My Interior Resolutions for 2019 (Part 1)

So that’s it, we’re nearly done for 2018. I have had a great interiors year. I joined Instagram in May, started posting with trepidation (and mostly confusion), have met some great people along the way (and keeping on doing so), unlocked my confidence (both in term of my personal confidence to do/say things and interiors confidence) and have been immersed into a whole world of inspiration.

This blog has been a huge move for me. This is the kind of thing I would normally think about doing, but never dare do in case someone says something negative. So far, the response has been overwhelmingly positive. I anticipate this may not always be the case, but I have mechanisms in my head to deal with any negativity. Constructive criticism is different though. I love that and it helps me develop.

I am also ‘marketing’ my blog as an ever-changing beast. Something that will grow and evolve with me as my interiors side-hustle develops. It will (hopefully) become a bit more regular (e.g. same time each week, rather than just any old time) and continue to be my creative outlet and a source of some inspiration to you all; whether that be your own interiors or your own online social media presence.

So, to finish off the year, I am doing a two-parter focusing on my 10 Interiors New Year Resolutions for 2019. In part, the hope is by making my resolutions ‘public’ I stand slightly more chance of actually sticking to a few of them beyond February. We’ll see.

1.Blog, blog, blog

I’ve got nothing interesting to say. Everyone’s blogging, and they’re all so much better than me. I’ve got no ‘interiors credibility’. I’ll do it when I get to two-thousand followers. No three-thousand. I’ll do it in 2019. Perhaps, 2020. Okay, you get the picture. These were all the things going around in my head. So, I decided to take control of my self-doubt and went, you know what, this is going to be one of my 2019 New Year Resolutions BUT I’m going to start it right now, otherwise I will never get on with it.

So, all of those thoughts, whilst they do crop up now and again, just get over-ridden by me saying ‘are you enjoying blogging?’ and ‘do you want to carry on blogging?’. The answer to both, is yes. If only one or two of you read it and take something from it, then that’s great. And I get to fulfil a nice creative hobby and interest of mine; writing. So, self-doubt aside, I plan to plough on.

I would also say to anyone else thinking about starting a blog of their own, go for it. It’s a really inexpensive thing to do, and with such a supportive community, you will have the help out there to get cracking. It’s also a nice way to just organise your thoughts and share your ideas. Remember, only people who are interested will read it, so it’s a fairly safe space.

So, for 2019 I will be making the pledge to blog weekly. I will use it to talk about my own home, ideas and also, most importantly, as a platform to share some of the accounts I love and keep going back to for various ideas and inspiration.

2. Keep it in perspective

This has to have been one of my biggest learning curves. Scrolling through Instagram can be a wonderful experience. It can also plunge you into a pit of despair. Whether that be about the size of your rooms, the style of your home, the type of furniture, your photographs. Whatever it is, you can question your own home and whether it’s good enough for ‘the Gram’.

I admit to feeling all these things. A lot. Especially in the earlier days. Now though, if I ever dare to think this, I give myself a good telling off. At the end of the day, I have a lovely, warm, safe home to return to every evening. I know exactly where I am bedding down each night. This is undoubtedly more important than anything else. So yes, my kitchen and bathroom could do with a revamp. But I have hot water and access to food. I’ve got nothing to worry about.

Now this might sound hard-line. But essentially, that’s the long and short of it in my mind. I know I have interior ambitions for the ever-evolving No. 31. I don’t have the resource to do it all straight away and patience isn’t my greatest virtue. But so be it. I’ll get there eventually. But what I have is far more than some people and for that reason. And will try my best to remember this if I ever start the unhealthy comparisons.  It’s also a good idea to not always look at your home through the lens of your camera, and actually see what you really have around you!

3. Do it for me

I have found myself scouring the internet trying to find all sorts of weird and wonderful things. You know, the sort of things that suddenly appear on loads of people’s feeds. I won’t name them specifically. That goes against the ethos of what I’m about (and this point more specifically) which is that everyone should just do as they want and what they enjoy. But there are some trends I just can’t get on board with. And I now realise, that’s fine.

This doesn’t mean you can’t be influenced by inspiration though. Absolutely not. My last blog documented my move over to darker interiors. It was Instagram, and some of the wonderful accounts that I follow, that gave me both the confidence and inspiration to have a go at something a bit different. And, I’ve genuinely loved the transformation, which means I am now planning darker interiors for other rooms. But this is because that’s what I want to do not what I think I should be doing to get the likes.

So for 2019, anything that comes into this house is because I want or need it, rather than because ‘it might make a good photograph’.

