You don’t have to be an interior designer to transform your house into a home with character. The place you live should be an expression of yourself and your loved ones, mirroring that collective personality – whether it be tranquil, exuberant, refined, or all of the above. With some creative thinking and a little DIY, you can put your own twist on things, without breaking the bank.
Step 1: Declutter
Being surrounded by clutter can make it difficult to relax – it disrupts the harmony of the home. It’s therefore important to make the most of the space you have by addressing the clutter:
- Wardrobe/closet clean out. Sort your clothes into three piles: definitely keep, maybe keep, and discard. Once you’re done, go back through the ‘maybe’s and then take all of the unwanted items to a charity shop, liberating your drawers and wardrobes.
- Move things off the floor into a shoe rack near the front door. As well as holding shoes, they make a great general purpose tidy zone for umbrellas, magazines and other miscellany.
- Make as much use of your loft as possible! If you don’t use an item regularly, it’s just needlessly hogging space. If you have a loft, fill it – and the same goes for cupboards, basements, and closets.
- Put up shelves in the kitchen to hold regularly used spices and condiments. This will free up the sideboard, making it even easier to prepare a meal in celebration of your newly uncluttered home!
Top tip: If you’re not sure exactly where to start your decluttering, why not print off a checklist from one of the many cleaning sites online, or download an app? For example, Cleanipedia offers a number of articles with decluttering checklists and cleaning tips, while the UFYH app is a great help if you struggle with motivation (and don’t mind a little profanity).
Step 2: Lighting
Good lighting can really open up a room, transforming dark corners into cosy, calming spaces and enhancing your mood. Give these simple tips a try:
- Uplifters look great in hallways and porches as they throw light across the ceiling and the surrounding wall for an elegant effect.
- Corner lamps are a softer alternative to a glaring pendant light in the centre of the room. Classic fabric lampshades create that homely, retro feel, while steel angled lamps meld perfectly with minimalist furnishing.
- A remote-controlled LED lamp is the ideal choice for bedrooms. The Philips LivingColours range lets you choose from up to 16 million colours to suit every mood.
Top tip: Energy efficient light bulbs are an effective way of brightening up a room. Although they cost a little more than regular bulbs, the lower power consumption soon translates into savings.
Step 3: Decorative Touches
Often it’s the little things that make the difference. This is especially true when it comes to making your house a home:
- Personalize living areas with decorative ornaments. Flea markets are a great place to find unusual bits and bobs that reflect your personal taste, often at a more-than-reasonable price.
- Potted plants and flowers – as well as imparting a softening effect to your home, a fresh, floral scent can really lift your mood, especially during the winter months.
- A welcome mat at the door is a crafty finishing touch. As well as welcoming guests, it also encourages them to wipe their feet, making it one of our top quick-fix cleaning tips.
Top tip: Pinterest and Etsy are great places to get inspiration for decorations, particularly if you’re interested in upcycling or recycling some of the things you have in the home already.
Step 4: A Good Clean
While you’re moving furniture, sorting out your clutter and deciding where to put your new vase, it makes sense to give the house a quick sprucing up. Before you get started, remember the following:
- Frequent routine cleans are the way to go. Draw up a weekly housekeeping checklist and pin it on the fridge; that way the dirt won’t have time to accumulate.
- Professional cleaning products should be your first choices for most jobs, particularly when cleaning metals and bathroom fittings (always check manufacturer’s instructions).
- That said, white distilled vinegar, baking soda, and vinegar feature in many homespun cleaning tips. Just test these options on a small area of the surface you want to clean first, to make sure they’re safe to use.