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Interior Design - The 7 deadly sins PDF Print E-mail

Thursday, 07 July 2011 01:40

There are times when, try as you might, your house disappoints you. You can't put a finger on it, but your home seems to languish under a general malaise. It is not tidy, well-decorated, fashionable or worth enough. Above all, it just doesn't seem as, well, nice as the other houses you happen to visit.

If you recognise these symptoms, you are probably suffering from one of the Seven Deadly Sins of Householding. Banish these gremlins from your life and you will soon have a happier relationship with your home.

1 Envy House envy is usually born while flicking through a property magazine or watching an episode of Grand Designs. If not kept in check, it can take over your life. There is bathroom envy, experienced when you pop to the "little room" during a dinner party, only to discover that your friends prance around a walk-through rainburst shower and Claudio Silvestrin stone bath.

Then there is kitchen envy. This can be aimed at that four-oven Aga owned by your sister-in-law, or the spotless nature of your neighbour's gleaming granite worktops.

But by far the most terrible manifestation is the financial envy suffered when the person to whom you sold your previous home then sells it for a higher price. My advice is to let it go and move on. It's all you can do.

2 Covetousness I once persuaded my parents to festoon my windows with apricot ruched blinds after I spotted my best friend's house with blinds in their porch. Hers were the epitome of chic. Mine however, looked like one of those flounced Sixties lavatory roll covers.

3 Gluttony Must you have that giant plasma screen, or a £10,000 Christopher Pillet sofa? Buying the top end of everything just because it is out there does not make your house more comfortable or stylish. It's worth taking time to shop around, work out what suits your rooms and find the best deal.

4 Pride We all like to show off now and then. But inviting people around just so they can admire your new Toile de Jouy curtains or that marvellous artwork in the stairwell is not really done. By all means, dance around your house singing about its loveliness. But do it on your own, with the curtains drawn.

5 Sloth It's very easy to be slothful about repetitive, boring household tasks. Not putting away clean washing which then lies around the house in Persil-scented drifts. Not dealing with dirty washing, which then lies around the house in not-so-friendly-smelling drifts.

Not clearing the dishwasher, so that everything inside goes mouldy. Basically, not being disciplined with regard to your house. The effect of sloth means your home will slowly, but surely, turn into a large version of a Petri dish where germs can fester. If you're no longer a student, why live like one?

6 Lust Bedrooms should be action-inspiring. I lay on a hotel bed the other day which faced a giant window filled with the skyline of New York. It was heady stuff. But your bedroom should not be the only amazing room in the house – it is not

good to revel in the fact that you have, say, a silk-lined, feather-filled boudoir scented with Jo Malone, while other rooms must get by with splintered chairs and stained carpets. Spread the decorating joy.

7 Anger Parts of your house can infuriate you. That loose bit of carpet you are always tripping over. The ill-positioned wire which stops the door from shutting properly. The wonky bookshelf or the blown light bulbs. Go into each room and quickly do an audit about the things which annoy you. Then fix them.

A drooping curtain in my son's room has been on my nerves for months. Finally, last week I borrowed some nails from my father and secured it for good. It took about four minutes. The result; an anger-free room.

Avoid these seven pitfalls and you won't go too far wrong, but don't go mad about it. Like a life, a house without any sin at all would be very dull.

Source: Rosie Millard, Published in the Telegraph


Bonnes Vacances by Rosie Millard costs £8.99 plus 99p p&p. Telegraph Books: 0844 8711515 or books.telegraph.co.uk.

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