New Idea



The problem with renovating, I’ve learned, is not the tradespeop­le or bad weather but the renovator themselves. And I speak from experience!

You see, I’m building a new home and the single biggest problem in the whole equation is me. In short, I can’t stick to a style. Months ago, I’d settled on ‘coastal contempora­ry’, but then I’d see a lovely French provincial kitchen pop up in my Pinterest suggestion­s and suddenly find myself fantasisin­g about that. Then around Christmas, I saw a friend’s new renovation and was completely captivated by her Moroccan accents.

What had started as a firm idea of the aesthetics, now looked like I’d thrown a homewares magazine in a blender.

Fortunatel­y, I discovered a tip to get me back on track – the flat lay.

Not dissimilar to a mood board, a flat lay is basically a photograph of all the materials, textures and colours you’d like in your renovation. Basically, it forces you to focus and edit out all those cul-de-sacs you go down when you’re standing in a tile shop or looking at a paint chart.

So how do you do it? First, get a sample of the fixed elements, whether that’s flooring, carpets, tiles, stone or timber surfaces. Arrange them together so you get an overall idea of the theme.

Then it’s time to add detail in the form of paint swatches, curtain and upholstery fabrics, images of light fittings and soft furnishing­s or even a screenshot of a painting you love. It’s worth checking out designers and stylists such as

The Stables, who showcase amazing flat lays on Instagram.

When you’ve curated all your samples and inspiratio­n take a photograph from above and assess whether everything you’ve chosen works in harmony. You may decide a colour needs to be changed or that more texture is required. What you should end up with is something that makes your heart sing.

While a flat lay keeps you focused when you’re out shopping for products, it can also be hugely helpful when talking to suppliers and tradespeop­le. The more you understand your overall vision, the better you can communicat­e it to others.

Crucially, you won’t find yourself standing in front of a tiled wall wondering why it looks like a Mexican adobe when the rest of your place is more New York loft!

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