I am rather depressed that it is time to get rid of all the Christmas decorations. I also feel like my home needs a bit of a refresh and this seems like a good time to do it. How can I go about this without turning the house upside down?
January is, naturally, an ideal time for an interior refresh. As we sweep away the Christmas tree needles, shove the holly and the ivy on the compost heap and pack away the baubles for another year, our homes are left much barer than they’ve been for weeks.
This does not have to be depressing — you’re able now to see everything in much better focus, so think of the annual decluttering as an opportunity to re-evaluate your rooms. In the cold, harsh light of January, it is time to take a long hard look at our homes, to flush out the festive hodgepodge, to get things in order.
But it is also time to have a bit of fun. January is bleak. I hate refusing myself things in January: no drinking, no bread: no joy! Gosh, at this time of the year we need to take excitement from wherever we can. And where could be better, more comforting and remedying than our own homes?
So, where to start? My suggestion is to start small. A side or console table to replace the Christmas tree, perhaps? Duncan and I both share a real addiction to, wait for it, diminutive and decorative tables and unnecessary chairs.
At the moment, we have a fantastical Venetian-grotto-style silver gilt table hanging around our sitting room like a guest who has stayed much too long, and at least three hall chairs in our garage awaiting instruction.
In terms of style, the options are endless. Arcadia Antiques is selling a console that I’ve had stuck in my mind recently: it is an early 19th-century English faded gilt table, and it is incredibly elegant.
An extra side table and therefore an extra surface is never a bad thing to have. Surfaces get filled easily: in our house this means books and certainly a lamp, because more soft light from table lamps is always welcome, plus a lot of accessories, from candlesticks and odd bits of pottery to framed photographs and vases of flowers.
Talking of accessories, I suggest bringing in new pieces to add a bit of New Year zing. I work with The Lacquer Company, but I love everything this company makes. Its latest collaboration with the New York-based decorator Miles Redd is a winner.
See the stacking trays (in fabulous primary shades) and wastebaskets and tissue boxes. I really believe in upgrading the small things we use every day. This allows us to take maximum pleasure from them.
Colour, to fight the winter gloom, really is key at this time of year. Case in point: handmade ruffled and patchwork cushions from In Casa By Paboy. (For the moment you need to email or message on Instagram to order.) A pair of these would give any sofa an instant zingy update.
Or, why not take something old and loved (but perhaps a little tired) and give it a refresh? I’ve been thinking about reupholstering an armchair at home with a new fabric. Some recent favourites of mine include those made by Soane Britain’s Lulu Lytle in collaboration with the fashion designer Duro Olowu.
The pair’s graphic fabrics appeal to me, and I enjoy their peppy colour combinations. Take Timbuktu in green and charcoal, for example — which would look fantastic on a chair.
Try moving existing things around, too. Swap lamps in and out of rooms, and change their shades. This is a favourite trick of mine — a small and easy thing to do, but one that really makes a difference to a room. I often turn to Rosi de Ruig for lampshades made from patterned papers, or I buy old scraps of silk and have them made up into shades.
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Another tip, unrelated but important as we are looking forward: if you have a garden, remember to get on with plans for the springtime. Sketch out your borders. Order bulbs.
And last, why not consider collecting something new? It’s a good time of year for making new intentions, and I much prefer the idea of dedicating myself to collecting a new type of old thing rather than, I don’t know, a spin class or not eating cheese. It could be anything. Fossils? Cameos? I’ll leave this with you.
I do realise that I’m attempting to give tips on how to refresh your home while also telling you to add more things to it but, well, it’s January: time to take extra pleasure from one’s objets.
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