You don’t need to spend a fortune – or have an out of the ordinary house – to give every room that something special – all it takes is a little imagination and a willingness to experiment (and possibly do some DIY). Try our 20 low cost options for a fabulous home.By Sarah Warwick
1. Create a panel
Large print wallpapers look amazing, but even putting a DIY store buy around the whole room will add up. Instead, spend your money wisely by creating a panel of paper on the focal wall – such as on a chimney breast or behind a sofa.
2. Go for a dramatic shade
Using a dark or dramatic paint shade in a room will make a real difference to it. A bedroom is a good place to do this – darker shades are often too overpowering for a living space. Then, to finish the look, buy a new set of bedlinen with a glamorous feel.
3. Make a display
The cost of a couple of shelves and existing or junk yard finds is all you need to give a dining room character. Try this in bathrooms and living spaces too but, as in all rooms, try to keep the shelves as uncluttered as possible (we’re talking pretty here, not practical) and attempt to co-ordinate your display by buying things in similar colours and/or shapes.
4. Hang a big picture
In a room with walls that are largely plain, a very big canvas or framed picture can have an instant effect. You can buy plain canvases from craft shops if you want to have a go at creating your own work of art. If not, stores such as Ikea sell paintings and photographs cheaply – or, better still, you might be lucky enough to pick something up at a reclamation yard or antiques shop.
5. Put up a big light fitting
Changing a plain lampshade for a boldly scaled modern design needn’t cost much, but it’ll have a huge effect. Pick one up at a DIY store or Ikea for a good deal.
6. Find fabulous curtains
Spend out on a curtain fabric you’ve fallen in love with and make a floor-to-ceiling design the centrepiece of your room. A gathered heading means you can economise on the amount of fabric you need, and it’ll still look fantastic. If you can, look in reclamation yards or antiques shops for fabrics or secondhand jewels.
7. Buy a bright rug
Putting down a boldly coloured rug is often all it takes to turn a very plain space into one with wow factor. It helps, of course, if you can keep the rest of the space fairly plain but beautifully furnished like this hallway.
8. Display your best pieces
If you’ve got a few really great objets, displaying them in a group in a place that everyone will see them is often better than spreading them around the house. Top off the display by hanging an eye-catching picture behind them.
9. Draw attention to a statement piece
Whether you’ve bought a place with a roll top bath or one with a nice countertop sink, you can use colour to further enhance its impact. With a bath, paint the exterior in a bold or dramatic colour. Or, choose a boldly coloured or shaped chair; fit an eye-catching headboard to your bed… and so on.
10. Choose a bold scheme for a small space
In a characterless hallway, a tiny downstairs loo, even a poky bathroom, a really brave decorating scheme can make it something show-stopping. You needn’t be wacky – but a confident approach should create a fun, fabulous result.
For more shopping advice and how to guides on designing your home visit Channel 4 / 4Homes
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