Design: It's all in the details

view gallery VIEW GALLERY

Kate Watson-Smyth reveals a range of quick and easy ways to update your interiors without breaking the bank

Whether or not there's a recession lurking around the corner, there's no doubt that we've got less money in our pockets to spend on fripperies for the home. If you can't afford a full-blown refurb, or your kitchen is perfectly serviceable and you're just bored with it, then spend a little on accessories instead. These provide the perfect finishing touches for a home, and lots of shops have cottoned on to the high street fashion idea – we want to change small things, often, to update, refresh and modernise. There's nothing wrong with spending a lot of money on a new sofa but why not keep the one you've got and spend 10 per cent of the price of a new one on cushions instead? The new collections will hit the shops any day now, so there's a lot to inspire out there, and you can feel good about having a new-look home for a fraction of the price.

Bedroom

You can apply many of the downstairs reception room tactics to the bedroom. New rugs, wallpaper and cupboard handles will all give the impression of a newly decorated room without actually having to spend money on the big stuff, such as beds and wardrobes.

Hang a new mirror and choose fabulous textures for bedspreads and rugs, which will add to the idea of hotel luxury. And, if the walls do need doing or the bed's a bit ropy, you can call the combination "shabby chic" and pretend it's like that on purpose...

Sitting room

There's nothing like a throw or a few new cushions to revive a sofa. This peony cushion (right), which has a matching throw, is made in Scotland from wool felt. The butterfly throw continues the theme in a charcoal colour (020-8835 0101, www.oneecohome.co.uk).

If you can't face hanging wallpaper or paying someone else to, then the latest trend is wall stickers. Rockett St George (www.rockettstgeorge.co.uk; 020-8350 5450) has some rather elegant hydrangeas (£40), or for a sense of fun, lovebirds (£49). They also have a large floor sticker that could take the place of a rug. If you've always secretly hankered after a Damien Hirst spot painting, then some spot stickers from Urchin (www.urchin.co.uk; £29.99) might do the trick.

Few among us haven't collected a series of objects but feel that displaying them in a glass cabinet or on shelves is a bit naff. Stylish Stuff (www.stylishstuff.com; 0870 850 7547) has these frameboxes (above right), a sort of carved picture frame round a small cupboard (£35). Hang them in a cluster on the wall to create a different kind of display case. Check out the company's Marrakech stools (left), £275 – the set of three stack inside one another, so you needn't use precious floor space unless you have company.

A new rug will work wonders to jazz up a room. Celia Birtwell has created a fantastic monochrome rug for Habitat (see Bedroom section, left), £399, (0844 499 1111; www.habitat.net).

For table lamps, The White Company (0845 678 8150, www.thewhitecompany.com) produces simple good designs in neutral colours that allow you to be a bit more daring elsewhere. The glass lamps impart an understated glamour (prices start at £75).

Kitchen

If your kitchen doesn't have windowsills or you want to liven it up, use a hanging planters, £9.99 – there is also a wall version – for herbs (01269 822 288, www.stylishlife.co.uk). Made from white porcelain, it should fit in easily with all colour schemes.

To update a dining room or kitchen, mix up the chairs, rather than having a matching set. Habitat's Zach chairs, £199, come in black and white and create a lacy effect which would work equally well with antique and modern tables (0844 499 1111; www.habitat.net).

One of the easiest ways to give your kitchen a low-cost makeover is to change the handles on the doors of drawers and cupboards. Graham and Green (0845 130 6622, www.grahamand green.co.uk) has a good selection from only £3.95 – although this cost will mount up as you've probably got lots more handles than you first thought. If you feel strong enough, paint the cupboards and bingo, it will all look as good as new.

Bathroom

Winner of the 2007 Elle Decoration British Design Awards for Best in Bathrooms, the Inside Out cupboard, £230, made from aluminium composite, comes from a Welsh company, FreshWest (0845 120 4649, www.wheredidyoubuythat.com). It's 70cm high, which should be big enough for most of your lotions and potions and will add a witty touch to your ablutions. Comes in black, white or yellow.

Every bathroom needs a mirror but instead of a boring frameless one, why not go for something that makes a bigger statement. These Arch mirrors, from £80, Graham and Green (0845 130 6622, www.grahamandgreen.co.uk) have a bone inlaid floral design, which should add a touch of luxury to the practicality of the room.

These days you don't have to worry about wallpaper sliding off the wall of a steamy bathroom – as long as you've stuck it down properly. Having just one feature wall can completely transform your bathroom. See www.grahamandbrown.com (0800 328 8452) for a selection of graphic black-and-white designs, from £20 a roll.

Discover more property articles at Homes and Property
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
A bit rich: Maggie Smith in Downton Abbey
tvDownton Abbey review: It's six months since we last caught up with the Crawley clan
Sport
Frank Lampard and his non-celebration
premier leagueManchester City vs Chelsea match report from the Etihad Stadium
Arts and Entertainment
Jake Quickenden sings his heart out in his second audition
tvX Factor: How did the Jakes - and Charlie Martinez - fare?
PROMOTED VIDEO
Sport
premier league
Arts and Entertainment
'New Tricks' star Dennis Waterman is departing from the show after he completes filming on two more episodes
tvOnly remaining original cast-member to leave crime series
Sport
Mario Balotelli celebrates his first Liverpool goal
premier leagueLiverpool striker expressed his opinion about the 5-3 thriller with Leicester - then this happened
News
people'I hated him during those times'
News
Britain's shadow chancellor Ed Balls (L) challenges reporter Rob Merrick for the ball during the Labour Party versus the media soccer match,
peopleReporter left bleeding after tackle from shadow Chancellor in annual political football match
Arts and Entertainment
Female fans want more explicit male sex in Game of Thrones, George R R Martin says
tvSpoiler warning: Star of George RR Martin's hit series says viewers have 'not seen the last' of him/her
News
i100
News
Dame Vivienne Westwood has been raging pretty much all of her life
peopleMemoir extracts show iconic designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Life and Style
fashionAlexander Fury's Spring/Summer 2015 London Fashion Week roundup
Arts and Entertainment
Lauryn Hill performing at the O2 Brixton Academy last night
musicSinger was more than 90 minutes late on stage in Brixton show
News
i100
News
Rumer was diagnosed with bipolarity, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder: 'I was convinced it was a misdiagnosis'
peopleHer debut album caused her post-traumatic stress - how will she cope as she releases her third record?
News
people''Women's rights is too often synonymous with man-hating'
Property search
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Head of Marketing and Communications - London - up to £80,000

£70000 - £80000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Group Head of Marketing and Communic...

Nursery Nurse

Negotiable: Randstad Education Manchester: Level 3 Nursery Nurse required for ...

Nursery Nurse

Negotiable: Randstad Education Manchester: L3 Nursery Nurses urgently required...

SEN Teaching Assistant

Negotiable: Randstad Education Manchester: We have a number of schools based S...

Day In a Page

Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam