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    15 Mar, 2020
    Posted by justelectric
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    Floor paint and potted herbs: Five inexpensive ways to freshen up your home | Life and style

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    Be patient

    It can be tempting – and expensive – to want to furnish a house in one go, but Alexandra Stedman, who runs the interiors and lifestyle site The Frugality, advises living in a space “for as long as possible. The best way of making a house a home is to build things up over time, with things that hold memories. It’s not about buying everything brand new, off the rack. It could be a picture you pick up at a car-boot sale and give a frame six months later, but then it fits that perfect spot on the wall that has been missing something.”

    Switch it off

    Turn off overhead lights, says the interior designer Joanna Plant, and get several lamps instead. “I’ve counted mine in my sitting room and I’ve got eight,” she says. Lamps can be bought inexpensively from high-street chains or charity shops such as those run by the British Heart Foundation. “Lighting is one of the most important things,” says Plant. “You can have a beautiful interior, but if it’s badly lit, it’s going to feel awful.”

    Freshen up

    “Paint is great for cleaning rooms up,” says Stedman. “It doesn’t have to be expensive; if you’re doing it to make it fresh and clean, bog-standard white paint looks great.” She used old paint left over from her last house, and donated by friends, in her home. Floor paint is a cheaper and nicer alternative to carpet. “Our floorboards aren’t perfect – they’ve been hacked away to put pipes in and they’re all chipped – but once you put paint on, it completely changes the room.”

    Choose vintage

    As well as being more environmentally friendly, vintage can be much cheaper than the high street (we are not talking antiques here). Plant recommends antiques fairs and markets as good places to hunt out French linen sheets: “They make great upholstery fabric and curtaining.” Silver cutlery, too: “Setting up a kitchen can be such an expensive thing to do, but you can go to markets and buy silver cutlery for five quid a bundle.” The interior designer Lonika Chande is also a fan of markets and junk shops. Old textiles, she says, “really transform a place. Just putting one cushion made from an old fabric on a new sofa instantly makes it feel more homely.” She advises looking out for old rugs. “Go as big as possible and have as much of the furniture sitting on the rug as you can.” She likes the Lohals jute rug from Ikea to use as a base, then layer smaller, affordable vintage rugs on top. “That makes it feel cosy and is an inexpensive way of transforming a space.”

    Think about the smaller details

    A statement sofa is a budget-buster, but small changes can make a big difference in unloved corners and rooms. Chande suggests spending money on interesting pillowcases to go with cheaper, plain white bed linen, and buying potted herbs to brighten up kitchens and dining rooms. Pick up a selection of different picture frames from boot sales or charity shops, and frame things that mean something to you. “It could be a menu from a restaurant you went to on a special occasion or postcards,” says Chande. “A collection of small pictures together in smaller spaces is very effective. Focus on areas that are sometimes overlooked, such as the kitchen.”

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