Quick Fixes to Perk Up Your Home
First off, the rules:
Plot twist – there are no rules! There are tips, there’s guidance, there’s anecdotes and success stories, but your home is unique so not everything will appeal or work for you. Try things out and judge for yourself. That being said, here’s some tried and tested ideas to get you started…
- Cheap and cheerful can be great for a quick fix you’ll be happy to toss out (or donate) at the end of the season, but if you’re looking for something to keep, find something you absolutely love and maybe stretch the budget a bit further to accommodate. Cheaper options for finishing touches help you branch out into unexplored territory or do something wild (compared to the rest of your room).
- Don’t be afraid to blur the lines between rooms. Have a mini hanging garden in the bathroom, put a big comfy chair (or a sofa if there’s room) in the kitchen, a gallery wall in the hallway.
- If you’re going to change any furniture make sure it fits in the space. Use newspaper cut to the dimensions of any new pieces and place on the ground to see if it will fit in your space as is, or if you’ll need to move things around, or there’s no chance.
- If it’s smaller than a football, store it, sell it, give it or get rid. Unless you keep an eye on them, accessories can sometimes cluster and get out of hand, leading to cluttered surfaces.
- Learn to edit. Just as you wouldn’t wear all of your favourite clothes together, you need to pick and choose what’s going to work for your new look. That might mean 1:1 swapping old for new, or 1:5 when adding in a statement piece.
Above all, it’s your home and you should love it. Make your own rules!
Rethink the fundamentals
Find your focus. You can play with the dynamic of your living space by moving the focal point (which basically means the place you want the attention to be). This can be anything from adding a bright and bold contemporary rug to your floor, or taking the eyes up to a sparkling light fitting. Which remind us…
Change your lighting. It will literally help you see your home in a new light, and because it touches everything there’s no easier way to give an entire space a new look and feel. Switch to something brighter, something moodier, or just add in more options so you can chop and change at will.
Change your layout. Moving around your furniture means you’ll have to use your space differently, so rather than just changing the look, you’ll have a different physical interaction with your living space, making it feel completely refreshed.
If there’s always been a section that’s a bit tight to squeeze through, or one spot on the sofa catches a draught, it’s the perfect time to address these issues too. For example, you should ideally have about 15-20 inches between the edge of your sofa and the table edge so you don’t need to shuffle around. If your coffee table limits your movements in and out of the living room, try a smaller one, or swap it for a nest of tables that can be brought out when needed while you enjoy full leg-stretchability the rest of the time.
Having room to walk freely is great, but don’t make things to spacious between seating. Sitting closer together will help conversation flow more easily. If you’re not sure what should go where, get a friend or family member to help you move things around and try a few ideas.
Storage.When it comes to reinvigorating a living space, tucking away your bits and pieces can be as effective as adding something new. A good storage investment can organise in one fell swoop and make your room feel ordered and peaceful. A key example is the bathroom, which can be cleared of clutter to reveal a soothing spa-like calm.
Make a statement pt. 1 – Accessories. An easy and quick way to add a wow factor, statement home accessories often play with scale and take on oversized forms, bright colours and patterns, or have interesting and unusual shapes and textures. If really depends on the environment you’re going to place them in, but they should create an instantly noticeable focal point without clashing with the decor.
Make a statement pt.2 – Walls. Also known as feature walls, you can give your whole room a new feel by painting or wallpapering a single wall. That’s a 4 wall impact for the effort of 1. If you’d prefer something less permanent, try the latest trend in statement walls by using large piece of art, a big poster, photo or tapestry. Go forth and decorate.
Make a statement pt.3 – Ceilings. Everyone considers the walls in a makeover, but look a little higher for inspiration. A new light and a lick of paint can make this blank canvas much more interesting and balance plain walls. Just keep things simple though, not every home can pull off the Sistine chapel look.
Add or change your accent colour. Changing your accent colour (or starting to use one) brings a fun new ‘pop’ to a room, and because it’s only used as an accent to your main colour scheme it’s not going to overwhelm the senses. The living room is the perfect space to have some fun with a new shade, and the 60-30-10 formula should help you get the balance right:
- A primary or dominant colour (usually your walls) should be used for 60% of the room
- A secondary colour (often any upholstery or furniture) should be 30% of the room
- An accent colour (cushions, accessories, etc) should be roughly 10% of the room
Do it by the book. Take a new and highly decorative approach to organising your personal library by arranging your books by colour to create a beautiful gradient or a bright rainbow from floor to ceiling. If you don’t have enough books to make a multi-coloured reading zone and don’t mind not knowing where specific novels are, turn the spines around to expose a sea of matching page-edges.
Create a gallery. Become the curator of your own gallery and create an personal exhibition in your living room or hallway. All you need are framed pictures or photographs. Keep the colours similar for maximum harmonisation, but play with different sizes (or even shapes). Before you get the hammer and nails out, try a few layouts on the floor to get the composition just right. If you can’t attach things to the wall, you can create a petite gallery effect by leaning a range of pictures against the wall, either on the floor or on top of a coffee table or sideboard pushed against the wall.
…Or go big! Make a statement with a large piece of wall art and save yourself the time and effort of arranging lots of pieces. Large posters, works of art, photography prints. Anything goes. Don’t forget a wall hanging (tapestry), they’re not just for students and travellers.
Mix colours, patterns and textures. …but not necessarily all at the same time. Using similar colours give you more scope to get creative with mixed textures, patterns and sizes as it provides more unity and therefore more flexibility than anything else. It’s a good rule of thumb when you want a mix and match look that’s eclectic rather than chaotic.
Cushions. Shout out to these big softies for always being there for us when we need comforting after a tough day, and for adding a quick flash of colour or pattern whenever we fancy a change. Cushions are incredibly versatile and pack an affordable and impactful punch that makes seasonal updates possible. Let’s face it, who has the time and money to revamp their entire decor every 6 months?
Throws. Every home should have one (at least – find your first or one-hundred-and-first here). Not only are they warming, they’re perfect for experimenting with a new accent colour, or for trying out a new shade for your sofa. Drape it over and tuck it in, then stand back to admire your faux-reupholstering skills.
Add plants. And lots of them. Green is soothing, and plants with variegated leaves are top of the green fingered list for 2018.
Find fun in the details
Once you’ve done with indoors, take it outside with…
A colourful front door. Pick a perky new colour and it’ll put an added spring in your step when you’re locking up on your way to work or coming home at the end of the day. It will also up your door’s instagramability, which is always in plus.