I guess we’re all feeling the pinch right now. But just because the cost of living is soaring it doesn’t mean we have to completely stop giving our homes a little love. Yes, the planned extension might have to be put on hold, there’s no money in the kitty for wallpaper and the new sofa may have to wait. Yet in spite of these unwelcome set-backs, there is plenty we can do to freshen up tired rooms with little or no budget. It just requires a shift in thinking. And I usually find that inspiration strikes exactly when our choices are narrowed down.
Inspired by Pockets of Personality
The above image features the Windsor Chair by Ercol. A design classic that you may already have in your possession if you’re really lucky. But the rest of this lovely vignette shows what I call a Pocket of Personality. A small corner of a room that speaks volumes about its owner and is so full of interest that it takes a while to absorb all of the details. And it’s exactly the kind of corner that we can all create when money is tight and we nevertheless want to ring the changes. A change is as good as a rest, right?
Move Things Around
Just because a chair or side table has always been in the bedroom, doesn’t mean it has to stay there. Try it out in the living room instead. It’s amazing how you stop seeing things until you place them somewhere else. And from my experience it’s no good just trying to visulize it in a new context, you have to phyically pick it up and move it to know if it’s going to work or not. I have been guilty of jumping up from Netflix bingeing to move furniture around. Otherwise known as having a bee in my bonnet.
Utilise Wall Space and Unused Corners
Even the smallest of houses will have some under utilised areas. It might just be the top of the kitchen cabinets, that blank wall above the stairs, or even under them. Get your thinking cap on and imagine what they can be used for. A display space for baskets maybe? A handy ledge for hats, plants, or colourful stationery? Only you will know what will look best and suit your needs.
Shop Your Home
Don’t just move furniture around. There maybe smaller, decorative items lurking in dark corners or even cupboards that really should see the light of day. Use your imagination and try to think of a better use for those old handbags, soup tureens or left over wallpaper samples.
Shop Second Hand
Since moving house I’ve discovered the joy in shopping online for things I need. For less that the cost of a meal out each I’ve bought a coffee table, bedside cabinets, sideboard, chairs, wall cabinets and a mirror. You might not see what you want for a while, but it’s worth a daily search until that elusive item turns up. You are also doing your best for the planet by saving items from landfill. And best of all, they were all bought by money accrued by selling my own unwanted items on the same site. Win, win.
There’s never been so much inspiration around for diy upcycling. Or crafting. Just a quick search on YouTube, Instagram or Pinterest will provide all the know-how to sew cushions, renovate second hand furniture or make a macrame wall-hanging. And the satisfaction you get from making something yourself far outweighs the buzz of buying something new.
Create a Gallery
A gallery wall doesn’t have to created with prints bought online. Most of us have a stash of old family photo’s. The older the better in my mind. Wouldn’t they look better mounted and displayed in a frame? Or what about those holiday postcards you once had a thing for? Did I mention wallpaper samples above? I still have some craft paper mounted in frames from years ago. I still love them. Gallery walls can also include things that are not art. Tiny hand mirrors for instance. Or a crucifix. In fact they usually look better for having something unexpected.
Display Your Collections
Also taking inspiration from the image that started all of this. Why not display you collections all together instead of dotted about. Yes shells can look wonderful but so can matchboxes, coffee table books, wooden beads, trinkets and holiday souvenirs.
Include One Outstanding Piece
Finally. And this one is important. Include something in that Pocket of Personality that is a bit more up to date. Or a design classic like the Ercol chair. Maybe something from this century. Just to create a contrast and prevent your newly formed vignette from looking like a museum piece.