Having looked around the apartments available at Gallions Place, the next question might well be how to transform these smart new spaces into a cosy and welcoming home. Everyone knows the feeling of walking into a friend’s house and being struck by an instant feeling of comfort. Is it down to the people who live there, how they decorate the space, or a sense that the four walls emit? The truth is something else is at play. It’s that these spaces feel real and are an authentic reflection of the person or family who lives there. Here’s how to do it (spoiler warning: it doesn’t cost the earth).
1. Make your mark in the Royal Docks
Your new apartment is a creative opportunity. There are some design rules to follow (such as having enough storage so that clutter has somewhere to go) but otherwise it’s about making the space personal. A home should ultimately be an expression of the people who live there, so surround yourself with things that you like from the outset. By all means copy schemes from others—Pinterest boards are excellent for this—but don’t feel compelled to leave your new bathroom walls white just because you’ve been told that it’s the cleanest colour. Remember, paint is fine to experiment with—if you make a mistake, it’s easy to fix.
2. Mix old and new
Even though all the fixtures and fittings in your new home will be brand new, avoid the temptation to buy all the furniture you need you need from the same shop. Mix things up. In the interior design trade, this is called “layering”. Decorators pull together pieces of furniture, art and objects from different places (often blending high end with high street) to fast-track a look that appears to have evolved naturally over time. One of the best ways to do this inexpensively is to search through local antique markets and bric-a-brac stores. Residents of the Royal Docks have a host of choices on the doorstep including Emmaus in Poplar and Treasure Trove in Greenwich Peninsular. Not only is it often true that antique and vintage pieces of furniture are often better made and more solid than their modern counterparts, but they will add instant warmth and interest to the home.
3. Bring the green inside
Here at Gallions Place, the wraparound floor-to-ceiling windows are designed to make the most of the views. Whether overlooking the riverside gardens, landscaped courtyards the treetop canopy or taking in longer views of surrounding parks, why not bring some of the greenery indoors? Even it’s just a few pots of growing herbs by the sink, many have reported the benefits of biophilia (the innate human instinct to connect with nature and living things) so having plants in the house, bringing the outside inside, looks great and can improve cognitive function and physical health, too (even better for those working from home some of the time).
4. Use colour
Experiment with colour, even if it’s just a border along the walls or paint a piece of furniture to add a pop of something unexpected. Take inspiration from your dockside location and create a palette based on the surrounding blues and greens of water and gardens. Or wait for one of the crimson sunsets to fall over Canary Wharf and draw in colour combinations from there. Annie Sloan sells hassle-free furniture paint in lots of interesting hues which requires no sanding (and no expertise). When deciding on wall colours, take a leaf out of decorating books and paint an A2 sized paint patch of your chosen colours on the lightest and darkest walls in the same room to see how natural light affects the shade. This is especially important for finding a white paint because it changes so much depending on the quality of the light. Another technique is to line bookshelves with colourful patterned paper (wrapping paper will work).
5. Wall art
With lots of expansive blank walls to fill, it might be an idea to take a look around the local Royal Docks gallery Art in the Docks which features changing exhibitions of the work of E16-based artists. When placing pictures, remember that gallery walls—where pictures are “close hung”—add immediate impact and interest to a room and also provide a focal point for conversations. It doesn’t have to made up of high art; posters and photographs in plain black frames look great.
6. Sensory overload
Think about all the senses—a home should smell as good as it looks. Cultivate a fresh scent with flowers or potted plants such as hyacinths, scented candles, clean laundry or big bars of soap. These little things combine to create that homely feeling when you open your front door.
7. Light well
Consider your lighting. All the apartments at Gallions Place are equipped with low-energy LED fittings—these are great both for the environment as well as your pocket as they cost a lot less to run. When choosing bulbs, avoid “cool white” spotlights which will immediately render any into a dentist’s consulting room (arguably the one exception for this could be bathrooms but even then the light is unforgiving). Instead, go for warm white bulbs and then add wall sconces (where possible) as well floor lamps and table lamps.
8. Clear out clutter
Your new apartment represents a fresh start and while a bit of clutter is normal too much can quickly chip away at atmosphere. A home is a dynamic space that evolves over time so be sure to book regularly points into the calendar when you commit to clearing out clutter, sending old clothes and unread books to charity shops.
9. Introduce natural materials
Each of the apartments at Gallions Place have been designed with high-spec contemporary kitchens and bathrooms in a clean palette of neutral white, grey and stone. It presents the perfect opportunity to contrast with accents of natural materials—a bamboo basket, a solid-wood coffee table, a sheepskin rug or some boucle wool cushions—all will add interest and help soften the spaces.
10. Consider scale
This is another decorator trick which will sew a room together every time: balance large with small. That is true of both furniture (use an oversized headboard in second or third bedrooms for example) and patterns, be sure to play with scale to create a really appealing living space.
References to “we”, “us” or “our” are to the part of the Vistry Group (including Linden Homes, Bovis Homes, Countryside Homes, Drew Smith, Vistry Ventures or one of Vistry’s joint venture companies) from which you are intending to purchase a new home. References to "you” and “your” are to the prospective buyer or buyers of a new home from us.
All images are used for illustrative purposes only and are representative only. They may not be the same as the actual home you purchase and the specification may differ. Images may be of a slightly different model of home. Individual features such as windows, brick, carpets, paint and other material colours may vary and also the specification of fittings may vary. Any furnishings and furniture are not included in any sale. Please check with our sales consultants for details of the exact specifications available at the development(s) for each type of home and the associated prices.