I’m going to start this post with a description of one of my favourite hobbies. FAFFING. If, of an evening, Rich is settled in front of Sky Sports/Narcos/this programme about nuns on Netflix that he’s currently obsessed with (apparently it’s the next Making a Murderer), then I like nothing better than to wander around the house generally faffing. I spend far too long standing on chairs trying to get strings of lights to hang ‘just so’. Rich is constantly complaining that he can’t find the spare change jar/the cat’s food bowl/the bedside table because it has been re-homed during one of these faffing sessions.
But this is my first tip when it comes to transforming a space on a budget. Because you’ve gotta use what you’ve already got! Take my lounge in the header above for example. The TV unit (an eBay find) was previously used as a storage unit (see if you can spot it in the ‘Before’ picture of Jenson’s nursery). The rug used to adorn our hallway floor, and the curtains used to hang in our spare room. However when I tried them all out in the lounge they really made the room come together.
2. Think outside the box when it comes to art.
I have been known to use all sorts as art. From kids’ art, to maps of places I hold dear to my heart, to enlarged photos, to birthday cards, to wrapping paper. (This Paris map is a snip at £3, as is Bicyclettes which is right up my street. Add an Ikea frame and hey presto ). In my last house I even framed a couple of colourful matchboxes that I’d picked up at a market in Thailand.
3. Turn up the texture
Adding a range of tactile materials will always make a space look more luxe. And it needn’t cost the earth. In my lounge the monochrome throw was from Tiger, the rattan chevron basket was from Ikea and most of the cushions are cheapies from H&M. Or if you’re handy with a sewing machine, why not make your own? Amy of The Love Lust List recently crafted her own mudcloth cushion and Lauren and I have since been on her case asking for a how-to post on RMS.
4. Love you some leather
Leather drawer pulls, to be precise. Or ANY alternative drawer pulls, for that matter. In Lauren’s old house she used leather straps whilst making over her bathroom, and Hayley Stuart used this trick to give the kitchen in her rented house an instant expensive-looking uplift.
5. Style a shelfie
Shelves are a super-cheap way of adding interest. Once you’ve put them up you can pop on vases/books/prints/globes/trinkets that you already own. They’re a simple and inexpensive way of displaying all your mementos: simple shelf brackets only cost a couple of quid in B&Q, and Ikea picture ledges are under a tenner. But the fact that they give forever-faffers like myself yet another surface on which to rearrange stuff is priceless.
6. Go for greenery
I wouldn’t say the Pantone Color of the Year was my favourite hue however I can’t deny that it’s amazing what a pop of green can do to lift a room. Try a potted palm (the one in Lauren’s bedroom below was £18 from Ikea), a couple of cacti, or some trailing ivy. And if you’re not green fingered, fake it ’til you make it.
Have you got any tips for transforming a room on a budget? Anyone else obsessed with Narcos or the Netflix nuns? Anyone else a serial faffer?
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Header image by Adam Crohill