If you’ve just bought a new home, have spent all your budget on fees and the actual purchase and are now looking round in horror at the dark, cramped-looking space you’ve signed up for, don’t panic! Alternatively, you might have been very happy with your home decor fifteen years ago and not really touched it since. Perhaps you’ve even stopped noticing how dated it looks?
Either way, help is at hand! It’s time to bring your home interior living space into the 21st century with these simple tips.
Less is more
Nothing says ‘dated decor’ like a crowded, fussy interior. Highly patterned wallpaper, too much furniture for the room, ornaments on every surface and dozens of pictures and photos everywhere can make a room look smaller than it is.
A modern look is clean and minimalist, using neutral colours such as grey, beige and white as a base with occasional splashes of bold colour in the form of rugs, cushions or key accessories. Try floors carpeted in a plain, neutral colour, or stripped back to bare floorboards and varnished or painted.
Paint walls in a light colour, or introduce a feature wall of a deeper colour or wallpaper to add impact and interest.
What to do
If you were starting from scratch, it would be easy. Most of us, though, don’t have that luxury and have to start from where we are. Begin by addressing the basics. Are your floorboards good enough to ditch the carpet completely and go down to bare wood? This is a cheap option to transform a room, but you may need to hire an electric sander and get ready to apply quite a few coats of varnish or paint. If your floorboards aren’t up to being exposed and you can’t afford to replace a noisy, old-fashioned carpet, add a few cheap, neutral cotton rugs to tone it down a bit.
Re-painting the walls is another relatively quick and budget-friendly way of transforming the space. If you’ve inherited some really busy wallpaper and you’ve chosen a light-coloured paint, you may need a lot of coats to cover it up – in fact, it might be quicker and cheaper to strip the wallpaper first and start again.
Next, it’s onto the windows. The idea is to let in the maximum amount of light possible, so it’s out with anything fussy (pelmets, swags, drapes, tie-backs) and in with blinds, simple curtains or even nothing at all. If you like still like your original curtain material, why not have it dry cleaned to freshen it up and then re-make it into a simpler design?
Next, it’s onto the contents of your home. This is where you need to be really ruthless, or you’ll undo all your good work so far!
Take a long look at each piece of furniture you own. For a modern look, you need just a few key pieces with clean, simple lines. If you don’t love it, or it can’t be rescued with a new coat of paint, then perhaps it’s time to let it go. Many charity shops now have furniture outlets who’ll collect larger items free of charge.
If you’re on a limited budget, invest in just one new piece of furniture such as a drop-dead gorgeous sofa. Long, low and sleek gives a modern feel – try looking for a sofa with a metal frame for a contemporary twist.
Choose a pale colour for a neutral canvas that won’t date quickly, but don’t be tempted to go for style over substance – anything white or too light in colour won’t survive a household of small children or dogs!
Finally, don’t forget the lighting, which can really transform a room. Out go fussy lampshades, and in come sleek modern glass, recessed spotlights and sculptured lamps in modern materials such as aluminium and copper, perfect for completing your new look.