4. Be more independent

Now I have to admit, I’m a bit of a Homesense fiend. Since one opened close by, I find myself in there at least once a week. I tend to go for a wander around as my Monday night treat (don’t judge). I actually refer to it, jokingly, as my ‘happy place’! But, through Instagram, I have found absolutely loads of wonderful independent businesses and through various conversations, I’ve realised how hard these people work to make their business run. And how grateful they are when you support them. And as a consumer, I would much rather my money going into the pockets of these people who I actually know, engage with and, in a number of cases, have actually become friends with. So before I make any more purchases, I’ll be thinking about whether any of the indie businesses would be able to supply me with something similar and check them out first!

4. Ditch the trades

Getting reliable tradespeople, as I’m sure we all know, can be quite the task. It doesn’t seem to matter what I want doing, I can’t get people to commit. It’s perplexing, as I am prepared to pay them! So, I’m taking control. I’m ditching them. Okay, not entirely. I promise to go nowhere near the electrics. And plumbing will be a last resort. No, I’m referring to the kinds of jobs I could probably try and have a go at, but currently just see as something only a qualified expert would be able to do. Their unreliability means jobs don’t get done at all and then no room is finished, which is so frustrating.

So I’m going to start simple. Try to get some skirting boards done in the home office for example. And, more importantly for me, I am going to remember that I need to be patient and if it goes wrong the first time, look for solutions, don’t walk away from it mumbling ‘I can’t do DIY’. I am not the best, but that’s because I’ve not given it the time it needs to practice. So for 2019 I am changing this. I am going to have a go and who knows, I might get some of the niggly jobs done and dusted once and for all.

So these are my first five Interior Resolutions. Tune in again later in the week for the next five pledges for 2019. In the meantime, I would like to thank you for your support so far and here’s to a wonderful 2019.

What’s happening over at Number 31?

There goes a saying, which many people have laid claim to, including, apparently, Albert Einstein, Henry Ford and even Mark Twain, “if you always do what you’ve always done, you will always get what you’ve always got”.

Does anyone else have all these little ideas about what you really want to try to do and achieve? But inevitably, at the end of each day, as you put your feet up, stick the TV on and even pour that drink, you find you’ve not done a thing towards it. I am that person. While I am busy, and wouldn’t say I’m particularly lazy, I certainly am Chief Procrastinator. I constantly say I want to develop my own business (but doing what?), I want to upcycle furniture (because I love it), I want to write more, read more, cook more creatively. Often, these activities get bound up in a set of New Year’s Resolutions, accompanied by a number of fancy notebooks to help kick them off. What happens? You’ve guessed it. I have a stack of empty notebooks.

So taking the philosophy from the quote above, I have finally bitten the bullet, and started to push my side hustle forward. On a day-to-day basis, life doesn’t often give me much of a creative outlet. Earlier this year, I happened to come across a little thing called Instagram. It was here that I found a way of channelling some of this energy by taking snap shots of my little house in Derbyshire. Over this time, I have met some fantastic people, have gained some incredible inspiration and, importantly, developed my confidence. On that latter point, when talking about confidence I am not just talking about being bolder with my interiors, but actually to push forward with the things I really enjoy and being just a little less scared to reveal more about me. Do I think my house is the best looking on the Gram? No. Are my photos the highest quality? No. My house is not the biggest, not the most completed, but it is a happy home. And, despite what I think, at the point of writing I’ve got 1,600 followers, many of who often say very nice things about it to me. And at the end of the day, it’s mine, I love it and I enjoy the ever-evolving process of switching things up. So I’m embracing it!

Living room painted in Hague Blue (Farrow & Ball) and Gentle Shadows (Valspar)

And here we are! I’ve done it. I’ve tied up at least one loose end. I plan to use this website in a couple of ways. First and foremost, it will be an extension of @gareth_at_31. I will talk about my home, what I’ve done, what I’m planning and the different ways you can also start to be braver with whatever look you’re going for. I will also use the blog to talk about accounts that have inspired me and continue to do so regularly. I find Instagram has been an incredibly positive and encouraging space and the support my little account has had from everyone has been wonderful. So it will be a way of giving back and continuing to spread this goodwill and support. And finally, it will be where I can talk about my upcycling projects. I am planning to start to sell pieces I upcycle, as part of my drive to develop my interior-related work and here I will be able to talk about what I’ve done and what’s available.

I’m hoping to be able to make this a regular thing, and offer content that’s of interest to you all. So please get in touch with ideas, thoughts, suggestions. And I hope you all enjoy reading.