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Creating a stylish home with renovation and design tips by Rachel Hunt: Part 3 – The finishing touches

By Rachel Ducker  |  February 8, 2020

Writer and home makeover designer Rachel Hunt shares the story of her home renovation in our three-part special. Follow her journey from attempting to complete a double storey extension before the arrival of her first child to the finishing touches of her now complete home. She offers up expert advice for any type of renovation project as well as tips on decorating and adding that final flair to your home.

Last year my husband and I took on a complete home makeover project. We completed this in two stages – the build and the interior, and in this final instalment I give my tried and tested tips for updating your home in 2020.

Set a theme…

A neutral paint palette works well for the ceilings, walls and woodwork

Have you ever noticed what it is about upmarket houses that they all have in common? They all follow a colour theme, throughout the home.

The best thing to do is choose some neutral tones for the wall and accessorise with a form of shiny metal such as gold. This is one of the most effective ways of making your house look more expensive and stylish.

Choosing a paint brand wasn’t difficult for me at all, as a massive Farrow and Ball fan and with a new baby on the way, their eco friendly paint formulas are cruelty free and made by using recyclable materials.

This not only reduces the impact on the earth but their entirely water based range are also classed as minimal VOC (volatile organic compounds) which are the culprits behind the strong smell of some traditional paints.

By contrast their low odour finishes don’t release any nasty fumes, perfect for families. My favourite F&B shades are Wimborne White for ceilings, Drop Cloth for neutral walls and School House White for woodwork.

Tip – Add an accent of Sudbury Yellow to create a pop of colour in this scheme.

Light it up…

Lighting is a key area when it comes to making your home look chic and contemporary

Simple touches such as replacing lightbulbs and lampshades are an easy and affordable way to brighten up and modernise any room in your home. Lighting is often overlooked when it comes to making your home look chic and contemporary.

I purchased all of my feature lights from Industville, who are the makers of handcrafted, high-quality, uniquely designed industrial style lights and furniture.

They pride themselves on making each product from the highest quality materials such as raw copper or brass and individually hand finished to ensure an authentic individual quality is retained – holding true to the feel that is unique to vintage fixtures.

I wanted to use a brand that could offer me lighting solutions that could become the stand out feature of my rooms and ones that were fully customisable.

To me, having the right lighting is essential. It can make the simplest of spaces magical, but if you get this wrong or perhaps overlook it, you could end up with a pretty average and boring room. We used industrial style brass pendant lights from Industville, which are extremely fashionable right now.

Tip – Try something different, we inserted uplighters in our flooring to create a unique space. Always hire a trained electrician for the installation!

Add a homely touch…

Simple additions such as these feature candles provide a luxury yet homely touch

Similar to jewellery, home accessories add the finishing touch to any space, and don’t have to cost a fortune. This is the perfect way to give your home some pizzazz and sparkle. Simple touches make a world of difference.

There are some fantastic coffee table books out there: Whether you are interested in fashion, cars or cocktails, stack a few on your coffee table with a candle or two to make your house feel like a home.

Tip – I created a homely touch by adding… storage baskets from Pavilion Home, rugs from The Rug Seller and Harveys and these feature candles by Suffolk company Concrete & Wax, further accessories from Barista and co.

Update your kitchen…

The kitchen from Wren Kitchens is enhanced by the gold door and drawer handles from John Lewis

Now, have you ever heard the expression that the kitchen is the heart of the home? Well, that exists because it’s absolutely true, and it’s one of the rooms people look at the most when they enter a property – especially potential buyers.

We took a trip to Wren Kitchens. Although we had very clear ideas about what we wanted, we made an appointment and their design team helped to make our dream kitchen a reality.

Tip – Source your own kitchen door and drawer handles! We purchased ours from John Lewis and saved £300 on handles!

Refresh your room with new bedding…

New bedding can give your bedroom a makeover without having to redo the whole room

If you are short on time or money, redecorating your bedroom can seem a little out of reach. However, new bedding can give your bedroom a makeover without having to redo the whole room.

You can experiment with colours and textures, adding cushions and even a throw to spruce up your boudoir and bring personality to the room. I liked the new range from Lawrence Llewelyn Bowen, and this leaping hare set from Wrendale Designs.

Tip – its always good to have spare bedding and if you hate making the bed every day invest in a bedspread, I bought a velvet blue one from Wallace Cotton.

A tidy house makes a tidy mind…

Always have plenty of storage options, from freestanding pieces to built in solutions

When there are too many things laying around it stresses me out.  Aim for minimalism and invest in smart storage options such as hanging planter walls, pull-out shelves and drawers – they will make a huge difference and your home will be so much more organised.

I added into my house a sideboard to keep my belongings in, a bed with under bed storage, and furniture with plenty of drawer space – however, my favourite storage solution is my cloakroom store from Oak Furniture land.

Tip – if renovating, think of places you can build in storage, we did this in our bathroom.


Baskets are an easy way of bringing a natural and charming look to your home

Baskets are an easy way of bringing a natural and charming look to your home. I loved Broste Copenhagen’s baskets, they are ideal as storage boxes that ensure your home remains tidy and organised.

The neutral shades of the natural materials and the look of their rough, hand-woven frames crease a raw essence that can easily be styled in various ways.

You can find different sized baskets made from iron, bamboo and sea grass that provide a decorative rustic storage space, ideal for accommodating cushions, throws and towels.

Tip – These make excellent washing baskets and add a bit of interest to the room at the same time!

Soft furnishings…

The master bedroom features made to measure hemp curtains from Stitched

Wallpaper and paint can help you to create an aesthetically beautiful living space but it is the soft furnishings that make a house a home. We had all of our curtains made to measure – after all of the time we had spent on the house this was the simple solution.

We got our living room curtains from Plumbs. They sent out one of their reps to do all the hard bits (the maths) and within 7 days our curtains arrived ready to hang. The hardest part was choosing the fabric.

For our master bedroom we used an online portal called Stitched. They created the most exquisite curtains made out of hemp. Although we measured our own frames this time the curtains where made and arrived to hang. They also supplied the pole.

Tip – Add extra blankets and cushions to rooms for a bonus touch.

Finally, you are making changes because you want your house to look more beautiful and feel more comfortable, but remember to have fun with it too!

If you don’t have time to read – click here to view the video.