You don't have to splash out in order to make a splash. Clare Dwyer Hogg picks out the best cheap treats and the authors of 'Thrifty Chic' offer their top budget tips...
Top tips: Thrifty chic by Liz Bauwens and Alexandra Campbell
1. Paint a wall. Choose one that is more dominant – behind the bed, say – and paint it a contrasting colour. A cheap, quick way to modernise a room.
2. Buy second-hand curtains. Cut off the old heading and replace with ribbons or clips. (Or if the curtains are too damaged, use them to make cushion covers.)
3. Get a statement piece of furniture. Look in auctions, or antique shops for big, glass-fronted cupboards. They aren't popular so are reasonably priced – and they're perfect to paint. Go for a pretty French look.
4. Steal from nature. Feathers, shells, old bottles, stones or leaves arranged on dishes, windowsills or shelves can make stunning displays for little or no money.
5. Purchase an old sofa or chaise-longue. Choose a shape that fits your room. Don't worry if it is shabby. You can cover the seat with fabric, or even a tablecloth or blanket.
6. Paint the floor. It is the cheapest form of floor covering and many clever effects can be achieved. Try painting lines on a wooden staircase (with masking tape).
7. Buy cheap curtains – either calico or the ready-made ones from the cheaper stores – but give them a wide border around their edges using a statement fabric.
8. Wallpaper a wall. It's not as thrifty as paint, but by not doing the whole room you'll be keeping costs low. Also, small amounts of wallpaper can be found in sales.
9. Buy fresh flowers. These can be expensive, so display them carefully. Put one stem each in several bottles or vases and place them in a line. Or buy pretty junk-china cups or teapots and plant them up with bulbs.
10. Trawl eBay for bargains. Look for leftover metres of designer fabric, for example, or second-hand "name" furniture. Bidding often speeds up in the last hour.
ARCHITECTURAL TEXTILES: ARCHITECTURALTEXTILES.CO.UK, 01638 751 970 CARAVAN: CARAVANSTYLE.COM, 020-7033 3532 CONRAN SHOP: CONRANSHOP.CO.UK, 020-7589 7401 DESIGN MUSEUM: DESIGNMUSEUMSHOP.COM, 020-7940 8754 GRAHAM AND GREEN: GRAHAMANDGREEN.CO.UK, 0845 130 66 22 HABITAT: HABITAT.NET, 08444 991111 HEAL’S: HEALS.CO.UK, 020-7636 1666 IKEA: IKEA.COM LA CAFETIERE: LACAFETIERE.COM, 01352 717555 LAVENDER AND SAGE: LAVENDERANDSAGE.CO.UK, 0845 601 0522 LIBERTY: LIBERTY.CO.UK, 020-7573 9645 SHELF: HELPYOURSHELF.CO.UK, 020-7739 9444 SKANDIUM: SKANDIUM.COM, 020-7584 2066 THE SHOP FLOOR PROJECT: THESHOPFLOORPROJECT.COM, 01229 715 154 TOAST: TOAST.CO.UK, 0844 557 5200 URBAN OUTFITTERS: URBANOUTFITTERS.CO.UKReuse content