A fresh look
As summer approaches, there's no better way to embrace the new season than by making a few home improvements.
Whether you're planning a big refurbishment or simply looking to make some decorative tweaks, we have six great ideas on how you can refresh your home...
One of the easiest ways to update your home is by applying a new coat of paint. Touching up paintwork can make a huge difference to a room, making it look fresher, cleaner and, if you choose a new hue, giving it a completely different feel. Grey is as popular as ever, but if you're feeling fashionable, the colours to try this year are soft pinks and calm blues. Or, plump for richer shades such as petrol blue or mossy green, which are dramatic and contemporary, yet surprisingly fresh.
How you use a room can often change over the years. Living rooms can turn from grown-up spaces to child-friendly areas and vice versa, the need for a dining room may come and go, whilst a spare room can easily be transformed from a bedroom to a study. Consider how you can best use your space by moving furniture around or even drawing up a flat plan of how the room would look if used in another way. Changing the layout or even the use of a room doesn't have to cost the earth, but can make a huge difference to your home.
From catwalk to kitchen cupboard, pink is the hue of the year. Go blush for a soft, feminine feel or introduce hot pops of colour for a more vibrant look. Experiment with small buys such as pink mugs or plates, make a statement by investing in coloured cushions, rugs and artwork for your living room or bedroom, or go for all-out-wow with a new piece of furniture such as an armchair, headboard or sofa.
The heart of the
As the place where you cook, eat, relax and entertain, the kitchen is arguably the most important room in your house. Which is why extending it with a rear or side-return can really change the feel and size of your entire home (and add value in the process). Alternatively, makeover your existing space with a new floor, a new work surface or new tiles. Even updating your appliances in bold colours (a hot pink kettle or copper-coloured toaster) can make a dramatic difference without a huge outlay. And, as the social hub of the home, hi-tech additions such as built-in speakers can really give a kitchen a contemporary edge.
From fabrics to furniture, wallpaper to wardrobes, metal is having an interiors moment. Used in a softer, less architectural manner than in previous years, designers are subtly incorporating metals and metallic hues into all aspects of home décor. Inject some modern industrial chic into your home by incorporating fabrics woven with gold, copper or silver thread into your design scheme, or consider using metallic-tinged wallpaper to refresh a room. Alternatively, invest in a piece of furniture such as a copper-finished table or gold-plated lamp - although opt for burnished gold if you want a contemporary feel. If you'd like to go even further, then you could turn an otherwise unremarkable feature such as a radiator into a conversation piece by swapping your old model with a chunky iron version, or replace a worn kitchen worktop with a sparkling new zinc, stainless steel or pewter one.
Everyone knows how good nature can make you feel, which is why this year's trend for botanical prints and patterns is such a lovely one. Bring the outside into your home by using flowery or palm-print fabrics or pineapple-themed wallpaper in contemporary patterns and colour ways. Alternatively, turn to natural materials such as wood and stone in chunky, rustic designs. If you really want to bring the outside 'in', install a 'living plant wall' fashioned from live plants or take a more affordable route by purchasing a few pot plants to give your home a fresh feel.