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Home is where the heart is, so you basically owe it to yourself to make sure your home is as beautiful and welcoming as can be. Of course, whether you rent or own, getting that magazine-worthy polish can be trickier than it looks. Not to mention totally unrealistic. If you've managed to keep your white Egyptian cotton sheets pristine for more than a few months, we salute you.

Emma Merry, founder of interiors website Home Milk, is all about real home inspiration – just check out the Instagram. Homes that look good, work well and feel, well, homely. And, she says, it's much easier than you'd think. 

She shares her more straight-forward advice for giving your home a glow up – but if you want more, try our 👉 super-special four-part interior styling experience 👈 with Emma and other experts.

What are the main décor trends at the moment? And what do you think is coming next?

There are flippin' loads out there but the important thing is to not get too caught up in them. Everything looks so shiny and gorgeous online but you have to really think about what style you could really spend some long term time with. 

It's already started, but there will be more emphasis on our human connection with nature. So that will play out in colours, materials and furniture. A little respite from our increasingly digital lives.

How do you find your own home style? 

I know it can feel like you just love everything on Pinterest, and maybe you do, but when you spend a bit of time analysing your choices you will find your way. Notice what you are repeatedly drawn to, what shows up again and again in your choices. Filter out items that only make a guest appearance. The rest of the elements will form your core style. 

 

Is it important to have a consistent style throughout the home?

No it's totally not essential to have a consistent style throughout the home. I've seen beautiful homes that do have a consistent style throughout and they are super restful, but I've also seen other homes that have varying styles throughout and that's really exciting. It's all personal choice. In my home each room has a different colour, but it's all connected through tone (bold) and style (modern). Think about what your connecting thread might be.


How can you preserve the relaxing feel of a living room that's also being used for work?

If you are lucky enough to have a spacious living area then bring in a small table or desk as a designated space for your work, giving a point of difference between your working (desk) and relaxing (sofa) areas.

I've even seen some great 'shelf' desks for those low on budget. Think about the material of your desk/shelf/table.  It's worth considering what else you have in the room to ensure it all sits harmoniously together. e.g. the more materials you have in a space the more cluttered it may feel.

Easy home improvements | a living room
The wonderful home of @rossshiers


What's the quickest way to brighten up your home space when you have no DIY skills?

Colour, baby! Of course. If you are lacking in confidence, then start small. Try out a punchy colour on an old stool, a window frame, a door perhaps and see how it makes you feel.  You might just feel a little braver next time you decide to paint a wall. If you have a room that gets low light don't be tempted to go white, it will just look dull. And nobody likes dull.


What can you do to a desk space to keep it tidy and boost your mood and productivity?

Storage is crucial, even if it's a slide out tray under your sofa - somewhere you can throw your computer and documents in and hide them away for the evening. I've been known to become extremely productive when I've treated myself to some new stationary. There's some sexy stuff out there, see Hay for example. They have a great folder that keeps all my documents tidy and looks so good too.

Colour has the power to affect mood and productivity. What are the colours that make you feel most productive? Give your walls a splash of colour, or bring colour in via your accessories. Also get yourself a plant - the ultimate styling accessory. Having something to nurture is also good for your mental health.

Cool home improvement ideas | home office

Emma's own home office. "It's the tiniest of rooms but doesn't feel it when you are in it as we took the ply up to the ceiling and to the edges (with a little breathing room around it), creating a little office box if you will."


What can you do in a bedroom to promote sleep and relaxation?

Again, colour is a crucial element to consider. Think about the tones that are super restful to you. Higher saturated colours can be more invigorating so perhaps look for softer tones but it's all about what you personally find relaxing and gives you a sense of peace.

Comfort is of course top priority in a bedroom. Invest in a good mattress, you won't regret it. 

Lighting helps to create a restful room. Give yourself options. Don't just have an overhead light, get some little lamps too so you can dial up or down the ambiance. If you can invest in dimmers that's a great idea too. Then think about your bulbs. Opt for warmer rather than cooler tone of bulb.

Easy home improvements | a bedroom

The gorgeous bedroom of @annamproctor


What inspired you to set up Home Milk? 

I'd always loved interiors. I completed some amazing courses in my spare time but hugely lacked confidence so struggled to make the move. Over time I realised I could pair my production skills and my love of being a nosey neighbour to create Home Milk, with the intention of inspiring others and reducing the boundaries between the fancy magazine pics and what you can make a reality in your home.

FURTHER READING: You've fallen back in love with your home thanks to these easy tips, now fall back in love with London with these bright and beautiful Instagram accounts.

main image: Emma Merry's lounge

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