During my lifetime, I've lived in three new build homes. They might lack a little charm when compared to a Georgian townhouse but they more than make up for it in terms of practicality and ease of living, especially if you have young children. They're the perfect blank canvas for a family ... modern kitchens and bathrooms, thoughtful layouts, little to no work to be done, and very low maintenance. I can't say that we will never be lured by a charming fixer-upper deeper in the Welsh countryside but right now, we couldn't be happier.
I was eleven when my parents first built their own home and I remember being so excited to move in to my new bedroom. The smell of fresh paint and recently laid carpet always whisks me back to that moment. I had grand plans for decorating my bedroom. Black, white and red were the colours of the time (but no longer a favourite of mine, don't worry) and I'd spotted the perfect wallpaper. But nope, my hopes and dreams were quickly dashed as I was told that we had to wait a year for the walls to 'settle'. Apparently, it's not worth painting or papering before then because there can still be some movement and cracks can appear.
We're in a similar position now. However, it's not because we can't decorate, it's more so that we're a little short of time and other than in the living room, which I'm halfway through painting (more on that to come), we can't settle on wallpaper, paint, colours or design. I think we're spoilt for choice. The UK is interior design crazy and shops are spilling forth with a wealth of offerings. But that's left my little cherubs with rooms in need of a touch of colour and fun. And so I've come up with the perfect craft ... customised wall art using papier mâché letters - perfect for new builds while you're waiting for those walls to bed in and perfect if you're still umming and ahhing over grey versus white versus a fancy floral print.
All you need is ...
- papier mâché letters spelling out the word of your choice
- a stick slightly longer in length than your chosen word
- a command hook.
1. Take your letters and paint them or customise them however you like. I chose the blue and the green because these two colours feature in my son's room, fuchsia to stand out, and then lilac and peach to calm it down and add contrast.
If you have children who want to get involved, you can have them paint a first coat and then add a second yourself (if you're picky, like me).
2. Turn the letters over and tape individual lengths of string to the backs. The pieces of string which I used were 30cm in length and I used two per letter - if you use just one, the letters tend to spin when you hang them from the stick.
Look at the 'A' and you'll note how I realised about the one piece of string equalling a spinning letter ... there are two pieces on the finished mobile.
3. Tie the letters to your stick. You can choose how far apart you want to space them and if you want to hang them all at the same length.
4. Take a piece of string slightly longer than the length of your stick and tie it around each end. Pop your command hook on the wall, and hang your wall art/mobile from it.
If you haven't use command hooks before, they are GENIUS! You can use them to hang or stick objects from walls or ceilings and they actually peel away from the wall without taking the paint or paper with them. You can pick them up in DIY shops and supermarkets and they are relatively inexpensive.
And there you have it ... a super inexpensive, customised, colourful way to brighten up the walls of your new build home. It certainly makes me feel happy (and my little dude who loves it hanging over his bed).
This post was written in collaboration with New Home Finder. New Home Finder is a search website designed to help you find your perfect new build home. With buying advice and homeowner tips, it's a veritable treasure trove of information. Do check it out if you're thinking of moving.