You don’t have to commit to paint or wallpaper to add a bit of colour to a room. These tips will help you to brighten up any room quickly and easily…
Add a fun splash of colour with one piece of statement furniture. This could be a bold sofa or armchair, or if you’re on more of a budget, a bright rug.
Fun wall vinyls
Wall vinyls are a great way to add colour to a room without having to commit by painting. They can easily be removed too which makes them a great option if you rent your property. These confetti-style vinyls are by CasaSunshine, available on Etsy
Colourful scatter cushions really brighten up a room. You don’t have to worry about co-ordinating with cushions either, a clashy style can look like a deliberate choice. Or you could choose cushions that don’t match one another but fit to a theme, for example florals or fur.
Ferns and florals
Add a bit of colour to your room with some greenery and get the added benefit of cleaner air. Palms and succulents are really easy to keep and don’t need regular watering. Or if you’re feeling extra lazy, you can buy very realistic plastic plants online (nobody will be able to tell!)
Get bright with lighting
Brighten up a home office or living room with a bright and quirky lamp. Or, add a colourful lampshade to a ceiling light fitting. You could even change them to suit the seasons, with bright spring colours during the sunnier months and warmer shades during winter.
Adding touches of complimenting colours across a room can help the style to look more put together. You don’t have to over do it, perhaps just match a rug to some throw pillows, and then add in some flowers of a similar shade.
It might seem that interior design trends come and go faster than you can say “what colour velvet sofa do I want?” But there are some solid tips and tricks that you can always rely on for elegant, timeless, style in your home…
Mix old and new
A great trick employed by interior designers is to incorporate old items, including antiques and inherited pieces, with newer furniture. The best way to approach this is to tailor your new purchases to the older items that you already have. Go for natural woods and simple designs in new furniture to compliment antiques without looking too mismatched.
Think about your bulbs
The lightbulb you choose makes a massive difference to the overall look of a light fixture. More than that, the type of lighting you have can alter the whole mood of a room. Do you want the room to be bright and bold, or snug and cosy? Lightbulbs themselves can be a great statement item – there are loads of interesting filament bulbs available and the prices have really come down since they first arrived on the market. A great filament bulb can even work in a bare fitting, with no need for a lampshade.
Clashing can be great
Carefully curated items that technically ‘clash’ can be a great style choice and help to give a room more personality. This works best in moderation. If your seating clashes, for example, go for a cohesive colour scheme for your walls and floors.
Keep it personal
Make your home really feel like your own by making personal items the central focal point of a room. Interesting interior design doesn’t mean turning your back on your own personality and going along with fads and trends. Put your favourite ornaments and mementos on display, or perhaps create a dedicated area for certain memories, like a shelf for holiday souvenirs or an area for wedding photographs.
Keep the kitchen classic
It’s said that the kitchen is the heart of a home. The kitchen is likely to be the room where your interior design choices feel more permanent. Installing a breakfast bar, shelling out for new cabinets and worktops, these are major decisions. As a general rule, keeping the kitchen simple and classic is always a good choice. For kitchens, go for something that will never go out of style.
Make it look lived in
Good interior design is forward thinking. Consider your lifestyle when making decisions about how to style your home. Got four dogs? Maybe not a white rug, then. Small children? Is a cream velvet sofa the best plan? You should feel relaxed in your home, and making interior design choices that are practical and suited to you doesn’t mean you have to compromise on style.
Think about taps and sinks
A small detail but one that can make a big difference to the overall look of a kitchen or bathroom. Spending a little more on a stylish sink and taps can really elevate the room.
Buy less but buy well
Whether you’re moving into a new home and need a whole set of furniture, or you’re looking to update your home, don’t shop without a plan. A good way to break down the task is room by room. Think about how you want the room to look, and start with a few essential pieces (like the interior design equivalent of a capsule wardrobe). Then you can gradually build on this. Don’t try to force your home to look perfect overnight – part of the joy of interior design is seeing how your living spaces evolve.
Play around with seating
Changing up your room’s seating arrangement can be a great way to refresh the look of a room. You could even have different arrangements for different seasons, creating a more cosy feel in winter and a more airy and open feel for summer. Having one statement piece of furniture is also a great way to add a splash of colour.
