First-time buyers’ guide to styling your new home

Increasing the value of your first home is easier than you think. Follow our first home buyers guide to transforming your new property into a stylish home and long-term investment. We spoke with a proud first-time buyer, Laura Barnard, Arlo & Jacob’s Head of Product (Buying and Merchandising Manager) about how to add value to your new home with some easy décor tips.

Steps to decorating a new home for first time home buyers

“Invest in curating your first-home,” says Laura. “It’s your home, but it’s also an asset. If you are eventually going to rent it out, or sell it on, then potential buyers or tenants will respond to a curated home.”

“Think like a property developer,” she adds. “They hire interior stylists to curate some of their homes so that people can visualise living in them and buy from that experience.”

One major upside to owning your first home is that you can decorate it how you want. It also gives you the opportunity to get hands-on and solve any problems such as lack of light, or a low ceiling with practical styling solutions.

Fast-rising interiors star Andrew Jonathan Griffiths knows how to make the most of difficult space. He brilliantly curated a dark living room without much light (featured above) @andrewjonathandesign  by combining a Tom Dixon copper ceiling light with dark blue Farrow&Ball paint and our Henry chaise in orange velvet.

Be creative with the space you have

It can be an expensive and disruptive business knocking down walls in pursuit of an open plan. Moving forward in 2020 and you might be better off investing in other home improvements. There's been a significant shift since lockdown towards home zoning and making the most of a pre-existing floorplan. Small rooms that are comfortable and characterful are back.

For first home buyers think of all your property's space. "Remember space in a home is vertical, and it's horizontal," says Laura who recently purchased her own 50 sq. metre apartment.

With her new one-bedder, Laura has studied how to maximise every inch of your new home's floorplan. "Explore how to convert unused space in your first homes such as a hallway corner area, fireplace recess or any under the stairs area."

"A fireplace recess could be in your bedroom, or a living room, and with it, you can use shelving to create a little home office." Featured is our Bennet footstool converted into a makeshift office chair alongside a vintage desk set against a fireplace.

Make your new bedroom do some heavy lifting

It’s time to reinvent the bedroom into a more versatile space. We have all discovered the need for extra room, and our bedroom needs to rise to that challenge.

Invest in strategic custom storage, first and foremost. Your first home needs to work with you, and fitted storage gives you the flexibility to make the most of what you have both vertically and horizontally. Further, consider allocating a portion of it as a stylish home office or adding a snuggler and create a reading area.

“It’s an investment that will pay dividends too,” says Laura. “If eventually, you decide to rent your property, or sell it on, future tenants or buyers will straight away look at storage and a home office as major positives.”

We love the space-saving brilliance of the gorgeous @carasuthers who shared her trick of converting a shelf into a dressing table and completed the look with our Vesper cocktail chair.

Refresh your first home by painting it with an independent paint brand

Painting a room is a tried and true method of improving any new home. Further, Britain can boast an incredible paint industry, but instead of reaching for a can of Gunmetal or Magnolia, explore the colours available from British independent paint companies and their unique shades.

“You do always have the likes of  Little Greene, Mylands and Farrow & Ball, and they are colour experts, but I like these new up-and-comers in the market that are offering a different spin on classic colours,” says Laura about the rise in boutique British paint brands.

Why not explore the ranges of independent paint companies for more unique hues. “You want your first home to look fresh and updated,” says Laura about the power of paint. “A dated shade will make your new home look tired and small.”

Explore British independents such as Ellis Paint, Lick Home, Painthouse, Pickleson Paint Company, Annie Sloan and Colour Makes Me Happy.

Proving that small spaces and furniture can still be beautiful, our Clara chair and sofa (featured above) are highlighted by a rich wall colour.

Quality finishes count in a small property

First-homes tend to have a smaller footprint. Again, like painting a room, lighting and mirrors are much-loved solutions used by interior stylists to create a spacious feel. Add your twist to this styling formula, choose characterful mirrors and vintage lamps along for a curated mood.

“A lot of new builds have downlighting, and it can be harsh,” observes Laura. “I would use a selection of lamps to create an ambience and soften the light.”

Take your lighting inspiration from @fionadukeinteriors, who cleverly used characterful wall and hanging lights to soften the rooms ambience. Photo credit @annastathakiphoto.

Invest in multi-functional furniture

With a small first-home not only does every inch of your floorplan count, so too does the furniture you invest in. “Footstools offer a true storage solution,” says Laura. “We have ones such as the Ottoman-style Pip that has hidden storage compartment to hide away the clutter."

Ultimately, first-home buyers need to become their space-saving experts. “Don’t feel compromised by a small space,” advises Laura. “I’m applying the same tricks to my little one-bedder and you can easily transform your new property into a stylish home and investment."

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