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How I did it– décor inspiration from Irish buyers two years on

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07 Dec 2017

Posted in:  First Time Buyer

Are you delighted about buying a house, but a bit overwhelmed by the idea of having to decorate it? With so many options, we know it’s difficult to work out what’ll stand the test of time and what’s just a passing trend. It’s not always easy to know what’s worth investing in.

These days though, there are plenty of cost-effective and fashionable décor shops popping up all over Ireland.

That means there’s a huge menu of eclectic home treats every home buyer can choose from at every budget – which makes things a little easier.

To help put some structure on the process for you, we talked to two homeowners about the decorating tips they’d recommend. Read on below to get some instant interior inspiration for your future home.

Embrace original features

“When we bought our period home we knew that we were definitely buying a major fixer-upper,” explains Claire from Dublin. Rather than passing up the opportunity of living in her dream area with her fiancé Paddy, they relished the idea of making the home anything they wanted it to be.

“We love the vintage, industrial look,” she says. “So, we chipped off the plaster in the hallway to reveal the original brick and mortar walls. Literally a ton of plaster came off and I think Paddy began to hate me halfway through the process! But now we both absolutely love it and agree it was all worth it.”

Claire advises making the most of a house’s original features: fireplaces, windows and radiators. These are an excellent way to add character to your décor and will make for a major selling point should you ever resell.

Storage wars

Richard and Lorraine bought a house in Co. Longford almost two years ago. Their biggest challenge was making the house work for them in terms of storage.

“We shopped around and found that Ikea really just couldn’t be beaten for price,” says Lorraine. “However, we did hire a local carpenter to build additional storage into awkward nooks and crannies and to secure our Billy bookcases to the wall.

“I didn’t want our house to look too clinical or modern either though, as it wouldn’t suit the style of the house. So I searched Pinterest for Ikea hacks and made the furniture look a bit more ‘country cottage’. I’m delighted with the results and feel dead proud of myself for being such a Handy Andy.

“Another thing we had to consider was how we could make the two other bedrooms multi-use. We’d like to have kids in the future, but currently just need an office space and loads of storage for books, clothes and work equipment.”

The couple used a room divider to hide boxes of equipment and purchased doors for their bookcases. Unsightly (but necessary) stuff is hidden behind something prettier. The desk can easily be transformed into a dressing table and a daybed can go from being a seating area to a double bed in seconds. Sticking with a neutral colour scheme also means the room is suitable for any use, for anybody.

Make the most of your budget

Claire and Paddy made use of their spare bedroom by registering it as an Airbnb rental. The venture has been hugely successful both financially and in terms of meeting like-minded travellers from all over the world.

The extra cash meant that the couple could afford some more expensive ‘forever’ pieces like a Chesterfield sofa and Moroccan rugs. However, for the most part, the couple were thrifty and scoured flea markets and auction sites to find quirky pieces for their home at great prices.

Another tip Claire and Paddy have is to sell on auction websites. When they first moved into the home, they had to make practical purchases they weren’t completely happy with.

Where possible, they did without until they could save for the piece they really wanted. For other things, they bought a temporary fix with the intention of reselling for a lesser price once they could afford their first choice.

Thanks to this plan, they now have a pastel blue Smeg fridge that they adore.

Keep entertaining in mind

A final tip from recent home-buyers Richard and Lorraine is to make your home suitable for entertaining and company. One of their spare bedrooms has a fold-out daybed while another has a double bed.

This means they can invite college friends from Dublin down for weekend reunions, or allow buddies to crash after a glass of wine too many. “There aren’t many restaurants where we live, but I love to cook. I’m delighted to finally have enough space to host dinner parties for friends. It’s far less expensive than paying for drinks, dinner and a taxi.”

These get-togethers aren’t always formal or sit-down either. “We invested in a large corner sofa and practical living room furniture,” says Richard. “It’s great to invite friends over to watch movies and just pass around easy finger food. Since buying this house, we actually spend more time with friends and family, and it’s so much more relaxed and inexpensive than our going-out days. It sounds silly, but buying a house really improved our lifestyle and relationships.”

Feel like you’ve learned something? We sure do! Our thanks to Claire, Paddy, Richard and Lorraine for their great tips.

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The content of this blog is expressed in broad terms and is limited to general information purposes only. Readers should always seek professional advice to address issues arising in specific contexts and not seek to rely on the information in this blog which does not constitute any form of advice or recommendation by EBS d.a.c.

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