Home Decoration Ideas: 13 Tweaks That Won't Cost The Earth

The hints and tips interior designers and home experts swear by.
Carlina Teteris via Getty Images

After what has been the most miserable spring known to man, we’re finally due some nicer (and more importantly, drier) weather edging into June – or so say meteorologists.

With indoor socialising back on the cards, you might be considering making changes in your home to give it a new lease of life for summer. After all, if you’ve spent the past year working and living there, you’re probably craving a reset.

But without forking out loads on major renovations, how can you give your interiors an upgrade? We asked interior designers and home stylists for their top tips.

1. Switch to lightweight textiles

If your home is full of dark and heavy textiles (like that thick grey fleece blanket strewn over your sofa) it might be time to invest in some lighter weight ones.

“You can do this by changing your throws, cushions and bed linen to lighter and fresher fabric, such as linen or bamboo,” says Katie Thomas, founder of interior design company KTM Design. She also recommends changing heavy winter curtains to sheer curtains to “let the light in and allow air circulation”.

2. Bring in natural pieces

Switching up home accessories is a cheap and cheerful way of bringing some newness – and those much-needed summer vibes – to your home. Thomas recommends opting for accessories made from natural materials such as wicker, rattan, linen, jute and light wood.

3. Mess with mirrors

Mirrors are a great way to make rooms feel brighter, especially if positioned well, says Sarah-Jayne Garman, an interior designer and founder of Revamp. “If your room doesn’t include a mirror, get one on the wall.”

For added light, hang your mirror directly opposite the window, says Garman – “the room will feel much bigger and spacious if you do!” Or, she says, if you have a console table in the hallway, add a mirror above it. For a bit of creativity, group various mirrors together on one wall.

4. Freshen things up with flowers and plants

Another cheap option for livening up your home is to bring in flowers and plants. “Vases filled with summer blooms will enhance a room and fill it with a lovely scent,” says Rebecca Dupere, of Dupere Design. “And if you prefer to leave the flowers in their place outside, silk flowers are a good, eco-friendly substitute.”

5. Update your doorknobs

One way to give old furnishings a new lease of life – like kitchen cupboards, old fitted wardrobes and chest of drawers – is to replace the handles on them.

“Use light-coloured materials that nicely accompany the bright summer days and nights,” advises Marc Husband, product design lead at Leader Doors. “Don’t be afraid to play around with materials that remind you of your favourite summer locations, for instance, stones and shells from the beach.”

Don’t have any handles to replace? Try replacing hardware like white plastic sockets and switches with trendier versions in brass or black, instead.

6. Hang up your pictures

If you’ve got a pile of framed prints that have been gathering dust, now’s the time to hang them up – products like Command strips can be useful for hanging artwork if you live in rented accommodation.

British designer Benjii Lewis loves a gallery wall with a vibrant backdrop. “An assortment of artwork in a variety of mediums works brilliantly on an accent wall,” says Lewis, founder of Zoom That Room.

When you plan your gallery wall, lay the items you wish to hang on the floor and figure out what works best where. If the frames don’t match it doesn’t matter, adds the designer. “Think about mixing an antique oil painting with a pair of contemporary prints, a set of watercolours and a textile,” he advises.

7. Light it up

Lighting can be a fairly inexpensive way to liven up a room – the simplest act of changing a ceiling light or lampshade can make a massive difference.

“Select light shades with designs such as pastel shades, natural materials (rattan, bamboo) and tropical motifs,” says Jamie Moxey, design consultant at Dusk Lighting. “Fixing shades to compatible ceiling lights can help shift the feel of the room, particularly when finished with matching accessories such as a pastel throw or a decorative wooden bowl for the coffee table.”

For the outdoors, invest in some festoon lights to instantly give your garden that festival feel.

8. Move your furniture around

The most inexpensive tip of all is to simply work with what you’ve got. Athina Bluff, founder of Topology Interiors, explains: “A small shift in the position of furniture can have a huge impact on the way you use and enjoy the space.”

If you haven’t already, she recommends pulling your furniture away from the walls. “We have a tendency to put everything up against a wall but sometimes creating a flow of movement around a sofa in the centre of a room can transform a space,” she says.

9. Play with colour

Whether it’s painting a wall, some old furniture or home accessories that need a new lease of life, experimenting with colour can bring a “fresh yet daring approach” to your interiors, says designer Benjii Lewis. He recommends a bold choice of blending pistachio with soft pink, turquoise, lilac and yellow sorbet.

“The trick with a pastel colour palette is to work on colour tones and be unafraid of including a little clash here and there – soft red works brilliantly with dusty pink for example,” he says. “For the less daring, use pastel colours as accents only – scheme a grey room with interesting textures and then accessorise with duck egg blue cushions or add a lavender velvet armchair.”

10. Change up those curtains (and cushions)

Replacing cushions and/or curtains is a great way to update a room you’re bored of looking at. Adele Shotton-Pugh, interior designer at Terrys, says curtains can change the feel of a space, particularly if you introduce colour or pattern. “By changing up your window treatments, you’re able to inject some personality into a room, without having to overhaul the entire décor – and therefore blow the budget,” she says.

Her advice is to look for patterns that complement the existing décor, whilst choosing something new that will make an impact. “Florals and botanical prints are having a real moment in the interiors world right now and are sure to completely change the feel of your space,” she says.

11. Try self-adhesive flooring

If your bathroom or kitchen tiles are looking a little lacklustre, Shotton-Pugh nods to shops like Homebase and B&Q, which sell a huge selection of self-adhesive floor tiles – these are both low cost and easy to use.

“By simply peeling and sticking, you’re able to completely transform the look of a space without having to break the budget, or make a mess,” she says.

12. Declutter

Clutter can make a room feel small, so spend time paring back your kitchen worktops and decluttering your home. Jenna Choate and Mariana Ugarte, co-founders of Interior Fox, recommend stowing away used chopping boards, tired looking utensils and too many cookbooks. Instead, they advise placing out a select few cookery books and adding a vase of your favourite foliage.

Melissa Bodie, co-founder of Melissa + Miller Interiors, suggests curating items carefully throughout your home. “One of the best ways to feel the home is fresh is by editing – as in, donating – your items. Try to have an editorial eye when it comes to removing pieces. If it doesn’t make you happy, it’s time to give it to someone for whom it will.”

13. Give your grouting a refresh

Mouldy or discoloured grouting instantly makes a room look unclean. If yours is in a state, Dave Gordon, general manager and DIY expert at SGS Engineering, recommends investing in a grout pen (these only cost around £5).

“Scrub at your existing grouting with a warm cloth and some washing up liquid,” he says. “Wipe the tiles down and ensure everything is dry. Apply your grout pen – take your time. If you make a mistake, wipe it away quickly. Apply two coats if needed.”

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