Kerr Drummond’s top tips for making your first home your dream home

Kerr Drummond’s top tips for making your first home your dream home

Whilst moving into your first home is a real life milestone, it’s a time which is extremely hectic. Once you’ve got your house bought, and are finally moved in, it’s time to get cracking and stamp your own personal style on the home. If you’re searching for the best ways of making your first home into your dream home, here are some top tips, courtesy of interior designer and TV personality, Kerr Drummond.

Don’t be scared!

For most first time buyers, once the expense of investing in your new home is committed to there won’t be a huge amount of cash left for home improvements, so don’t be scared to do some of the work yourself – modern tools and materials are so well designed that even a complete novice shouldn’t be scared to try a bit of DIY. Tasks such as wallpapering and painting are easier now than they have ever been and if you are unsure use the internet as it is full of information. Take the Solvite “Help & Advice” section for example, which has lots of useful videos and a really handy tool that helps you choose the right product for each individual job.

Don’t be tempted to do loads of work on your new home as soon as you move in.

My most successful designs are achieved when I’m working with a client who has lived in the property for a while first. Having lived in the property for some time you will gain a lot of information such as which rooms benefit from natural light and which don’t – this is especially important when it comes to decorating, choosing colour schemes etc. You will also find out what does and doesn’t work about the existing layout in the kitchen and bathrooms, which will allow you to come up with improved designs for these rooms if necessary.

Trust your taste and don’t give in to trends.

The look I always try to achieve is one that is timeless.

Wallpaper is your friend!

Consider wallpapering as oppose to painting, especially in older properties where the plaster finish on walls is not great – a decent filler, lining and wallpaper will hide these imperfections and won’t cost you nearly as much as re-plastering and then decorating.

Consider which room is most important to you.

For some the kitchen is the heart of the home, for others it’s the living room. Allocate your budget accordingly.

Don’t be scared of adding some personality to your new home.

Too many people obsess over keeping their home neutral (another word for Beige) in case they ever want to sell it…I think we should be more inclined to worry about this once we have actually decided to sell the property – redecorating before a sale is not something we should be scared of. So if flock wallpaper and rich colours are your thing go for it!

Use local specialists.

If you are investing in a new kitchen or bathroom head down to a local independent specialist as oppose to one of the national brands – they will be more inclined to give you what you want as oppose to what they have been told to sell to you by head office. They will also develop a relationship with you, which should serve you well as you climb the property ladder.

Visit design shows to get inspiration.

Magazines are great but being able to see products first hand is really important. Many manufacturers use design shows to showcase new products so you will be up to date on what is on the market – be it kitchens, bathrooms or wall coverings.

Make a scrap book of design ideas and styles that you like, from magazine cuttings. Continuity of theme when home decorating is often a good idea to make the whole house work aesthetically and feel right but many of us don’t know what style it is that we like until we put all our ideas together and see that there is a theme running through it.

Don’t be tempted to buy copy-cat-products just because they’re cheaper.

Whether it’s kitchen appliances or wallpaper paste, in the world of interior design and D.I.Y. you generally get what your pay for so stick to a brand you know and trust.

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Spring decorating to brighten your home
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Spring decorating to brighten your home


Thanks to Jeska Hearne, the author of Lobster and Swan blog, for the creation of her article exclusively for First Home News. 

Jeska is an interior design writer who lives to make her (and hopefully our) surroundings a happier, more beautiful place. Her interest began when she was in college where she studied Graphic design and design communication, and developed her obsession with the beautiful pages of Vogue and Elle. 


Freshen the air indoor areas of your home with a deep Spring clean. I’m loving all the Spring cleaning activity on Pinterest at the moment, with  lots of lists of all the things I could easily do when I get the cleaning kit out. With lots of lovely brands offering natural cleaning products that smell as good as perfume these days, it doesn’t have to be a thankless task carry out that much needed clean.

Here’s my checklist, and although it isn’t all so fun, all will be worth it in the end when you can put your feet up in a fresh relaxing home:

  • Safety first – check smoke and carbon monoxide detector batteries.
  • Clean out and tidy your kitchen cupboards and fridge, discarding anything that is past it’s expiration dates.
  • Dust, vacuum and mop floors and skirting boards.
  • Flip or rotate your mattress.
  • Clean mirrors, light bulbs and windows to let all that extra light in.
  • Wash pillows and curtains to help reduce allergens and dust mites.
  • Hang rugs and throws out in the fresh air on a clothes line to freshen.
  • Open all doors and windows to thoroughly ventilate your whole house with fresh spring air.

Add a rug

I enjoy plain and simple interior settings but love to add a surprising splash of colour with soft furnishings and decorative details that can easily be swapped into different rooms throughout the year. A soft rug underfoot is all the better if it comes with a bold pattern to lift a room aesthetically.

Creative art

Create living art installations using blossom, spring flowers and twigs. I’m a huge fan of two tone apple blossoms and cherry is another option if you’re looking for a shabby chic look. Utilise frilly blooms, which look lovely in vases or tied together on a front door and do things like scattering edible petals on tiered cakes to use as gifts if you’re visiting friends. There’s nothing more joyful than being handed a posy of pretty coloured flowers after all the greyness of Winter.


For an instant spring wow moment decorate the treads of your stairs with vintage floral wallpaper. I loved this idea the minute I discovered it in a book I was reviewing. To paper your own,  just cut to size and glue pretty patterned papers to your stair treads with a wash of PVA glue and then seal them with another layer. Once dry, use a clear matt varnish to create a more protective finish.

Image credits: Rug via Gabba Gabba Gorgeous, Spring Cleaning via House to Home.

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