Christmas has come and gone, the cold weather is really here, we are out of January and headed towards spring. Only thing is, it doesn't really feel like it. Surely I'm not the only one in a bit of a rut, so here are a few ideas to refresh your home that don't really involve much time or money.
1. Cushions and soft furnishings
Well you knew I was going to say that, didn't you? Nonetheless, the transformative effect of a few brightly coloured cushions, a blanket or a rug can really lift a room. So many times I've had people walk into my living room and say "What have you done to the room? It looks so different!". I've had the walls painted the same white for almost a decade and the same sofas too. The only thing I change is the cushion covers. You can spend whatever you can afford or if you're handy and have a sewing machine, there are some really easy tutorials you can follow on YouTube for envelope style covers that require no zips, so really easy to make. Invest in your interiors accessories and build a collection that gives you lots of scope to mix and match whatever mood you're in.
2. Flowers and plants
This is possibly one of the easiest fixes. These days you can get seasonal flowers inexpensively from your local supermarket. At the moment M&S is doing lovely daffodils for £1 a bunch. Grab a few and you've got flowers to put all around your house. For those of you lucky enough to have a garden, experiment with different types of foliage in different types of vessels.
Or if you don't like the idea of the weekly investment of cut flowers or have concerns around sustainability, get some house plants. They're fantastic for cleaning the air in your home and obviously last longer than cut flowers. I recently bought some great ceramic pots from Anthropologie and they were all under £10. The houseplants from my local garden centre were between £3-5 pounds and still going strong which is a miracle as I am dreadful with keeping plants alive!
3. Shop what you have and swap things around
I am a huge believer in this. It's easy to forget or to become blind to some of the lovely things we have in our homes. You might have a jug in the kitchen that you can easily move to a living room, fill with flowers and pop on the coffee table. Likewise, a photo you've had sitting in a corner in the living room might be better on a wall in the kitchen. Move the pictures on your wall around. Go into each room where you live and see what might work in a different way in another room. The lamp base in the guest bedroom might work even better in the hallway with a different shade on it. Or go and get a sample paint pot and paint it a different colour.
Have a look at @the_colour_file or @shelfiebook on Instagram for great ideas on rearranging and working with the things you have.
Be confident and move things into places you wouldn't normally do! Move your sofa to a different place.The worst thing that can happen is that you put it back where you originally found it...or repaint it if you have a thing with sample paint pots, like I do.
Anyone ever read David Sedaris's essay "The Shadow Of Your Smile"? He notes "It's funny how with the flick of a switch you can perform a virtual charmectomy: wiping away everything that made a place inviting". Like David, I too have a strong aversion to overhead lights, especially non-dimmable ones. What I do have is a lot of table lamps. And lamp shades. Some of these I cover myself. Not with any great skill, but with a can of spray adhesive instead. IKEA does lamp bases and lampshades starting from about £4 which you can customise or just use to freshen things up. My favourite lamp bases are from Pooky Lighting and I've bought really fun, handpainted lampshades from Nellie who you can find on her shop called TheCambridgeHouse on Etsy or Instagram. Otherwise there are lovely scalloped shades at places like Matilda Goad but I don't trust the flying footballs, skateboards, children and cats at our house to make that investment right now, but they are really lovely if you want to treat yourself!
Anyway, table lamps and lamp shades area great way to make your home cosy. They don't have to cost a fortune, but if you opt for something with a little bit more oompf, they really will change the way your home looks.
5. Clean and Organise
"BORING" I hear you say from wherever you are on earth reading this. Spend 15 minutes in one room, removing the piles of random stuff that can accumulate on various pieces of furniture, or the kitchen counter top in my case. Dust off the surfaces, clean the floor and open the windows (even for a minute or two if it's cold outside) to get some fresh air in. Look at the space and appreciate it.
If you've got another 15, look inside a cupboard or bookshelf and tidy them up a bit. Remove anything that doesn't need to be there. You will have made a bit more space which for me at least, gives me a bit more space mentally too.
Or go into the kitchen and sort out one drawer.
I know that this is probably the least interesting idea, but don't underestimate it. The only thing you give up is your time and I guarantee that afterwards you won't regret it and will enjoy spending time in your home a little bit more.
As a matter of fact, I am going to go off right now and do this exact thing to my living room!
And please, whilst I remember, can you please wash your cushion covers? It gets rid of the dust mites and once they've been washed and ironed they somehow make a room look really pulled together again.
Hope you find these helpful and please let me know if you have any other quick and easy house refresh ideas I may have forgotten to mention!