Let’s face it, while we all might enjoy leafing through the pages of Elle Interiors for inspiration, our own homes are more likely to be governed by our pockets than our inclinations. If your decor is looking a little sorry for itself and a full makeover is out of the question, there’s still plenty you can do to transform the space without too much of an investment. Here are our top tips.
The importance of the right accessories in a room can’t be overestimated. If you keep the background fairly neutral, you can use accessories to add texture and blocks of colour or to dip a toe into current trends. They’re a quick, easy and relatively inexpensive way of giving a room a quick facelift. Draw attention away from certain areas of the room by using bold colour elsewhere to catch the eye and re-focus attention where you want it.
We’re all about keeping it simple. If you can’t afford to replace the sofa, a couple of cheap throws in contrasting textures such as faux fur and bright wool check will give it a new lease of life. Invest in some new scatter cushions, or make new covers for existing cushions to finish the look.
Battered furniture can be given a completely new lease of life with a coat of paint. The ‘shabby chic’ look is particularly suitable for older, more traditional pieces of furniture, and the good news is that it’s almost impossible to get wrong!
‘Brown furniture’ such as 1930s tables and desks is unfashionable at the moment, and can be picked up for a song at auction houses and in charity shops before being repainted. To get the look, apply a coat of acrylic paint and let it dry completely. Then, use a sponge to apply a coat of clear wax along the edges. Apply a second coat of paint in a different colour, and let it dry completely. Use a dry cloth to rub the areas where you applied the wax to reveal the first colour underneath. Seal the whole piece of furniture with acrylic varnish.
4. Reflect your style
Mirrors are great for adding light to a room. They’re cheaper than artwork, and you’re less likely to go off them! Revamp an old mirror by painting the frame as above, or giving it a coat of coloured varnish.
Reducing the number of items in a room will give it a much more spacious look and feel. Try changing the furniture around, as well, for an instantly different feel.
6. Add some scent
As humans, we’re very sensitive to atmosphere and scents are very evocative. Positioning light, fresh scent diffusers and scented candles around the room can really change your perception of your environment! Uplifting scents such as mint and citrus work well.
7. Clever lighting
Lighting is another easy and inexpensive way to change the feel of a room. Adding lots of mood lighting, such as candles, table lamps, standard lamps and wall lights mean you can adjust the feel from cosy and intimate to open and energetic. Installing lights with dimmer switches means you have absolute control.
Fresh flowers always add something to a room, and they needn’t break the bank. Use cheaper flowers such as daisies and carnations, or dark leaves from the garden, to bulk out more expensive purchases. In autumn, branches of rowan, with their bright berries attached, as well as early holly berries, laurel and pine can make a lovely (and free!) display.
9. Get creative
An easy way to transform the look and feel of a room cheaply is to paint just one wall in a contrasting colour – or to paint the ceiling a different tone to the walls. If you use neutral shades, you can add colour through your choice of accessories.
10. Buy wisely
If you only have a small budget, considering ‘splurging’ it all on something you really love, such as an armchair or ornament. Investing in something that gives you pleasure every time you see it could be just the mood lifter you need.