Interior design Ireland | Interior designer Ireland
Interior design Ireland | Interior designer Ireland

How to Make your Home Work for You

by | Jan 20, 2020 | Interior Design

It starts with a feeling…you know you want to make your home work better for you. Other than feeling that it’s just not right, you don’t know where to start. You also want to do this in a sustainable and budget-friendly way. You are not about to throw everything out and start again.

Related: How to feel happier in your home

That’s why I’m here, I will guide you through the process of updating and refreshing your home so it’s not overwhelming. It’s not an instant fix but if you follow the guidelines below you’ll at least have made a start. There is no deadline on this, you don’t have to have it all done in a week, a month or a year. Just make a start.

If all of this seems overwhelming please do reach out and get in touch with me so I can help you through the process.

Style At No.5 Red Tulips

Creating a home takes time

You have your whole lifetime to create your home. Take your time and be intentional with what you do in it.

Style at No.5 Interiors

What I would say is that going out and buying random accessories on a whim will not get you where you want to be. I know it feels good at the time, I’ve been there. You’ll only come home with more “things” that you’re not sure work or fit in your space. And I know they looked good in the shop or in the magazine.

You want to make this year the year you think sustainably and create a home you love, without spending unnecessary money.

Style At No.5 Interiors
Style At No.5 Entryway white and coat holder.

Look at your home with design and function in mind

This is probably the hardest undertaking. You live there every day so it’s hard to see things objectively. You want to think about how the house functions for the people living there, not only how it looks.

This is a physical task, you’re going to walk around your home and look at it as objectively as you can. Maybe wait until everyone else is out of the house and you have an hour or two to yourself to really look at your home. Also make sure it’s fairly tidy, as you don’t want to be distracted by mess.

Style At No.5 White Hallway, refresh your home with plants and paint

Walk your home

Walk through your house, room by room with a notebook and pen and/or camera. Look at each area critically, but don’t be over critical. This is an exercise to allow you to make small changes that will improve your home, it’s not an exercise to make you think you need to redesign everything!

Take a photo

It might help to take a photo of each room and come back to it later. Again this is not for you to criticise every aspect of each room. Look at it and see the things you love as well as the things you might want to change. Maybe you love the artwork in the room but want to change how it’s displayed. Maybe you love the sofa but the cushions on it are a bit dull. Think of the memories created in the room and how it has worked for you over the years. It just might be time for a change.

Style At No.5 Blue walls in Living Room, Gallery wall. Simple way to refresh your home

Critique the room

Either, as you walk around, or later when you have some time to yourself, have a look at each room and think about it under the the following headings.


First thing to look at is the function of the room, either its planned use or how it is used by default. Be honest, there is no point saying it’s used as a formal dining room when in reality it’s beside the kitchen and gets used as a laundry room.

  • What is this room used for?
  • When is it used? Day or night?
  • Who uses it?
  • How often is it used?
  • Does it work in it’s current state?
  • Do you want or need to change what the room is used for?
Style At No.5 Grey kitchen cupboards, painted and updated to refresh your home


Look at the furniture you have in this room. Think about whether it works.

  • Is there a flow when you enter the room, is it easy to get around the furniture?
  • Could you change the furniture around?
  • Is the furniture the right size for the room?
  • Would the furniture work elsewhere in your home?
  • Have you furniture elsewhere that you could move in here?
  • If the room is a sitting room, for example, is there somewhere to sit and put a cup of tea down beside you? Can you see the TV easily and comfortably from every chair in the room?
Style At No.5 Grey Downpipe wall from Farrow and Ball


Colour in a room is very important, trust me I’ve tried out many paint samples in my time trying to get the right colour for a room.

