Giving your home a simple refresh needn’t cost the earth. Interior Designer Victoria Barker of Studio Faeger shares her simple and inexpensive styling tips to give you and your home a lift
Tip 1: Outdoors
Re-paint your front door or garden gate a new colour. Try and be daring, test your comfort zones and you won’t be disappointed. This is the entrance and exit to all walks of your life, the first thing you see in the morning, and a greeting as you return home in the evening. You see it bringing home your first baby, waving them off to their first day of school, leaving home the morning of your wedding day and come home from days of grief. Make it true and exciting.
Tip 2: Snacking
Make your afternoon snacks a little more exciting and eat them from your favourite plate or dish (rather than the supermarket packaging!) and enjoy your water from a sweet little jug rather than the bottle – I always try and take snacks out of their packaging – even if it is just a few grapes and cherries. This gorgeous little plate is from maker Rachael Cocker.
Tip 3: Secondhand treasures
Charity shops and flea markets are the perfect place to pick up old plate sets and great value art work. I hung this old plate set above the door in the eaves bedroom of my home.
Tip 5: Flowers and foliage
Find some old bottles or jam jars in the back of your kitchen cupboards and forage for wild flowers and spring foliage, let them dry upside down and use them to dress bedside tables and drawers. Find an old plate to place your daily jewellery in by your bedside over-night.
Tip 6: Blinds
Sew some new roll blinds and ties from left-over fabric. I made these little blinds from some left-over pink corduroy and attached them to the window reveal with a bamboo stick from the garden and loop screw hooks.
Tip 7: Pretty hangers
Swap your mismatched coat hangers for some sweet patterned upholstered ones and hang them on the backs of doors or on wall hooks. Even if you don’t use them they still look pretty. These strawberry ones are by Sewellen Creations on Etsy and cost £8.50 for a set of two.
Tip 8: Bathroom updates
Panel your walls with off-the-shelf bead and butt moisture-resistant panelling. And add a little café curtain to the window in some left-over fabric or a cost-effective ticking stripe – check out Merchant and Mills for some good value ticking. Tie together a lovely big bunch of your foraged goods and hang from a ribbon on a picture hook. This lovely bunch of eucalyptus is dried from my brother’s wedding flowers which I put together for him last spring.
Tip 9: Baskets
Find a lovely big basket and pile your loo roll sky high. This basket is from The Basket Room in my neighbouring Cotswold village of Charlbury. They commission families in Africa to make single one-off baskets in lots of gorgeous colours.
Tip 10: Joyful messages
Hang a big and happy mirror on the wall and not necessarily above your basin. This was a lucky 6am £20 find from a flea market one very cold winter morning. Hang joyful messages of artwork in places you pass on a daily basis. This little card, which reads ‘be well’, is from Daylesford and is framed in an Ikea frame backed with a piece of card painted in left-over paint from my kitchen cupboards. The little lampshade is from Rosi de Ruig.
Tip 11: Planting
Find a container or any bowl and re-plant some spring and summer bulbs, either dug up from your garden or bought online in some current great garden centre sales. This is an enamel salad bowl from Garden Trading that I have repurposed for the time being as a plant pot, since all of my others are full. I like to cover our table in spring bulbs and find it brings so much joy.
Tip 12: Worktops
Use a sweet basket on your worktop for your bread and daily treats. The herbarium on the wall was £20 from Daylesford and is still stuck on with blue tack since I haven’t got around to framing it.
Tip 13: Plate racks
Treat yourself to a new plate rack and pull all of your favourite dinner plates and memorable finds out of the cupboards and put them on display. I bought this oak rack from Rowen and Wren and fill it with freshly picked flowers from the garden, dried foraged foliage and hand-written thank you notes from my Air BnB guests and illustrations from friends. It’s a happy corner of memories in my kitchen.
Tip 14: Add pattern
Hang a fun quilt, French mattress or blanket over the back of your sofa or armchair for an inexpensive change. This pastel Welsh blanket is from Rowen and Wren. This same tip also works well with headboards too and doesn’t need to be limited to blankets; it could be a lovely textile of block-print patterned fabric you have hanging around the house. Not only does it make it super cosy but it looks fun and is practical with kiddies and dogs as it can be thrown in the wash if needed.
Tip 15: Snug
Hide your television in a lovely old cabinet so it is not always on show. I bought this sweet corner dresser from ebay for the whopping bargain of just £26. I re-painted it with left-over paint and replaced the wire door inserts with Cristopher Farr cloth Pollen. I pleated it by hand and used a staple gun, and a LOT of patience.
Tip 16: Window seats
Make them super cosy with an old grain sack seat cushion and feather inner (not foam), lots of cushions and a little lamp, so it still feels inviting in the dark evenings.
Tip 17: Cushions
Hand-sewn using favourite fabric remnants and spare bed pillows, I find they make the perfect sized cushion and are so squishy. The inners are also much cheaper to purchase than specific cushion inners. If you are looking for some cost-effective fabrics to make some new cushions, try Cloth House in Soho as they have some lovely antique stretch cotton stripes. Also the Cloth Shop on Portobello Road and Merchant and Mills in Rye (also who sell online, re-opening their online shop for isolation boredom on 17 April). If you’re feeling the frill, add a little pom pom or tassel to current cushions to give them a bit of va va voom!
Tip 18: Art hanging
Don’t always feel like art needs to be hung high or at eye level, I hang art in all sorts of places; high and low. And I don’t just hang framed painting but also tapestries, plates, plants, pressed flowers from the garden, cards, enamel etchings, hand illustrations… anything that makes you smile.