They say a change is as good as a holiday, so if your home is looking tired, giving it a rejuvenating new look may not be as tricky as you think.
Whether you’re looking to change your décor with the new season or just because it’s been a while between new cushions, the little things can make a big difference and can be quite inexpensive.
“In Australia we are quite reluctant to refresh and renew often, and most of the time we renew because of wear and tear rather than a change in season or new trends,” says Ikea’s Christian Becker. “People renovate more often than refresh completely, but they’re just not aware how easily you can make a change just by changing small things.”
However, things are being made easier by savvy manufacturers and retailers who are recognising people are keen to keep their decorator options open. For example, Domayne now offers slip covers for bedheads which can be interchanged. The slip covers range in price from $299 (single bed) to $699 (queen bed) and so far offer a choice of three prints, from a smart summery stripe to a bright floral, all in premium Warwick fabrics.
Becker says the key to making quick switches is to use what you have in the way of furniture and larger items and simply change smaller items around them. “Cushions and throws make such a difference. Even to put a bedspread over the couch is a big visual change without actually thinking too much about it and it’s very easy; everybody can do it.
“Lamp shades also are low cost and very easy to change. And, once you have a curtain rail up, you can change curtains which has a great impact because they’re such a dominant feature in a room.
“Consider using low-cost items in unique ways for an individual and interesting touch,” says Becker. For example, she suggests that low-cost rugs with interesting designs can be put on the wall for an innovative look. (Ikea has 2m x 2m sizes under $100).
“Self-confidence in your own choices is key. But look for a generous return policy so that if you’re not sure what will look good in your home buy two and take back the one that doesn’t work.”
Building confidence to make changes can start with simple steps such as changing accessories – what was old can become new again, used in a different way. For example, ceramics – from brightly coloured jars to ornamental animals and figurines – have made a comeback recently and are an inexpensive way to update the personality of a room. However, interior designer Lloyd Hodgkinsin of John Croft Design says scale is important to a modern look. “It’s good to go a little bit bigger than you might first think,” he says. Groupings, too, can create scale as an alternative to just larger items. Hodgkinsin suggests bright ceramics in pairs or groups. “Two big jars or a set of three at different heights looks a lot better than one on its own.”
Look to the key trends for spring as a guide to modernising the look of your home. Becker says turquoise is strong this season along with colours such as bright yellow, blue and pink, which all can be used for a refreshing effect.
“You can decide if you only want a chair or table in that colour and keep the rest of the space neutral or white. Pink is still one of the top-selling colours chosen by women but more men are starting to buy it as it becomes more common in men’s fashion. Flora wall prints also are very popular and are quite timeless.”
Blogs and books are also a good source of inspiration. For example, Design Sponge at Home by Grace Bonney (published by Hardie Grant) shows great ideas for use of cushions and colour, including the clever idea of painting the inside of a bookcase to add a new colour to a room without a big commitment and it is an interesting way to highlight a collection of books or ornaments. There are also crafty ways to turn some old basics like bottles, jars and cans into a creative collection of vases with a bit of paint and your own imagination.
If furniture is looking tired there are creative solutions to updating without having to replace it all. For example, Ikea has introduced single doors to its range of wardrobes and cabinets which can be selected or changed for an individual look. Also look for some budget basketwear that you can substitute for side tables or coffee tables for a lighter look.
Becker has more tips: “You can also insert fabric instead of having glass or solid doors on the front of cabinets. This is a very easy change and you can get the look you love for little money but with big impact.
“When you purchase things, you should look for things you can renew. The more you think about what you buy the more you’ll be welcoming of change, because it doesn’t have to be expensive.”