  • How do I feel when I come into this room?
  • Are the colours working for me? Do I like the colours in this room?
  • Are they creating the right feeling in this room – energising, calming, welcoming etc.
  • When I look around the room are there any colours that stick out. This could be intentional like pops of colour on a bookcase or mantel but just notice them and whether you like them.
Style At No.5 Woad Blue walls in desk area in Living Room


Lighting really helps to create an atmosphere in a room and obviously it’s very important in the depths of an Irish winter! You don’t need every corner to be lit up but think about what happens in the room and if there is sufficient light for it.

  • Does the room have task lighting and atmospheric lighting?
  • Can you turn off the main light and have warmer, softer lights turned on?
  • In the kitchen for example is the worktop lit sufficiently? Can you see what you’re doing or is the light behind you and blocked by you standing there?
Style At No.5 Greensmoke paint colour from Farrow and Ball in kitchen and atmospheric lighting to refresh your home


Every room has “stuff”. Some of it necessary, like in the kitchen a kettle, a toaster, crockery etc., some of it less necessary, like piles of laundry, bills etc.

  • How much stuff is there in this room?
  • Do you need all this stuff in here? Could some of it be moved elsewhere or recycled?
  • Can you see it all or is some of it hidden in storage?
  • What stuff is decorative and what stuff is just functional?
Style At No.5 Bookshelves in Sitting Room

Make a plan to refresh your home

When you have gone through every room in your home, it’s time to make a plan. Be realistic, look at your budget, your available time, what you have coming up in the next few months and any deadlines you want to hit.

Think about what rooms you want to tackle first. Some rooms might only need a quick refresh while others might need more work.


The easiest way to refresh your home is to declutter. I know, I know, this is the dreaded step but it needs to be done. Follow any method you like, “one in one out”, “does it spark joy” a la Marie Kondo, hide stuff away for a month and see if you miss it.

Just remember you don’t need to do everything at once. Start with something small like a drawer or shelf and work from there. Set aside 30 minutes a day to decluttering and don’t give up if you miss a day or two. I guarantee you will feel better when you do it.

It goes without saying recycle what you are getting rid of, either to a charity shop or a recycling centre.

Related: How to Organise your Hotpress (Airing Cupboard)

Shop your home

Sometimes all it takes is simply moving something to a new room or changing it’s position in an existing room to refresh how it looks. Move furniture to make the room function better. Move plants into different corners, put together your prized collection of vases and display them, change a piece of art from one room to another.

Upcycle what you have

I’m not going to tell you to go out and buy a whole new selection of furniture for your home in 2022. That is neither sustainable nor budget friendly. Look at the pieces you have, are they good quality but maybe a bit tired? Could they be painted to refresh them (by you or someone else) or could you get them re-upholstered?

Paint something

Sometimes just buying a tin of paint and painting a wall or walls can make a huge difference. It can make your existing furniture and possessions come alive and invigorate you when you walk into the room.

Related: Inspiring paint projects to update your home

Alternatively consider painting your kitchen cupboards to give them a new lease of life.

Related: How to update kitchen cupboards with paint

Related: How to paint a radiator

Refresh your home, one room at a time

These are only a few tips but I hope they were helpful. I’d love to hear your feedback in the comments below.

If all of the above has gotten you thinking about refreshing your home but you feel you need a helping hand, contact me to find out how I can help you to style your house sustainably and create a home that you love.

So are you inspired to walk your home and make some changes?
Let me know in the comments below…

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  1. Veronica

    Great read Celine and great advice

  2. Audrey

    Enjoyed the blog. I would love some ideas for a small bathroom. It has a large shower, basin, toilet & of course the dreaded hotpress with immersion. About 20 years since it was done. Love some ideas on how to update.

    • Celine Gill

      Hi Audrey,
      Thanks for commenting. If you’d like to send me more details you can email me at and I can get back to you.

  3. Brigitte Singh

    I have found your blog very useful and I think it can help people like me to decorate our homes. Thanks and keep posting more!!!

    • Celine Gill

      Great to hear Brigitte, thank you so much for taking the time to comment. I am going to blog more in 2023 so keep an eye on the blog for updates!!


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