While I love living in a new build (everything's clean and (mostly) everything works), it does have little bit of a clinical feel to it, even for someone like myself who doesn't really appreciate a lot of clutter. Trying to make what sometimes feels like a white box homely isn't always easy. We initially had a look around a few show homes for inspiration and took away some lovely ideas. You can see why people are seduced by them. They show you exactly how you can live in your new build home and are a great starting point if you are unsure what to do and how to decorate or don't know what furniture to put where.
Two years in, and we haven't really done a great deal with ours yet. I'm waiting until both boys are in school before I get handy with a drill and paintbrush. Wise, right? Tiny helping hands are not a decorator's dream companion. In the meantime, I'm focusing on little areas and quirky products to make our house feel like a home until we really can make it our own. Does that make sense? I'm almost setting the scene for how I want everything to look in the future without actually making those big changes right now.
What I've found to be really important (to me and the boys) is to find a way for them to have a say and a presence in the house but for it not to feel like an 'attack of the toys' horror movie. I love my boys more than anything in the world but I do not love the clutter and horrendous amount of plastic items that come with being two and four years old. It's a challenge. Particularly for two little boys who are hugely fond of collecting 'treasures' ... leaves, sticks, receipts, tickets, pine cones, stickers ... anything, really.
One of my favourite things to do is to try and incorporate their finds in to cool craft projects and display them in a not so traditional way. We turned one of their sticks in to a ceiling-hanging origami bird mobile, and used holly from a winter walk to make Christmas baubles. Both combined my need for neat but the children's want to have their things on display. Win win!
We also have two pegboards in our house which have possibly been my favourite purchases since we moved in. They really do work for us as a family. Aesthetically, they're very appealing but they're also very functional. The boys love that we have their things on display and I can appreciate them too because they're contained to two places - one board is in the living room and one is in my eldest's bedroom. It also means that the boys are learning to edit their 'collections'; they choose to keep the really special things rather than everything because only their favourites fit on the boards.
Pinterest, as always, is a brilliant source of inspiration when it comes to ideas for creating a fantastic but functional family home (pop over to my 'Home Cool' board for a peek). There's an amazing amount of cool decorating and design projects out there, way beyond what you'll find in a show home ... and often cheaper to recreate (if you don't mind a bit of DIY).
I'd love to hear your ideas about what makes the perfect family home for you. And also where you get your inspiration from. My littlest starts pre-school next September so I've got ten months to finalise my ideas before getting the paintbrushes out!
Disclaimer: This post was written in collaboration with Countryside Properties. Countryside builds award-winning new homes of character. With stand-out architecture and carefully considered interior design, Countryside creates homes perfectly suited for modern living. Follow their blog for tips and advice - whether you're planning on a move, saving for a first deposit or just looking for inspiration, there's something for you there.