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By Nazih Abbouchi

Interior designer Frances Cosway has built a career out of helping others create beautiful homes they love to live in.

The author of ‘Your Forever Home’ and principal of White Pebble Interiors says there are tricks to making your house a place which gives you great joy..

“We often move into a new home or have the same feeling in our current home, that is, it doesn’t quite feel right,” she says.

“It’s not that comfortable, inviting, homey little haven you yearn to come home to each night and relax.

“You can’t put your finger on it, but it just doesn’t feel right.”

Ms Cosway shares these three simple, easy and affordable steps to make your home more of a reflection of you and how you love to live:

1. Use your heart

It may sound crazy, but your heart speaks the truth and if you really love something your heart will sing for it. If you’re just so-so there won’t be any flutters. Sound like love? It should be. You should really love what you live with and are surrounded by.Having things around you that you love is also a reflection of your personality. It makes a space comfortable and interesting. Heirloom pieces, items you’ve collected on your travels, something your child made for you, a piece of artwork you instantly adored. All of this adds up to create a home that is unique to you and tells a personal story. If you have an emotional attachment to something it will stay close to you. It’s a far better investment than buying a lot of ‘on trend’ items that will most probably date, and also have no real ‘value’ to start with. These end up being thrown away in a ‘fast fashion’ mentality.Nothing replaces a collection of items you love. So how do you do this? Only buy what you really love. If you invest in pieces you truly adore they will stand the test of time. You are unlikely to tire of them. I normally do a little sanity check on this (for myself and my clients) and ask how long they have loved an item before they buy it. This is particularly important with colours, for if you have loved a colour for the most part of your life, you’re unlikely to get sick of it quickly. If it’s a design piece that you have loved for a long time (truly good design never ever dates), and it’s a decent investment then I’d suggest the investment is worth every penny. And don’t worry too much about not everything matching. Different styles can be mixed. You needn’t throw out the sideboard from your mother because you’re moving and think it doesn’t work in a modern setting. Chances are it will and combined with other elements it will no doubt look great. If you’re unsure, get an expert to advise on how to make it work best. Select with your heart, choose what you love, be true to yourself and you can’t go wrong.

2. Have plants

It’s incredible what a few house plants can do to a space and how they can change the feeling in a room. I know when I first moved into our new home, I didn’t have many plants. We were short on furniture, the artwork wasn’t up yet, and the home felt a bit empty until I got some plants. Plants make a huge difference. They bring the outdoors in and create a sense of home that is difficult to achieve without them. Use leaves, pot plants, large floor plants (Monstera are fabulous for this). My go-to plant is a Devil’s Ivy. It’s almost indestructible and will trail beautifully on a totem pole, trail down a bookcase or sideboard, sit on a coffee table or windowsill. Better still, its trailing stems can be cut, popped in a vase (for more greenery) and propagated to create a new plant so it’s a true winner. If you do one thing today, buy a plant and see what a difference it makes.

3. Use lamps

Floor lamps or table lamps, it doesn’t really matter. What matters is their ability to create mood, ambience and add to the overall feeling in a home. Lamps form part of the interior decoration and therefore add a design element to a room while also providing ambient, mood or task lighting that contributes to functionality along with creating a lovely warm and inviting feeling. A lamp adds a finishing touch.

There are plenty more ways to create a home you love by decorating in different ways. These are just a few steps to add different elements into your home that I know make a difference. If you had to pick one to start with, which one will you try this week? Have fun with it all, and remember, think with your heart and be true to yourself.

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