Think about areas, not rooms
Don’t make the mistake of thinking a room should only be used for one thing. Some of the best interior design utilises space in creative and multi-purposed ways. You can easily add a study to the corner of a living room, or make a beautiful dining room in a kitchen. Think about dividing spaces with clever use of furniture. For example, in the picture above, the combination of a corner sofa and a large rug clearly section off a cosy lounge area in a much bigger reception room.
So you’ve just bought your first home? Congratulations! Now you’re free to really make it your own. But buying a home can be pricey, so maybe you’re thinking you don’t have the budget right now to start decorating? Not necessarily! Here are some great tips and ticks for ways you can start decorating your new place and really make it feel like a home, straight away, without breaking the bank.
Make your accessories into a design feature
Instantly inject a bit of your personality into your home and save on storage space at the same time by making a feature of your accessories. Hang hats or jewellery in a bedroom or hallway – use simple hooks or even hang a brass bar with rope. You could even up-cycle a vintage ladder to make a quirky hanger and shelving unit.
It’s ok to mismatch
Don’t worry if all your furniture doesn’t match – mismatching furniture can look great. Just spend some time thinking about the placement of your furniture, and perhaps bring the style together with cushions that follow a specific trend, or with certain types of plants.
Print your Instagrams
We’re all guilty of it – you’ve got hundreds of photos online but they never see the light of day. Why not print them out and use them to decorate your new home. You could hang them with string and pegs, or just pin them to a cork board. Lots of services online will print your pictures on high quality glossy paper and post them to you for a few pounds. A box of glossy prints would also make a great house warming gift.
Make your ceilings look higher with dual tones
Make your space look bigger and save on paint by painting half way up your walls. Be careful to use complimentary tones (pastel shades work particularly well for this) and always put the darker or bolder tone on the bottom.
Maximise storage space with creative shelving
Get creative with your shelving! Get hold of some old crates (top tip: car boot sales are a goldmine for these) and position them at opposing angles. This is a really flexible way to make space for plants and ornaments and is very inexpensive.
Upcycle a second-hand sofa
There are loads of ways you can improve the look of a second hand sofa. First of all, if the cushions are sagging, refill them with extra stuffing. This will instantly make the sofa look newer. Add a colourful throw and cushions and consider replacing the sofa’s feet. You can buy stylish wooden sofa legs (very Nordic in style) from most good home improvement shops. They simply screw on.
Display your kitchenware
If you’re unhappy with the style of your kitchen cabinets, why not remove them entirely and replace them with simple shelving, magnetic strips, bars and hanging hooks. There’s no need to hide away your kitchenware, having it on display will make your kitchen look functional and homey.
Make DIY artwork
You can improvise artwork for you home by using the covers of vintage magazines, or trawling through old books for interesting images and illustrations. IKEA sell an excellent range of very inexpensive frames. Then you can build up a great collection of prints over the years.
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As the days are getting shorter and the sun sets earlier in the evening, you might be looking for ways to make your home brighter and lighter. Here are some easy tips for filling your home with light and making your spaces look more sunny and spacious…
Lighten up on furniture
Dark furniture can suck the light out of the brightest rooms. Go for lighter wood tones, or white furniture to make a room feel so much lighter and more spacious. You don’t need to rush out and replace everything you own – why not just add a lick of white paint to your furniture? You’ll see an instant difference.
Give your windows space
Keep the space around your windows clear! Don’t clutter up windowsills with ornaments or put large plants in front of windows. Apart from the obvious (less light getting in through the window in the first place) cluttered windows can create a more cramped feeling in a room and make it look darker than it is.
Go mirror mad
Mirrors serve two great functions: they make a room look bigger by creating an optical illusion of space, and they bounce light around the room, making it look instantly brighter. Adding a large mirror opposite a window or door will really lift the mood of your room.
Get colourful with rugs
Colourful rugs, or even just colourful cushions, can really jazz up a room and make it look brighter. Rugs with bold patterns have the added benefit of hiding small stains and pet hairs too.
It might seem counter-intuitive, but matte paint on walls can actually make rooms look more light-filled. This is because too much glare from gloss paint will reflect light in odd directions, tricking the eye into thinking the room is more cramped and less bright. The same goes for furnishings and flooring.
