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Channelling Llewelyn-Bowen: Interior Design on a Shoestring

25/04/2014 11:23 BST | Updated 24/06/2014 10:59 BST

Television home makeover shows have a lot to answer for.

Not content with unleashing Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen and his flowery flamboyance on the world, the genre has turned me into a nervous wreck fretting about the puffiness of my pillows.

But it's not just me who's letting interior design choices heighten my blood pressure.

In frantic attempts to keep up with the Joneses, 25% of Brits will make improvements to their properties this year, spending just under a grand to make their dwellings that little bit more homely.

According to a recent survey, though, only four per cent of 18 to 25-year-olds said they could hang wallpaper, while 21 per cent reckon flat-pack furniture would stump them.

Despite Generation Y's clear lack of gusto for DIY, it's actually becoming ever more fashionable as proponents of "thrift chic" show us how to spruce up our homes without breaking the bank.

So, even if you're more Andy Pandy than Handy Andy, there are numerous cost-effective ways you can convert your pad from urban eyesore to contemporary chic without a Llewelyn-Bowen in sight.

Brighten Up Your Bathroom

They say that all the best parties happen in the bathroom - or is it the kitchen? Either way, it's important to make sure both are in tiptop condition, lest your guests form a conga line straight out the front door.

One of the easiest ways to give your bathroom a facelift is by accessorising with water-loving plants housed in multicoloured pots, alongside a quality bath mat, vibrant blinds and gorgeous glass containers to give your sanctuary a decidedly spa-like feel.

Avoid Kitsch in the Kitchen

They say that the kitchen is the heart of the home, so why would you want to put a knitting needle through the core of your property by neglecting it? Nowadays, aesthetics are just as important as functionality, which is why it's crucial to get this space up to scratch.

When it comes to upgrading the kitchen, you can improve your besmirched cabinets by simply repainting them a colour more befitting your sunny personality. Additionally, you can retile the area, add a splash back and replace your existing countertops with granite. Cheap and easy.

Put Upcycling Wheels in Motion

As you may be aware, upcycling is the process of converting apparently useless or old materials into items of better quality - and it's great for the environment. In fact, the upcycling scene is quickly becoming the fashionable way to add beautiful items to the home.

From plate racks made from old metal pipes, side tables converted into dog beds and plastic toys fashioned into toothbrush holders, the upclying options are literally endless. All it takes is a little creativity and time to make a seemingly worthless item come alive once more.

Changing Just ONE Thing

If all of the above just sounds like too much effort, designers reckon if you only change one thing, it can still have an impact on the way your home looks and feels. What that one thing is varies depending on who you ask, but paint, lighting and curtains are the three most popular.

For example, if you change your curtains to floor length, they immediately add impact to a room, making it look bigger. However, changing the colour of a room by painting one wall or giving old cabinets a fresh lick is a cheap and easy way to add some much needed cheer to a dated space.

Of course, the danger of becoming a DIY nut or upcycling junkie means the work to improve your home may never be done - and Llewelyn-Bowen will have even more to answer for.

Flowery shirt and puffed up hairstyle, anyone?