Our contributor Kat got some tips from Alex of The Home Stylist on how to make her living area stylish while keeping it functional for a family with two kids.
The prospect of moving to a world class city like Hong Kong can be exciting as it is daunting. I remember when my then fiancé (and now husband!) and I first made the big step to move to the ‘Kong over 7 years ago we were filled with much anticipation as well as many questions. We had heard that space was a luxury in the East so the biggest question was…where would we put all our stuff?! Would we have enough room for a good size couch? A dining room to entertain in? What about a guest room for our visitors? Baby room when we decided to have kids? After all, we were moving from your typical house in Canada to basically a shoebox – we really did not know what to expect or how to make use of the little space we had. Fast forward 7 years later and two flat moves – we are in our biggest rental yet but still struggling to make our space work for our growing family.
Enter in The Home Stylist! They consist of a team of certified styling and staging professionals. Leading the helm is Alex Sheldon who previously worked in the event management world before embarking on her interior design dreams. Alex works as a consultant, home stylist and stager and will help you reimagine your space aesthetically and functionally. She can also help you with purchasing new pieces to make your home look complete. I wish I had met her 7 years ago when we first moved into our tiny apartment as newlyweds!
In the last few years we had accumulated more furniture that worked for our previous apartments but now unsure of how to make them work in our larger space with two kids under 3.
Alex came to my home and we sat down with coffees, pens and notebooks to talk about my personal style and the aesthetic I wanted to go for. We were focusing on the living and dining room where my family spends most of our time together. Alex was so easy to talk to as she lead me through a questionnaire to get a better idea of what I wanted to achieve. We began with my objectives and how I wanted her to help me reimagine my space. Some questions I had were:
- How can I make use of my space better with my existing furniture and decorative pieces?
- Storage is important as I craft a lot for my business (shameless plug! Bespoke Parties) How can I store the items that are hidden but easily accessible since my dining table also acts as my crafting table?
- How can I keep the living space stylish and modern as well as fun and practical for my children?
I told Alex that I love the modern and simplistic look of Scandinavian design with pops of colour and metallic accents. And right from our conversation she got hands on and went around moving pieces around. She said that some of the pieces I had already were good “bones” and foundation to build upon.
The “bones” included my wooden dining table from Indigo, a custom made woven rug from Kahoko and a very well loved (I have 2 kids under 3!) grey sofa from Ikea. She worked around those pieces and added some suggestions on how to style each piece. I had a throw from Zara Home laying around and she took it and draped it across a slightly more worn part of the sofa. She arranged some of the cushions by layering them on top of one another and viola, it was as if my couch had a face lift! After that, she helped me lay out and incorporate my grey and white Skip Hop play mats to mimic my black, grey and white wool rug and made the living area suitable both for my kids and keeping the area stylish and functional.
Alex then suggested ways to help me declutter a bit. I don’t know about you Mamas, but I’m a bit of a packrat – I keep absolutely everything! It’s also amazing how much I accumulated after living in Hong Kong for so many years. It was now a good time to go through all my things and start donating or getting rid of items I no longer used or needed. The best way to make your space look immediately bigger is by decluttering and putting things away neatly. I have a bench where my whole family usually leaves our purses, gym bags and backpacks laying on top. To be honest, I thought it looked neat already, but when we put those away in the closets and our rooms, there was an immediate difference! Some of this may be common sense for some of you, but it definitely helped having a fresh pair of eyes help you reimagine your place.
At the end of our hour long consultation, she had given me ideas on how to get organised, what pieces of furniture could be moved and used for other rooms and suggested places to buy art, plants and furniture to make the look complete. Within a few days, I received a written report via email with all the contacts and info I needed to make the next steps.
Here are a few extra tips from Alex to help all of us out a bit:
What is one piece of advice you’d give homeowners to spruce up any space?
To spruce a place up I would start by recommending a decluttering (it’s amazing how much we collect without realising it!). Change or update the covers on your scatter cushions to match the season (have a look at the fashion trends, interiors tend to follow!), add a throw, move your art around (providing you have the wall space!).
How can mamas make their spaces multipurpose? (for example, living room/playroom)
Most families we know will use their rooms for multi purposes whether it be Sitting room/playroom, dining room / study (homework), the same for bedrooms these can be bedrooms/playroom/study (homework) or guest bedrooms, study, gym. But the most important thing is to keep things clean, tidy and simple and then it doesn’t become overwhelming.
What is your tip for styling small spaces?
For small spaces I would always recommend keeping the furniture colour palette neutral and add colour with the accessories. Make sure the furniture is the right size for the space, we often buy too large and too much, don’t over crowd a small room and of course, declutter!
If you are keen to have your home spruced up a bit or are looking for ways to organise your space – you should definitely get in touch with Alex from The Home Stylist.
Find out more on their website: www.thehomestylist.org