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Moving house or redecorating can be a stressful experience, especially when you don’t know what it will look like until it’s all done. These apps, however, can help make everything a lot easier – from colour testing paint to measuring the best sunlight spots, there’s an app for that. Here’s our pick of the best:
Winner of the “Best App” award at the inaugural Google Play Awards, Houzz is a game changer in home design. Like a combination of lots of other apps doing similar things on the market, Houzz lets you get inspiration for your room design, browse products, and then try them out in your home simply by taking a photo of the room. It also has an advice section where you can get opinions and help from the Houzz community on your ideas.
2. Sun Seeker
The Sun Seeker app is great for photographers and architects alike – but also for those who like to have a lot of sunlight in their home. The ‘map view’ on the app will track the sun’s rays across a certain geographical point, like your home, so you can see which parts of the house will get the best light.
3. Dulux Visualiser App
This app’s colour picker technology matches colours from photos you take with their paints. You can then try out these colours on the walls of your home. They also offer suggested colour schemes to accompany your new paint choice, and deliver the paints or colour testers to your door.
Homestyler rebuilds your home as a 3D playground for you to experiment with – just with one snap of the room. You can test out real furniture as 3D models in the room, test out light fixtures, and see how furnishings and colour schemes will look in your space. You can also browse the Design Stream for inspiration, share your designs with your family and friends through Facebook and email, and comment and “heart” other peoples’ designs. For more inspiration you can also browse through portfolios of professional designers in your local area.
5. Art Beamer
ArtBeamer is also an augmented reality app that lets you preview how artwork will look on your wall. Artists using the app will give a specific code to their pieces, which you can find either from the website, or asking at the gallery/exhibition. Simply type the code into the app and you will be able to “beam” the artwork onto your wall.
6. LikeThat Décor
This app allows you to shop for furniture on the go, by taking inspiration from things you see around you. Snap a photo of a piece of furniture you like, and the app will show you thousands of similar and complementary products, with details on where to shop for them.
7. Photo Measures
Photo Measures is a great way to keep track of your home’s measurements, allowing you to note dimensions down on photos of your rooms, to remember the exact layout and size of all the different spaces in the house.
Now it’s May, and spring is officially here (even the weather is catching up), it’s the perfect time to give your home a spring clean – and a general makeover. Here are some of our top tips for rejuvenating your home, and adding something new to the mix:
1. Inject some green
Houseplants have seen a massive boom recently, with everyone wanting to decorate their homes with all things green and growing. We’re loving the new trend for terrariums – little mini plant beds that are usually displayed in glass bowls or geometric containers.
As well as adding the aforementioned greenery, jazzing up your shelves and mantelpieces can make a big difference. Update photo frames by adding more recent photos, and add decorative objects like candles and books to really enhance the space. De-cluttering and spacing objects out will bring a more minimalist feel.
3. Upgrade your bedding
Walking into a bedroom, the first thing you notice is the bed – so a change of bedding will make a big difference. This is also a quick and effective way to change up a bedroom’s colour scheme.
4. Finish your floors
Over time, wooden floors get scuffed and worn out, and this isn’t something we often notice straight away. Waxing your wooden floors or applying a sealant will leave them gleaming again, and will make a huge difference to the overall effect of the room. Or, for a more dramatic change, why not paint the floor instead.
Farrow and Ball offer a wide range of floor paints in contemporary shades. Check out the colour samples at the Islington shop.
5. Give the cushions an upgrade, too
Although small, cushions make a big difference. Colourful or patterned cushions can really bring a sofa to life, and add something special to the room. Changing the cushions and other small accessories can change the entire colour scheme of a room, and a bring a different feel, without spending too much!
6. Get organised
There are lots of ways you can organise your stuff to refresh your home. Labelling containers and jars in the pantry will make cooking feel a lot easier, and help you keep track of supplies. Take the opportunity to put photos into albums, and to throw out anything in your wardrobe you don’t wear anymore. Spring means new beginnings, so it’s time to declutter and pass on old belongings to friends or charity shops.
7.) …Don’t forget the garden
Outdoor furniture often gets neglected during the winter months – so give your chairs and tables a good scrub down to leave them looking new again, perfect for when your guests come to visit.
Spring is the perfect time for planting, so if you have an old sandpit that’s been outgrown, or an area you’re not sure what to do with, why not create a herb garden or a flowerbed.