10 low-budget, high-impact decorating tricks

Lucy Searle 01/04/2015 08:50:58 DIY and How-to Guides

1 Light up your rooms

Nothing makes rooms feel brighter and better than getting more natural daylight into them. So, swap dark drapes for light-coloured shutters. Remember, the bigger the slats the more daylight the room will get, and to save money, our DIY shutters are a super-affordable option. Then, paint the windowsills and woodwork around the shutters in light-reflective colours, and use light colours on at least three of your walls, saving a feature wall for pattern and deeper colours. Job done.

2 Get painting

If your rooms are neutral, you can add a colour on just one wall within a couple of hours for a super-fast, super-cheap transformation. Or, if your rooms are dark and need a whole new look, a couple of coats of white emulsion will work wonders – and cost you a fraction of what wallpaper would. And, if you’re looking to transform old kitchen units, use a specialist paint to create a quick new look on a budget - take the doors off and apply the paint with a small roller to make the job swift and easy.

3 Make your rooms seem bigger

De-clutter as much as possible, or invest in some new storage (underbed drawers on wheels hold tons of stuff you need to hand but not out on show) to give your rooms a bit more breathing space. Then, hang a large mirror to stretch space further – on walls adjacent to (rather than opposite) your newly daylight-welcoming windows will have the most impact.

4 Move the furniture around

If your rooms aren’t quite working for you, it might not be because you need a whole load of new furniture – it might just be that you need to try new positions for the pieces you already have. Those pieces needn’t even be in the room they’re in now – perhaps the desk you’re using for homework in the corner of the living room could be painted and turned into a fabulous dressing table for your bedroom? Or maybe the armchair that’s never used in the living room would be perfect in the bathroom… The only spend here people is the elbow grease and time it takes!

Picture: Farrow & Ball 

5 Give your floors a new look

Other than the walls, the floors are the biggest surface area in your rooms, so simply changing how they look can have an enormous impact. The easiest and cheapest transformation is to rip up old carpets and rub back floorboards, then stain or paint them. Use a pale stain, such as white or a chalky grey, to give rooms a contemporary, airy look that will never go out of fashion. Or, for a more traditional or formal feel, use darker colours. Failing that, throw down a new rug for an effort-free revamp.

6 Update the details

If your paintwork’s fresh, your furniture’s looking good and the floors are just how you want them, perhaps it’s the fixtures and fittings that are letting your rooms down? We’re talking ugly door handles, grubby socket fronts or light switches, outdated lampshades… and so on. It doesn’t cost much to replace old-fashioned (or just plain old) fixtures, but they can be easy to overlook. So take a quick turn around the house, write out an inventory and get busy.

7 Create a focal point

Does your room have a fantastic fireplace that’s blocked by furniture? Or perhaps a wonderful view hidden by heavy curtains and nets? Perhaps it’s just a square box with few redeeming features? To make the most of what you’ve got, it might just be a case of drawing attention to it – so, moving furniture around or swapping curtains for shutters that fold right back. Or, you might need to hang a feature wallpaper on the most visible wall in the room, or put a colourful rug down under a coffee table, or buy a pretty duvet for an otherwise plain bedroom. You get the drift…

8 Make do and mend

While you’ve got the screwdriver out… if you’ve got a wobbly loo roll holder, a curtain pole that’s coming away from the wall (why would you want curtain when you could have shutters anyway, we ask ourselves?!), a front gate that’s hanging off, cracks in walls or ceilings, a dripping tap in the kitchen – you get the idea - now’s the time to get to work. You’ll be surprised, with these jobs done, how much better the house will look – and how much better you’ll feel about it.

Picture: Farrow & Ball

9 Go outside

Give your home some cheap but cheerful kerb appeal by revamping its exterior. That might mean fixing broken gutters or gates (see tip 8!), repainting the front door, polishing door furniture or just simply tending the garden. Simples.

10 Tidy up

We know you’d rather be watching a box set, but a good old-fashioned clean can work wonders. Say no more.

Want to know how we manage to make our shutters such high quality but so affordable? Find out here.

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