Shade, an interiors and DIY content creator, lives with her partner in Newcastle in a three-bedroom new-build house which the couple purchased in October 2018.
‘The only thing with new builds is that they can be quite compact, as they’re built to be quite efficient with space,’ says Shade. ‘Older houses have got high ceilings and bigger rooms, while new builds are a little smaller, but it’s a decent size for my first home and I enjoy being here.’
In making her house a home, Shade has documented room makeovers, DIY projects and upcycled Facebook Marketplace finds, alongside stylish neutral interiors inspiration on her Instagram account (@_homeofshade) and YouTube channel.
Saying ‘no’ to trends
Shade’s love for interiors goes back to when she was younger where she recalls constantly updating and moving furniture around in her bedroom. ‘It was the only space that was mine that I could do that in,’ she explains.
But now in a home of her own, Shade admits she goes through ‘phases’ after each makeover. ‘As soon as I’ve decorated a room I absolutely love it and it’s my new favourite room, and then with all my other ones I’m like, “I’m over that now”. Honestly, everything is a work in progress. I’ll never be happy. In four months’ time I’ll probably be saying that the dining room needs to change,’ she says.
For many, Instagram is a key source of inspiration and Shade’s saved folder, ‘Dream House’, is currently filled with images of huge houses with floor to ceiling glass windows overlooking fields, bathtubs, and massive kitchens with islands.
Shade now has a clear vision of her own interior style, but it wasn’t always that way. ‘There was a point where every single room in my home had a different style – I had an industrial room, and I had a grey and glitzy room. I’m starting to move into the softer, more sophisticated look, using blacks and neutral colours, and nice materials and textures,’ she explains.
‘I am now against trends because I know how much it influenced me. I was dipping into all of these trends and it’s really hard to keep up with. It looks really nice in other people’s houses but then when you come to implement it yourself you don’t really fall in love with it.’
Creative DIY projects
Shade lists Homesense, Amazon and Dunelm as some of her go-to home stores, alongside online boutiques and Instagram shops, but when she’s not buying new furnishings, she’s busy undertaking DIY projects around the home.
Shade is big on DIY for many reasons: it gives her a sense of achievement and she’s able to pass on tips and learnings to her 75,000-strong Instagram followers. Whether it’s the large grid mirror in the hallway that, as she notes, ‘would probably cost £160 from a well known mirror company’ but only cost £70 at a push to make, or the downstairs loo which took her just three days to complete, Shade isn’t afraid to tackle projects hands-on.
‘I love doing DIY so much, I feel like it’s therapy for me,’ she explains. ‘It’s so good for my mental health and I achieve so much from it. I learn stuff all the time from using new tools and techniques, and I can then share that with my followers who can implement that in their own spaces. I’m happy when I get messages from them and I love empowering other people, especially women.’
Shade loves finding items on Facebook Marketplace or in furniture shops and turning it into her next upcycling project – a lick of paint turns old into new, and importantly, saves a lot of money.
One prime example is her dining room. ‘My dining room was an absolute mess. My table was too big for the room as you had to squeeze against the walls to get around it. It did my head in because I couldn’t put anything else in the room,’ says Shade.
‘So I soon got rid of that and on Facebook Marketplace I found a lady selling a table for £50, but I managed to haggle the price down to £25. It’s a round table and I just had this vision that I wanted to paint it black, so I did. It’s much smaller and I can fit other things in the room now – I’ve got a nice console table in there, a cabinet and a bookshelf.’
More recently, Shade has been transforming her walls with bespoke art. ‘My Grandad was a really amazing artist and he taught me a few things, but I hadn’t done it for years. I decided to do it recently with some canvases and it’s just so easy to create and affordable as well,’ she explains. ‘Since doing my own art and canvases, I’ve fallen back in love with my living room, it’s all I can post on my Instagram now!’
What makes an Instagrammable photo? Good lighting, a good angle, lust-worthy interiors, the list goes on. Shade loves to see home renovations, plastered walls and ‘mess everywhere’ from the accounts she follows on Instagram, but that’s not necessarily what you’ll find on her Instagram account.
‘Every single time I put a picture up on Instagram I stress about what you can and can’t see,’ she admits. ‘I honestly take about 50-100 pictures of the same angle of the same room. They pretty much all look the same but I’ll narrow it down to the top three and then I’ll pick the perfect one. It stops me uploading something on my grid as much as I could do if I was much more free and snap happy.
‘It can be quite stressful and that is quite common across the home accounts. You get into a thing where you feel like you need to perceive your house as absolutely perfect all the time, when in reality you don’t, and people like being in the moment and seeing all the flaws.’
The other, sometimes daunting, aspect of social media is just pressing that publish button and waiting for the comments to flood in.
‘My downstairs loo got some harsh comments on a DIY/room transformation Facebook group. I didn’t know it was going to be posted on the group, and I saw the comments – I was expecting it to be like Instagram where they don’t seem to be as opinionated.
‘I panelled the lower half of the loo and painted it black and I wallpapered the top half with a glitter tree wallpaper which I felt was so bold and in your face. I feel that if there’s any room in the house that you could go bold it’s the downstairs loo. The top comment said something like, “all of that effort for a downstairs loo” and then someone else said it looked a club loo, and another said I was stupid for putting panelling in there.
‘There were some harsh comments and I remember being a bit taken aback. That hit my ego a bit. While I thought my loo was looking spick and span, not everyone agreed with it. I think sometimes harsh comments are necessary but at the end of the day, it’s just a photo, they don’t live here. I just try to put things into perspective when I get comments like that. It can really take a toll on you and make you frantically try to please everyone, which is just impossible.’