For most of us, moving into our first home is just about the most exciting thing ever. As we enter through the door for the very first time, we feel an immense sense of pride that those four walls belong to us and no one else. We spend hours trawling through interior design magazines and Pinterest, searching for inspiration – the latest colour palettes, furniture trends, picture-hanging styles, and more.
But of course, the harsh reality always returns to slap us round the chops and wake us up from our interior design fantasy. And in most cases, the harsh reality is expense. Getting on to the property ladder is incredibly difficult these days without either parental help or years spent saving for a deposit – this leaves many first time buyers considerably out-of-pocket, and prevents them from being able to make those much-desired home improvements for months, even years after moving in. What’s more, for those of us still in rented, our landlords would be less than amused if we hung a picture on the wall and dared to leave even the tiniest of holes behind!
However, there are several inexpensive ways in which you can make your mark on your property and add a little flair.
Replace old handles
Just altering the handles on a chest of drawers or bathroom vanity cabinet can make a huge difference to a room. After all, it’s the attention to detail and small touches that really turn a house into a home. You could always keep the original handles if you’re in rented accommodation or plan on reselling the furniture some day.
These ceramic handles can be found at Marks and Spencer for just £3.50.
Baskets, baskets, and more baskets
Wooden baskets are so versatile, and can add rustic charm to any room. Whether you use yours as a magazine rack, blanket holder, or letter container, the quirkier the better.
Keep your eyes peeled when it comes to buying items like this – charity shops can be a great place to source inexpensive options that may only need a little bit of tender love and care (some sanding and a lick of paint). On the other hand, eBay, Gumtree, and salvage fairs can provide you with ample opportunities to buy second hand. High street choices are of course always available, but this could leave you more out of pocket, and your purchase may not hold the same amount of charm that a pre-loved piece of furniture does.
Both of the pieces below were picked up at a home restoration and salvage fair in Cheshire. Check out the Arthur Swallow website for more information on salvage shows.
Rugs, blankets, and cushions
It may sound obvious, but so many of us forget that a beautiful rug can soften a room, while adding colour and style at the same time. Likewise, blankets, even if folded up and left over the arm of a chair for half the year, can bring a sense of countryside cosiness to any home.
Not on the High Street has a great range of soft furnishings. I love their Striped Jute Rug (pictured below) available for £59.99.
Don’t forget, soft furnishings can be anything from rugs and blankets, to cushions, bedding, curtains and towels – think before you buy and experiment with pattern and colour to bring more style into your home. Image: Notonthehighstreet
Add some artwork
The best way to let your personality shine through is by displaying artwork around your home. However, for most of us, the process of buying original artwork fills us with stress and anxiety. Questions such as: ‘will I like it in a week’s time?’ and ‘can I really justify spending £300 on a painting?’ inevitably prevent us from splashing out on artistic pieces.
But that’s OK; if you spend less on artwork for your walls you’ll a) feel less guilty about the cost, b) be able to buy more, and c) be in a position to change pieces once you tire of them. The best way to do this can be through purchasing quirky, unusual or interesting posters online, then framing them. Any image is instantly given prestige once placed in a frame – so don’t worry about making your walls look like a university bedroom covered in posters of bands and film stars.
Zazzle has a great selection of posters, prints, and photography at reasonable prices.