How would you feel if we said to you that you could pick a room in your house or apartment and do something really simple and fast that would have a big impact on how that room looks. Perhaps even to the point where you might say “I could take a picture of this room, pin it on Pinterest and it wouldn’t look out of place”?
Hopefully you’d feel pretty excited at the prospect. And yes, the post title gave it away, that’s exactly what we’re going to show you how to do.
Some of these are tried and tested tricks that great interior designers might use to add that little je ne sais quoi. Some are just from our own trial and error.
Declutter and Spruce Up
First and foremost, and I know I run the risk of turning you off from the start, you can make an instant (ok, so with a bit of effort) impact by getting rid of stuff you don’t like that much and have no need for. Also just a quick tidy of things that are unsightly every day can have a huge impact on how you view your home.
If storage is a problem, then combine one of the other categories below (a new piece of furniture) with a tidy up and create some beautiful storage that is nice to look at.
Another trick is to simply re-arrange what you already have to make your space look completely different with zero expense!
No, you don’t have to spend huge amounts of money on original artwork. You can pick up some really cool prints of almost anything that takes your fancy for anywhere from £5 to £50 and then frame it. Although purchasing a good piece of art is a really good way to invest some of your money as it provides a more interesting, appealing way of appreciating your savings!
We have an awesome poster by a Polish artist called Waldemar Swierzy. It’s called bear in tuxedo and it cost us £19.50. It hangs in our lovely new bathroom (Took a bit of persuasion to get Catrin to agree).
You can even buy digital prints from Etsy and get an online company like pics2posters to print them for you. Catrin got a pop art print of good old Queen Liz for about £9 including printing.
There is also the option of creating your own piece of art. You can buy a large canvas for £50-£100, or a piece of MDF for £20 and get creative. Perhaps a few broad strokes in a complimentary or contrasting colour to your decor.
It doesn’t have to specifically be a work of art…what can be more beautiful than personal prints of your family, especially when they remind you of fantastic days together.
As you might be able to tell, this is one of our favourite ways to add instant drama, elegance or whimsy to a room. James has even been allowed a tasteful nude in our living room (a piece of artwork, not a personal print!!).
If you are a little bit interested in investing in art (I like to call it investing in rather than buying because art tends to hold its value very well) have a look at the tips here from the Royal Academy and here from Renee Sylvestre-Williams at Forbes.
If you’ve read my post ‘8 indoor plants that will transform your home and wellbeing‘ (if not, why not!?) then you’ll get an idea that we love plants in this household. The benefits, both visually and healthily are hard to ignore.
It can be a little expensive to bring larger plants in for immediate, dramatic impact, but we’re only talking around the £100-£150 mark. Most house plants tend to grow fairly rapidly though, so you can go for something smaller and grow it up with the right care.
Smaller plants will still have a big impact though. We do seem to naturally respond well to plants and green spaces so anything natural, be it large or small will make a difference.
A good starter is the Monstera Deliciosa. We bought ours for around £25 at 2-3 feet tall a few months ago and it has grown to about 4 feet tall already.
Pops of Colour
This could be an accessory (or series of accessories!) that contrasts with your decor, a feature wall of a paint colour that stands out against the rest of the room or even a repurposed piece of furniture spray painted in your favourite colour.
You may have been able to introduce an exciting colour with some artwork, such as our Queen Elizabeth print. Why not carry that on with accessories in the same colour? Some cushions on the sofa, a throw on the bed or a table runner on the dining room table.
When it comes to feature walls of colour, try to be brave. At the end of the day, you can just paint over it again if you think you’ve made a mistake. There are a few key things to keep in mind:
- Use the wall that you are drawn to when you walk into the room anyway as your feature wall so that you are accentuating the best wall rather than competing with it. This may also be combined with placing the most important piece of furniture in the room against or near the feature wall if applicable.
- If your room is neutral already, go as bold as you like. If the room already has a strong colour, look at complimentary colours (try this tool).
- Get arty! In our boy’s bedroom we painted a feature wall deep blue and then got a gold pen and drew stars all over it. This is a great opportunity to unleash your inner creative if you want… remember that it can be painted over! Perhaps even let the kids at it!? Too much??
Vase of Flowers
This is a really simple way to make a surprisingly dramatic impact in a room. Make sure it holds pride of place in a position that will be immediately seen when you walk into the room. We are all inbuilt with a desire to see natural things like flowers in our environment, so seeing a vase of flowers will always make you see your room positively.
One word you need to keep in mind for a good floral display: Foliage! It helps give a luxurious, full look to your arrangement while keeping costs down! Eucalyptus and ferns are always a good start. Filler plants like gyp and poms are also good.
We like to go for opaque white vases so that they hide the stems and they do not take away from the beauty of the flowers.
