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.
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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.
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.
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.
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’.
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.
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.
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.
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.