You don’t have to hire a professional designer to make your home look fabulous – homeowners themselves can do most interior design jobs. From sprucing up the living room or kitchen to a complete bedroom makeover, giving your home a whole new look can bring renewed energy to its occupants as well as adding value to a property. And with proper planning, a few essential tools and a good eye, it’s something any of us can turn our hand to.
Modern or vintage looks – simply and quickly
Old suburban houses and city flats can easily be given a new contemporary look with a fresh new colour scheme: imagine a bright feature wall or textured wallpaper to bring a tired living room up to date with current trends. Or breathe new life into perfectly functional, but hopelessly outdated kitchen units simply by purchasing new doors and designer handles.
In rural houses, a more rustic design is often suitable. The shabby chic look is both nostalgic and fashionable, and is one that anyone can achieve for just a small amount of money. Repaint old furniture; invest in some bold floral prints and upcycle old chairs and cabinets with new upholstery or by stripping chipped and faded paintwork. It’s also possible to find great shabby chic furniture bargains in second-hand and antique shops.
Going open concept
A rather more ambitious DIY job is to create a feeling of space in an old home by knocking down interior walls to create an open plan kitchen-lounge diner. Open concepts are all the rage in home design these days, and are quite possible in almost all houses; remember though that a load-bearing wall should never be demolished and that it is always essential to check for electrical cables or water pipes hidden inside a wall. If in any doubt, get professional advice before reaching for the sledgehammer.
It’s not always necessary to knock down a wall to create a feeling of space, sometimes it’s enough to remove a door and to expand the doorway by removing the frame, or by creating links between different areas with the help of a large, heavily textured rug. Remember that there’s quick money to be made by selling your discarded doors, unwanted furniture etc. through online marketplaces.
Go green with reclaimed furniture
The biggest trends in interior design currently are sustainability and the environment, and some of the hottest designers have found new and innovative ways to use reclaimed wood, to create a trendy eco-friendly bench seat to a forest-inspired shelf.
Lighting can really change the look of a room in such a deceptively simple way. Consider abandoning traditional rose pendants in the centre of a room and place smaller lamps around a room for a softer, more directed light. Tall stand lights as well as track lighting are also popular, and you could even make your own unique lampshades from reclaimed, found objects.
One of the biggest challenges for any homeowner or interior designer is finding a solution to the problem of clutter. A home is certainly not a show house, and everyone accumulates knick-knacks throughout their life, especially those who have already begun to extend the family with younger members. Fresh and creative storage ideas that utilise vertical wall space, under-the-bed or stairs areas or even making a feature of it with unusual boxes and containers are especially useful to the budding interior designer, and require no DIY building experience.