It's paintbrushes at the ready as we give you a few simple tips to get you started on the road to DIY success. Fab feng shui? Feng shui is the…
Written by Paula Jones Last updated: August 28, 2007
Short on budget, time or ideas, but still want to give your home a quick makeover? Follow this handy guide to decorating makeovers…
Lighting can affect our moods and badly lit rooms can lower your spirits. It can make it hard to work, read or simply relax. Bad light can also give an unflattering cast to your furnishings and décor. During the day, allow as much natural light into the home as possible. Consider investing in blinds rather than curtains or installing stain glass windows that will allow privacy while still letting in both sunlight and moonlight. At night, ensure that the lights in each room are appropriate and are neither too dim nor too bright.
The right pair of curtains or blinds can transform a room. If possible, try and have curtains all the way to the floor as this has the effect of giving the room an illusion of height. If you have trouble finding ready‐made curtains that fit, consider buying two sets and joining them together.
Give your home an individual touch. Don’t follow fashion trends just because they’re trendy, but because they reflect your personality in some way. If you and your partner have different styles, don’t be afraid to mix them – play around with various ideas and options and chances are you’ll end up with a unique and personal statement.
Before throwing it on a skip, consider whether existing furniture can be updated with a fresh coat of paint, new covers or by adding new fittings such as knobs and handles. If you have real wooden furniture, you could strip away the paint or varnish and give it a stripped or distressed contemporary look.
With the clever use of colour and pattern you can transform the appearance of a room. If the room feels too small or claustrophobic, remove any picture rails, wallspapers with vertical stripes and paint the ceiling a light, neutral colour. For a room that appears to be too tall, painting the ceiling a deep colour will have the effect of ‘lowering’ it.
Like light, colour also affects our mood, so choosing the right colour for the room can uplift it. A north facing room can be made to feel warm if painted in soft terracotta shades, dusky pinks or sunny yellows. Cool blues and soft aquas are calming and soothing, suitable for creating a restful bedroom. You can also create interesting effects by painting a feature wall in a vibrant colour and the surrounding areas in a lighter colour.
Another option is to paint all the rooms in the same neutral shade, which creates a seamless continuity. It also works out to be more economical than buying different colours for each room and presents you with a blank canvas to add individual touches in each room with carefully selected furnishings and accessories such as pictures, mirrors, cushions, candles and fresh flowers.
In living rooms in particular, a fireplace can make an attractive centrepiece in a room. If you have a chimney breast, you can consider exposing the existing brickwork by chiselling off the plasterwork. This will need to be done slowly and with care, but the results can be stunning.
If your home allows, consider planting a window box with flowering plants. You can always find something that is in bloom no matter what time of the year. Some plants to consider are geraniums, ivy, hyacinths and narcissi.
For a quick and economical makeover, try painting over the existing tiles with waterproof emulsion paint and investing in a brightly coloured new set of towels. If you can afford it, a heated ladder radiator will help keep the towels fluffy and warm for each house member.
To create a feeling of space, firstly get rid of clutter. Throw out unused items and create properly labelled storage for the things you don’t use but still want to hang onto. Further create an illusion of space by painting the room in a pale colour and adding light‐coloured furnishings, such as cream‐coloured bed linen and curtains.