Slip out of neutral to gear up for character in a home
Escaping from bland interiors is a challenge but expert Sally Coulthard has all the advice you will need. Sharon Dale reports.
ALL the best, most memorable interiors have character and reveal something of the owner’s personality.
Sadly, the housing boom and a trend for minimalism helped strip individuality out of our homes. Neutral was the buzz word and the result was bland interiors designed not to scare prospective buyers.
Now that we’re in a slower but more stable market, we’re staying put for longer and thinking of our houses as homes rather than investments, we can afford to inject some individuality.
New builds with no architectural features and almost anything built from the 1960s onwards are a challenge, which is why Yorkshire writer and successful property renovator Sally Coulthard has come up with her latest book. A Home of Your Own – Creating Interiors with Character.
There are chapters on everything from antique and vintage furnishings and embracing craftsmanship to create spaces that remind us of loved ones.
“When we describe a house as being characterful, what we mean is that it is individual, exceptional in some way; that the space has a special mix of features that, when put together, create a wonderfully idiosyncratic, interesting home,” says Sally. “What’s more, we are not referring simply to the building itself. The contents, colour scheme, layout and personal effects have just as much influence as the structure in creating a unique home.”
It is all about marking your territory.
“We want our homes to reflect who we are as well as fulfil our basic need for shelter. Every time we choose a paint colour, hang a picture or pick out a fabric, we are communicating something to ourselves and to others. When we display a collection of teacups or trophies, we are letting people know our interests, values, ideals, tastes and preoccupations. A characterful home should therefore speak to us about the people who live in it.”
Here are some of Sally’s tips:
There are a number of reasons why a home lacks character. It may be too perfect and feel as if no-one lives there. Minimalist homes sometimes suffer from this. A home may also feel too bland because it is too uniform: all the furniture and contents match but in a way that leaves the space looking like a showroom where everything is over-coordinated. More importantly a home will lack character