In recent weeks I’ve been sharing a few ideas for ways in which you can update your home. The aim was that if you were looking for things to occupy your time during lockdown and /or wanted to use your time to give your home a bit of a refresh it would give you some inspiration.

Well perhaps those suggestions weren’t right for you or maybe you have only just come to the decision that you are going to improve rather than move, here are a few more.

1. Upcycle A Piece of Furniture

Image of a pine bedside cabinet ready to be upcycled with paint.

What are the benefits of upcycling?

  • The satisfaction of doing something creative
  • Learning a new skill
  • Avoiding waste
  • Re purposing a previously loved item of furniture

If you haven’t tried this before, it’s probably best to try something easy, painting a bedside cabinet for example. If you have the kind of dining chairs with the seat pads that come out then these are easy to reupholster. This is an ideal task to be done outdoors because of dust and mess, provided it isn’t windy (also if it’s very hot the paint may dry too quickly when applying it) . If you are painting a piece of furniture then you need to prepare it first. Remove any knobs or handles,doors and detachable feet these can be painted separately . Rub it down with fine grade sand paper then give it good clean with sugar soap and let it dry. Use a suitable paint – chalk paint is ideal for this. To ensure an even finish a small roller is an easy way to apply the paint but you may need a small brush for more awkward areas. Always read the manufacturers instructions as to drying times between coats of paint. Apply a second coat. Finish with a coat of varnish if desired.

2. Create A Reading Nook

Image of the corner of a lounge with a comfy chair, lamp and side table

Do you enjoy reading, is this something you have had more time for during lockdown? Perhaps it’s a pleasure you have rediscovered as a result of having more time if you have been working from home. I love reading and it’s part of my bedtime routine. A reading area can be something as simple as a window seat or chair in a bedroom. Reading is a solitary pastime and requires peace and quiet. Here are the elements that I think are key when creating a reading nook.

  • Light – good lighting is essential. Preferably natural daylight if you will be reading during the day otherwise good artificial lighting. A floor lamp positioned behind your seating that shines on the page is what you need.
  • Comfortable seating – not just comfortable to sit in but also comfortable for your posture. A high backed armchair is ideal because it gives the support you need for your head and back.
  • A side table or shelf – you may well want to enjoy a mug of tea or coffee or even a glass of wine while you read so you need somewhere to put this.
  • Accessories – to get the most from the experience, include a throw and a cushion for your chair.

I haven’t included bookshelves or a book case in this list simply because we aren’t talking about a library here, but if you have an alcove or other space where you can include shelves or bookcase then even better.

3. Refresh a Kitchen

Image of a tiled kitchen splashback

Kitchens tend to be big ticket items, not something that we change frequently. You may have invested in a top quality kitchen some years ago and don’t want to replace but you want to refresh it a little. Well it is easy to do. Here are my top tips.

  • Change the knobs or handles.
  • Replace the tap
  • Buy some new small appliances (kettle and toaster) and storage jars
  • Replace tiles or cover with tile film. Regrout with a coloured grout instead of white
  • If you have walls that are painted, redecorate or use wallpaper to create a feature wall. This works particularly well in a dining area.

4. Create An Entrance

Image of a hallway featuring a console table with mirror above. On the table are two candles and an orchid in a pot. Underneath are two storage baskets.

The hall is the first space people see when they enter your home so you want to create the right impression. For many of us it can be a bit of a dumping ground – we come in kick off our shoes and drop our handbag, school bag or sports bag on the floor. It can be a tricky space if it’s narrow and cluttered if it is where you hang the coats. Start by relocating the coats etc to an understairs cupboard or wardrobe if possible. Some elements to consider.

  • Somewhere to put things down and also create a display – if the hallway is narrow consider installing a cover over a radiator which gives you a shelf. A console table enables you to have a place for keys but also a pair of lamps, an ornament or plant or flowers.
  • Mirror – useful to bounce light around and necessary for checking your appearance before you leave the house. Positioned above a console table it creates a real focal point.
  • Flooring – this is a great way to add impact but it’s important to consider adjacent spaces especially if they can be seen from the hallway. For example, if the hall leads in to the kitchen and the door is usually open then it’s best to using the same flooring. Otherwise use the same colour of flooring to link the areas.
  • Seating – having somewhere to perch whilst putting on or taking off shoes is useful even if it’s only a stool. In a larger space the seating can be combined with a storage bench.
  • Decor- the colour scheme can make a big difference to how a hallway feels. It can be dramatic with dark paintwork or a bold wallpaper. Alternatively, opt for bright and airy with white or pale coloured walls and woodwork.

5. Add A Focal Point In A Living Room

Every room (or at least the principle ones) should have a focal point and I’m not including the television. A focal point makes a room more inviting and draws people in. It’s the star of the room. It’s the place viewers’ eyes are drawn to when they enter the room and it’s the emphasis point around which to build the rest of your scheme. Very often it will be an architectural feature such as a fireplace but it doesn’t have to be. If you don’t have a focal point already you can create one. Here are some ideas.

Image of a wall in a living room decorated with a gallery of artwork
  • Mirror – a stunning mirror makes an easy focal point and can distract from awkward shaped walls
  • Shelving – shelving acts as a place to display interesting and favourite artefacts. These can be moved around or changed whenever you want.
  • Wallpaper – a statement wallpaper is a tried and tested option. Used as a feature wall the relatively small amount required presents an opportunity to choose a more expensive paper.
  • Gallery Picture Wall – creating a gallery of pictures is another simple idea. Using the same style of frame e.g. black or gold unifies a selection of different images or try grouping artwork from the same colour palette.
  • Fireplace – if you have a fire but no fire surround then adding one or even just a mantelpiece will immediately elevate it. They come in a variety of materials and prices.

I hope that you have enjoyed reading these tips and will go away and try some of them out. If you are planning a more extensive makeover take a look at the interior design services I offer . For a no obligation discussion about your project ring on 07745 876182.