With many of us spending more time at home due to the need for social distancing, you may be wondering how to make your flat more aesthetically pleasing and more comfortable. If you are currently on furlough or have recently been made redundant then you will really need to keep decorating costs down. With this in mind, below are some inexpensive ways to brighten up your flat.
Paint your walls
What colour are your walls? If you live in a flat with limited space and light, you probably want to keep your walls a neutral, light colour, with white being the obvious choice. Furthermore, if your walls are already white but maybe looking tired due to scuffs and marks then they may benefit from a fresh coat of paint. A 10L tub of Dulux matt emulsion costs only £20.
Change your curtains
Curtains are very important. They frame your windows and can add colour and texture to a room. If your existing curtains look cheap, or old, or perhaps don’t match your current colour scheme, then you should look to replace them. Likewise, if you currently have blinds up then you may be preventing lights from entering the flat. You do not need to pay a tradesman to put up new curtains for you. Here I have a guide for how to put up something heavy like a curtain pole. I would recommend purchasing a curtain pole and curtains from IKEA in total this could cost you less than £40. Don’t forget to iron your curtains before hanging them, they will look much nicer that way.
Hang some art
If your walls are looking bare and your rooms are lacking colour then hanging some artwork can be a great solution. I like simple pieces that do not distract the eye and simply blend into the background, adding to the ambience. Think about the size of the wall you will be hanging the art on, and whether you will need a large or small print. I find a 30×45 cm print to be a good size for most rooms. You can buy a framed print of this size from Juniqe for £38.
Up-cycle your existing furniture
We purchased a simple dining table in pine from IKEA 2-years ago. It is still a sturdy table that would have been a shame to throw away. However, we were considering replacing it because it was starting to look tired. We never treated it and, as a result, the tabletop was quite stained from curries, spilt drinks, etc. So we decided to paint just the top, a deep green (to match our sofa). It has really brought the table back to life and looks a lot more presentable when having people over for dinner. The wood paint cost just £15.
Declutter and organise your belongings
When we moved flat a couple of months back, we got rid of a lot of stuff. Somehow, however, when we moved into our new place we still lacked storage space. We purchased a large sideboard for our open plan living room / kitchen/ dining room and it has proved to be a great solution for all of the miscellaneous items like paperwork, tools, phone chargers, etc. We spent a few hundred pounds on our sideboard but we probably could have found one a lot cheaper on eBay or Gumtree.
If you are lacking floor space (a common issue in flats), then consider making the most of your walls. Put up some attractive shelves and showcase some of your books or nicest crockery. It’s great when storage can double up as decoration. An inexpensive example of this is this Ikea shelf for just £20.
Cover up stains
Replacing your carpet or sofa will be expensive- there’s no doubt about it. However, if either is stained from spilt drinks or (in our case) countless puppy accidents, then you will want to cover these up. For stains on the carpet, a stylish rug can be bought for as little as £17. What’s more, a rug can be a great way to define sections of an open plan space e.g. a reading corner or lounging space. For marks and stains on the sofa, a nice throw shouldn’t set you back more than £20 to £30. This will also make your sofa more comfortable. If your sofa is just plain ugly then I would recommend a couple of throws. You could tuck the throw covering the seat part into the corners tightly or even stable the throw into the frame.
Add some plants
Plants have really come back into fashion and can really transform interiors. Not only will they improve the aesthetic of your home, but they will also improve the air quality and perhaps decrease your stress levels. To keep things interesting, I would recommend getting lots of different types, and at least one large plant such as a Kentia Palm. My tip is to purchase them when they are younger / smaller as they will be cheaper and most grow pretty fast. Two or Three house plants shouldn’t cost you more than £30.
You do not need to spend hundreds of pounds making your flat look nice. Above is a list of seven ideas anyone can implement but get creative and see what else you can come up with. Shop around on sites like eBay to see if you can grab a bargain. As usual with decorating on a budget, Ikea is your friend when it comes to cheap, well-made furniture.