North East Connected

Affordable ways to improve your living space

We all like to live comfortably, and usually our home is our favourite space for relaxation, or it should be. This is where we can enjoy being alone or with family and friends. Sometimes, however, that cosy “lived in” look that you have cherished for years becomes just a little tired, so you want to find a way to refresh and rejuvenate your surroundings, without spending a fortune. The good news is that decorating on a budget has never been so easy. There are some smart things that you can do to give your home a makeover without breaking the bank. Here are seven tips to get you started:

Painting a room is one of the easiest solutions to brightening up the place. Nowadays, good-quality paints are affordable, and you can choose between neutral tones, adventurous shades, or a blend of both for rooms where you might want to introduce a feature wall or an excitingly different painting scheme. If you’re happy with existing wall colours and the paintwork is in good order, why not add a few decals to introduce additional interest? There are lots of themes from which to choose, particularly if you are decorating a playroom for your children.

Changing the style of one or more internal doors can transform your home. Replace solid panelled doors in living spaces with glazed ones that will let in the light to the benefit of gloomier, north-facing rooms. Reveal your windows by using shutters instead of drapes so that you can better control glare and transform your rooms with additional natural daylight. Sleek and stylish, cheap shutters are available in a range of styles and finishes. Glazed doors are not recommended, obviously, for bedrooms or bathrooms, though opaque glass can be used if deemed suitable

Don’t want to buy a new couch or armchair? With inexpensive covers, you can simply rejuvenate your existing soft furnishings without buying replacements. It’s easy to get made-to-measure covers or, even better, ready-made ones if your furniture is a standard size. Indulge also in a few new scatter cushions in this year’s fashionable colours. Most covers are washable and will certainly last for some time.

This is not as strange as it sounds. Sometimes we get so used to the fact that a particular piece of furniture has been in a particular place – “because it’s always been there” – that we forget how to step back and reimagine the empty room. It costs nothing to move a few things around and maybe reconfigure the spaces so that you change the dynamic. You may just end up with a more exciting and interesting space than you started with.

Another great way to change your living environment at minimal cost is to upcycle some of the things that you don’t need anymore, creating beautiful new features in the process. Have a browse through Pinterest boards for ideas about turning unwanted items into unique chandeliers, wall artworks, plant containers and many other ingenious artefacts.

While “decorating” is generally understood to mean wallpaper, paint and a few new accessories, no good interior designer ignores the importance of lighting. If you’ve sorted the natural light via shutters and glazed doors, you should also turn your attention to artificial lighting and how to make it work for you. Matched shades, stylish table lamps and cluster lighting in key areas will make all the difference to the ambience in your living spaces. They won’t cost the earth, and they’ll look fabulous.

Another great tip when it comes to brightening up your home and making the most of all types of lighting is to use mirrors to your advantage. Placed opposite light sources, they generally reflect a softer light than that from the source, so putting them in dining rooms when your centrepiece is a   candelabra, for instance, is an ideal way to create a warm, romantic atmosphere for you and your guests.

It’s so easy to achieve that rejuvenated effect for your living spaces as long as you take a fresh look at your surroundings and identify any problem areas. You can choose a way to tackle them to suit your budget. Try some or all of these seven tips and you won’t be disappointed; you’ll just be glad that you didn’t have to move house in order to ring the changes.

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