To make your flowers last longer here are a few tips:
- When placing flowers in your vase cut the stems at an angle with a sharp knife.
- As soon as the water starts to look cloudy, take your flowers out and clean the vase thoroughly, then refill. Take the opportunity to get rid of dead leaves and flower heads.
- Use the flower preserver that comes with some flowers. or get some from a florist, or good old Amazon.
- Try not to place them in direct sunlight, near fruit or near heat sources or drafts.
If buying fresh flowers every week or two seems like it could get a bit expensive in the long run, it might be worth investing in some artificial flowers. The quality of artificial flowers has improved greatly. Ikea do some good, inexpensive ones and you can find some on Amazon too. If start off with just one arrangement and work up from that you could have year round flowers permanently in no time at all.
Adding a mirror to a room does two ‘design’ jobs. It helps make the room look bigger and adds a focal point. Right now, circular mirrors are bang on trend, especially with a thin wooden, metallic or leather surround. Hang one in your hallway for instant walk-in-the-front-door impact as well as giving your guests a chance to check themselves when they realise what a stylish house they just walked into!
We made even more of a feature with mirrors in our living room by using a grid of 9 antique effect mirrors. It has become a real talking point when people walk in and was around £150 to make. You don’t need to spend this much though, standard mirror glass is much cheaper from a glass supplier and you can get a frame from Ikea or Amazon or an online frame supplier such as eframe.
New Piece of Furniture
Again, you may be thinking this is an expensive way to add instant impact, but you might be surprised what you can do cheaply.
You could be brave and get stuck into some DIY to create your own piece, such as the incredible live edge wood table above. You can pick up wood ‘slabs’ as they are called for as little as £200 depending on the species of wood, how interesting it is and whether you want it as one whole piece or two edges jointed together. We have several DIY project furniture pieces in our house and we’ll be trying to get these projects written up on the site asap!
Perhaps you could go down the Ikea hack route and be inspired by some of the ideas in our recent post on high-end hacks. Failing that, Ikea also has a great range of high quality furniture these days. Use our post on Ikea products you don’t need hack as a starter.
The sky is the limit in this category. And yes, there is the option of splashing out on a nice designer piece that just makes your room come alive if you can afford it, just make sure it is something that will be really useful as well as definitely add to the look of your space. This is something you can also look at as an investment but without a great chance of increase in value, especially if it is used well. More of a lifestyle investment!
A Statement Rug
What is a statement rug?? Well, if you’ve ever walked into a room and said ‘oh, I love your rug!’ (Jokes aside..) then that was a statement rug!
We have a fantastic faux zebra print rug in our living room that always gets a comment. And our 3 year old son loves rolling around on it due to it’s softness. Cow print rugs would also work well in most designs. Antique Persian style rugs are also a great choice right now.
Don’t be afraid to go for something bold and try to think about dimensions so that it neither dominates the room nor is lost in it. Allow at least 18 inches between rug and wall and either try and get all the furniture on it or all the furniture off it, except perhaps a coffee table.
A rug is a great way to bring in something luxurious or something striking that you weren’t quite brave enough to do with the rest of the room (and we won’t blame you for that, you have to live with it after all!).
Something that often gets forgotten is the lighting in a room. You don’t need to plan a rewire though, just add in some tactical lighting in the form of table lamps or floor lamps.
In a small room you might need to light all four corners to make it look bigger. Think about accent lighting for particular features in a room that would look great lit up. Also consider task lighting for anything you will be doing regularly in a room that will need good light such as reading in a chair in the living room or chopping on a work surface.
LED strip lighting is also something that can be installed relatively easily if you get the kind that comes with a plug. We have a recessed headboard in our bedroom with LED strip lights at the top which have a really dramatic effect and give a good reading light!
Something out of the Ordinary
You could go for the diamond encrusted rocking horse that made an appearance on world’s most expensive toys. Or you could reign it back a little. If you make that your extreme starting point then there’ll definitely be something you can bring into your scheme that you wouldn’t normally have allowed yourself.
For me the phrase that encompasses this category is objets d’art and normally this just describes any piece of art, be it sculpture, painting or drawing but I like to think of it as something that you find beautiful to look at. This can be a collection of antique cameras, a neon sign or perhaps the old classic ship in a bottle that I think is long overdue a comeback!
Why not make an event of it and go scouring a couple of car boot sales for something that takes your fancy? The world is your oyster!
Take one thing from this article
If there is one thing you should end up taking away after reading this, I hope it is that you shouldn’t hold back when adding style and impact to your decor. By all means, take some time to think it over, but I think we’ve demonstrated that you can very quickly and not too expensively make a dramatic change to your home.
Is there anything creative you’ve done in your home that has made a big difference?