Whack It With a Hammer

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Easy Interior Updates (on any budget)

Decorating fads and fashions come and go but there are timeless, easy interior updates that will improve any room whatever your budget. This post was inspired by a friend of mine who has no interest in interior design (I know! I don’t understand either) However, she would like to live in a nice home. If you are not confident about your style or you don’t have the time or money to experiment, here are four easy and cost effective ways you can improve any space.

Some of the links in this article are affiliate links so if you choose to buy something I will receive a small commission which will help keep this site running, at no extra cost to you.

Buy Wood

If you are unsure of what kind of furniture to buy and can’t afford to make the wrong choice start by choosing wood. By that I mean real wood. Save time by immediately rejecting anything wood ‘effect’, parcel board or MDF, they won’t age well as one dent makes them look shabby. Real wood on the other hand can be enhanced by a few bumps and scratches.

If you’re not into the shabby chic French country style that’s fine too. Wood can be easily repaired with a quick sand and some oil, a scratch covering kit or if needed a coat of paint.

Teak coffee table with scratches and water marks
Damaged but lovely teak mid-century coffee table.
Include upcycled wooden furniture  for an easy interior update
After a light sand and a rub of teak oil

There is a huge choice available whatever your budget – you can go for a fabulous bespoke investment piece, a second hand project or untreated pine from Argos or Ikea, they will all look better than ‘oak effect’.

Aside from the practical reasons, wood also has a more ephemeral quality that pleases the senses. It is a natural material that was once alive; it has beautiful grain and an irregularity that is beautiful to look at; it is warm to the touch and pleasant to smell (and you thought you were just buying some shelves).

Humans have used wood in their homes for millions of years so it is a direct connection with our past. According to legend, the first wardrobe was invented when a particularly fierce cave woman lost it because of the loin cloths all over the kids floor.

Paint It White

Dark and mysterious can work in some rooms but if you are not sure and don’t have time to rectify mistakes go light. I like white, it forms a perfect classy backdrop and goes with everything. It can also make treasured collections and mismatched hand-me-down furniture look like they’re there on purpose.

red chair with sardine cushion, book shelves and wooden pigs
Well loved mismatched furniture and wooden pig ornaments need a simple backdrop.

A brilliant while can look cold in a north facing room but there are plenty of parchment and creamy whites that will work. If you, or someone you have to share with, has an aversion to white (my husband is very resistant) you could go for a pale colour.

Pale pink can warm up a north facing room and a sunny room will take a pale blue or grey. But then you have to find the right shade! Nearly all greys are not grey and blue often comes out much darker on the walls. 50 sample pots later you will be wondering if this is some kind of mind control. It’s also worth remembering that pale grey has been everywhere for ages now. It still looks nice but I predict it will soon start to give people the same tiresome feeling that magnolia did in the 1980s.

Grey paint samples on a wall. Not the easiest of interior updates
According to the tins, these are all grey!

If you’re totally anti white and your house is pre 1920s you could try a light sage if is more modern I’d go for something the colour of an uncooked mushroom. But, if you want to save time and money buy a 10L tub of trade paint and go white.

Add a Plant

Like wood, a plant is a way of bringing nature into the home and making it better. House plants are a huge fashion at the moment and I have a gorgeous Pinterest page where you can find lots of ideas on how to decorate with plants. You can use them to hide a dodgy bit of paintwork, brighten up a windowsill or even as a room divider. Remember if you do go maximalist with the planting you will need to have the time and inclination to look after them, a shelf of dead house plants is more ‘serial killer chic’ and thankfully that’s quite a niche look.

Recently my sister bought me a package of flowers for my birthday from Bloom & Wild. Every month for six months I received fresh seasonal flowers through the post and each box caught me by surprise made me very happy every time I looked at them. I would love to always have fresh flowers on the table, preferably cut from my well tended cottage garden (well we can all dream). But, I’m afraid like most people rushing about with our busy lives this is way down the bottom of a ‘to do list’.

A bunch of fresh flowers is one of the easiest updates
Fresh flowers from the garden! The country dream but sadly only lasts a week.

Plants are a relatively cheap to buy and easy way to improve any interior. If you buy just one or two that need minimal care they can look good with a drink of water once a week. The added bonus is you can get one that smells good and some can help to clean the air in your home. So, not just beautiful but useful too.

Good Lighting

Lovely lighting make will make any room look better and is an easy interior update for any budget. Try and have more than one source, so, a ceiling light for doing stuff and lamps or candles for getting cosy and creating an atmosphere.

Personally I love chandeliers and you can get ones in every size and for every type of room. I have one in my bathroom which adds a touch of glamour to my morning routine. I’m a big fan of putting a beautiful chandelier in a little room to play with scale and give it a sense of grandeur.

 easy interior updates includea beautiful chandelier
My IP rated chandelier is from B&Q

Maybe chandeliers aren’t for you, there’s still no need for boring lampshades. Lots of high street stores do great lighting now and many can be easily fitted on a pendant flex so no need for an electrician.

A new table or bedside lamp can easily update an interior. Think retro lava lamp for a teen bedroom, metal lights for an industrial dining room or a pretty floral lamp in a cottage snug. You can even get crafty and make your own lampshades.

If you don’t have the time or money to get new lighting go for candles. If you are a female over 21 I guarantee you have been bought candles for Christmas and birthdays, they’re gorgeous, get them out and use them! There is nothing more romantic, relaxing and nurturing than the flickering of candlelight. It is an easy interior update for any room, for any budget and it has the added bonus of making people look more attractive too.

candlelight - easy, budget friendly, interior update
Well better than in a big bright light anyway!

Do you have any tips for easy interior updates? I’d love to hear about them in the comments. If you enjoyed reading this please follow me – you’ll just get blogs no spamming! Or to share ideas and inspiration follow me on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or Pinterest.


  1. John Aiwone

    November 7, 2019 at 8:42 am

    Yesss to candles! I’ve been meaning to add a few inset candles to my bedroom furniture for a while now. Plants are a really good shout too – research say houses with indoor plants improved the mental wellbeing of the people living in those houses! These tips are as gold as the chandeliers in this blog post (sorry for being too cheesy 🤣).

    Johnny | Johnny’s Traventures

    1. Whackitnat

      November 7, 2019 at 10:00 am

      Thanks Johnny. Everything is improved with a sprinkle of cheese X

  2. Carolyn

    November 7, 2019 at 1:01 pm

    Great post! I love interior design, and I’ll definitely implement some of the tips mentioned here when my husband and I get our new place (especially about the wooden furniture, I never thought of that before). Thanks!

  3. The Delicious Spoon

    November 7, 2019 at 2:28 pm

    I did just what you said and painted my walls a white and find it much easier to decorate!

    1. Whackitnat

      November 10, 2019 at 5:57 pm

      That’s great! So easy to touch up if you get a mark too X

  4. Uma

    November 8, 2019 at 2:18 am

    I love anything in white. White furniture is on my bucket list. I am freshly into scented candles, they are heaven! Thanks for the tips. I was never a fan of wood but at my new home, we are adding more of it, since it looks awesome. I don’t Know whether to be shocked or happy. Thanks again. Cheers.

    1. Whackitnat

      November 8, 2019 at 1:21 pm

      I would love white furniture. I think it will have to wait until the children and their chocolaty fingers leave home first though!

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