shelf life of around six months to a year maximum with these purchases.
Buy because the product means something to you – gorgeous artwork will always age well and vintage wares often have a fabulous story to be shared along with their beautiful imperfections.
Buy from a range of styles – it is important to have a mix of wares that are from old/new genres and high/low-end spectrums. If you have too many new and modern purchases in your home, it could potentially lack warmth. If you have too many vintage or second-hand pieces, there is a risk of your home looking like a second-hand store.
Do not follow trends too closely. Look for alternative ways to freshen a look” without copying what the magazines are doing or saying. Stay true to your own likes and dislikes – it is important to intuitively understand your own space and its requirements.
Avoid buying replicas – it might be nice to “almost” have the real deal but will you still love and respect it in five years’ time? Authenticity is important, should you wait until you can afford to buy the real McCoy? Alternatively, you could buy vintage and reupholster. I inherited my dad’s amazing danish style midcentury stools; they make me think of him on a daily basis and I will treasure them dearly.
Buy brands that you know and trust are made well and last.
Measure your space and do the research involved before you buy your big ticket items; I see many examples of oversized lounges in homes; shape and size are important especially when you’re going to own that piece of furniture for a long time.
If you would like assistance styling or sourcing for your home, please get in touch here. If you would like to read more on this topic, I’ve also spoken about buying – well via key items for the home in this post here.
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