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The secret to making a rental feel like your own home

Pieces of Me: Jedda Downey, production manager and blogger

Jedda Downey: "Your home should be filled with things you love and that make you happy even if no one else likes them or they’re not on-trend.”

Jedda Downey is the creative mind behind The Interiors Magpie, a blog and social media space devoted to celebrating affordable, beautiful interiors. In addition, she works in television production in Ireland and the UK and is the production manager for many of TV3’s flagship shows such as The Restaurant, The Great Irish Bake Off, and Daniel & Majella’s B&B Road Trip. Downey is also design assistant to Neville Knott on Neville’s Doorstep Challenge and Showhouse Showdown. Born in Ireland, she has also called Australia, South Africa and London home. She currently lives in Harold’s Cross in what she calls “a champagne home on a beer budget”.

Describe your interiors style

Simple and bright with pops of colour, with a touch of whimsy. I’m a firm believer that your home should be filled with things you love and that make you happy even if no one else likes them or they’re not on-trend.

How long have you lived here and have you done much work to it?

I’ve been here for four years and it’s a rental, so the only thing I can change is the furniture. Just because you live in a rental doesn’t mean it can’t, or shouldn’t, feel like your own home. Absolutely everything I have is removable but it feels very much like my space. 3M Command Strips are a renter’s best friend.

Which room do you most enjoy and why?

I’m very fortunate to have a little utility room with a door that hides all my tools, supplies and general “stuff”. When I moved in the very first thing I did was fit out the space with floor-to-ceiling shelves from Ikea and then label virtually everything. It’s the secret to living in a small space, especially if you’re not a minimalist or naturally tidy.

What would you save from a fire?

I have a large box with about a million photos of my nieces and nephews from when they were little (and before everyone had iPhones), so I’d save that.

Your favourite gadget or machine?

This is so unsexy but, honestly, the best thing I’ve bought in the last five years was my Bosch Athlet cordless vacuum cleaner. When you live in a small or open-plan space, mess gets magnified and bulky hoovers just take up too much valuable real estate, so this “toy” ticks all the boxes and I use it every single day (mainly because I’m an incredibly messy cook).

What’s your best tip for keeping things tidy?

It may seem obvious, but think about and look at how you actually live. If you are the kind of person who removes their shoes the minute you walk in the door, then place a shoe storage rack in the hall. If you constantly throw your clothes on the bathroom floor, then place a laundry hamper in the bathroom. Go vertical: put hooks everywhere, back of doors, inside presses, as it keeps things off the ground and at eye level, making it easier to put them away when you are done with them. Lastly, have things to hand. For example, I have my earrings and necklaces on display on hooks in the bathroom, so not only are they nice to look at, it’s also being practical.

“I’m currently having a gold pineapple moment so they’re dotted about the place”

Do you collect anything specific?

I used to collect snow globes, but living in a tiny home doesn’t really lend to having big collections, so now I just do little vignettes instead which I can change around depending on my mood or season. I’m currently having a gold pineapple moment so they’re dotted about the place.

Which artist do you most admire?

Jonathan Adler. He’s an American potter and my all-time favourite designer. He creates happy and that for me, is an art form. I own a Jonathan Adler St Moritz needlepoint pillow and a yellow vase and I love them both.

The biggest interiors turn-off for you?

Magnolia anything. It’s a muddy colour and it doesn’t actually go with anything except taupe and beige. I’d ban builders from using it if I could. If in doubt, paint it white because it literally goes with everything.

Your favourite travel destination and why?

London. I lived there for a year when the 2012 Olympic Games were on and I loved it as a city. I find something hopeful and optimistic about London, like something wonderful could happen at any moment. Plus, wandering the streets of London, coffee in hand, looking at all the beautiful houses is bliss.

What does home mean to you?

It’s a place where you feel like yourself, where you shut the door behind you and exhale; instantly feeling safe and at ease. It’s a vital part of everyone’s mental health and its importance shouldn’t be underestimated.