- Written by
- Dyani Van Basten Batenburg
Breathing life into spaces without breaking the bank
With cooler weather keeping us inside and exterior jobs on the backfoot, tuning into interior design must-dos behind closed doors starts to look more appealing than it did in summertime. So, how to refreshen, smarten and rejuvenate spaces without losing your mind – or tonne of money for that matter? You start out how you mean to carry on – lights, paint and baby steps!
My room, your room
“I think anyone wanting to refreshen their home needs to consider the impact factor first and foremost. Do you entertain a lot and want to impress friends with a revived lounge and living space? Or are you wanting to create a bedroom space that has the most impact for you at the end of the day – a sanctuary to relax in?” questions Nicola Travis of Bay of Plenty’s Nicola Travis Interiors. “Start with one room – don’t try to do it all at once.”
Get preppy with it
A clean coat of paint is a sure-fire way of lifting a space – and you can’t go past whites and neutrals to perform. And, to ensure a smooth and seamless finish – it’s all in the prep.
“For a standard lounge space – approximately 5m by 8.5m – allow two-to-three day’s prep and paint. Depending on your skill level (always check in with your paint supplier for hot tips and product advice) that includes masking, cutting in, maybe a sand in between your first and second coats,” she advises. “And, don’t forget there’s some stunning neutral wallpapers available too. Many people assume you have to use a ‘loud’ wallpaper on a feature wall, but softer tones and textures can be equally as effective.”
See the light
Maximising height and light are also key interior winners in any room. As a general rule of thumb, the higher the curtain rod, the taller the window will appear. By placing your rods closer to the ceiling and opting for floor to ceiling drapes, you’ll create that illusion of height.
Fortunately, nowadays it’s not hard to come by beautiful linen-look sheers for a reasonable price – think Spotlight, Briscoes, The Warehouse, Ezibuy. And, overlaying textured neutral curtains above roller blinds gifts a sense of depth and movement.
As for light, second-hand stores or Trade Me are great places to pick up lampshade bargains. Both table and floor lamps make great character pieces in any room – and often you can revamp an old shade with a hot glue gun and new fabric for under $20 dollars.
Simultaneously, adding a reupholstered foot stool to a lounge space or upcycling bedroom side tables, are both simple DIY projects that can gift a unique point-of-difference. And don’t forget rugs – these make a great statement piece – and can really anchor a space by adding warmth and texture.
For those with eyes for a revised lounge, aim for less is more on the accessorising and decorating front, says Nicola.
“I tend to invest in timeless pieces that I love and change out other bits as my style evolves. I don’t believe in following trends to the letter but there are those staples that serve well: stone ware, neutral tones, wood, and brass accents.”
Plants are a great way to inject lush green – which can elevate a space – but if you’re not into the jungle look, try not to overdo it.
As for cushions, aim for three-to-four on a couch – don’t go overkill, it’s not a show home – and don’t forget to add in a throw or two.
“Hunt out local artists’ affordable prints – Kmart and The Warehouse boast a wide range of frames with reasonable price tags,” says Nicola. “As for the bedroom, for a cosy feel opt for some warm earthy tones on the walls and a painted headboard for an additional feature.”
To create a private nook, think chair and a footstool; texture via blankets and throws; add in the ambience with a few candles (which are very on-trend in 2021 – just saying!)