Homespun wisdom: How to redo every room in the house without breaking the bank

view gallery VIEW GALLERY

Think you can't afford to give your home the update it needs? Think again, says Selina Lake.

Affordable, cheerful, comfortable and eminently achievable, "Homespun Style" is also a colourful, artfully wonky DIY look that taps into the current national mood. Representing a backlash against the frenzied consumerism that bridged the end of the 20th and the beginning of the 21st century, it is an aesthetic that sticks two fingers up at any straggling, expensively designed vestiges of sleek, white Noughties minimalism, and the idea that one ought to keep up with the neighbours.

It is also the title of a new book by the stylist Selina Lake, and her aesthetic provides excellent inspiration for anyone who can't afford to buy, move or redecorate and, thanks to pay freezes kand giant utility bills, are spending more and more budget nights at home, unable to switch off from noticing décor that's ripe for a refresh.

Building on a booming trend for upcycling and eclecticism in interiors, Lake's look clashes vintage textiles and patterns – on anything from hand-made cushion covers to a patchwork of wallpaper scraps; it uses garlands of colourful paper cupcake cases to brighten bare walls, or pages cut from illustrated books, unframed and stuck on the wall with decorative tape; furniture in need of re-upholstering, or just a change, is simply draped with a bright crocheted blanket. While much of it is in-your-face feminine, the book also features clean rooms with tongue-and-grooved white walls and more restrained splashes of colour and a utilitarian take on the hand-made look. Either way, the effect is joyfully imperfect – and liberating.

"With the economy as it is, the 'make do and mend' thing has really taken off," says Lake. "People are trying to save by turning back to yesteryear and revamping their homes by upcycling, recycling and adapting stuff they have."

The low cost is one attraction – but the look also champions individuality, rather than the high street. "It's about creating your own personal space and reflecting your personality," says Lake. "There's lots of mismatching and there aren't really any rules. Use what you already have and see what you can do with it."

If it all sounds intimidatingly craft-y, take heart in the fact that Lake herself only got a sewing machine last year and is still relearning skills she hadn't practised since school. Besides, you don't even need to sew your own cushion covers or bedspreads if that's not your thing.

For example, in her own home, Lake has turned scraps of fabric into décor and made bunting by knotting colourful old hankies together. The Victorian kitchen table on the cover of her book is another example of how simply the idea can be put into practice: the peeling tabletop has been updated with a flowery oilcloth staple-gunned on to it (try or tablecloths). There's also a beautiful patterned lampshade made out of papier-mâché.

If even this sort of DIY-lite sounds like too much hard work, "It doesn't matter," says Lake. "There are so many people hand-making things and so many places to buy the stuff they're making these days." Her favourite destinations are online and include, a global marketplace for hand-made everything, (a German site that promotes new design talent at affordable prices) and, which specialises in modern British craft.

"There are also – if you want to gain a new skill – so many craft classes," she adds. "And sewing cafés are great if you just want to drop in for an afternoon and learn how to make something simple using their machines."

Being a flea-market fanatic helps, too. And interesting fabrics can be found in the bedding sections of charity shops ("I've used loads of vintage pillowcases," she says). And is "brilliant for really interesting new but vintage style designs – and you can also get longer lengths if you want to make curtains or something bigger".

But even if you don't have the patience or time for such excursions, high-street buys can be transformed to create a homespun effect. The haberdashery departments are helpful – Lake recommends the one in Liberty if you are near London – and multicoloured pompoms crop up throughout the book, tacked around the edges of cushions, to the bottoms of curtains or glued with fabric glue as fringing on lampshades.

Display is another key element. When choosing cupboards (preferably pre-loved), go for glass-fronted. Or simply remove the doors from the ones you have and paint the inside a strong colour if it is wooden. Open shelves, too, can become decorative features, piled with colourful collections, rather than tidying everything out of sight.

Flexibility – as in seeing lots of things in your home as moveable or transferable – is another element. That might be turning those kitchen cupboards you've grown out of into a sitting-room display cabinet. More basically, it could be that you prop framed pictures against walls so they can be shifted about easily to refresh a space, or create an ever-evolving "moodboard". The beauty of "homespun" is that it's stuff you can just decide to add to your interior with minimal effort, and without going spending lots of cash (if any at all). And the Joneses next door definitely won't have anything like it.

'Homespun Style' by Selina Lake is published on 8 March at £19.99

Discover more property articles at Homes and Property
Arts and Entertainment
Lou Reed distorted the truth about his upbringing, and since his death in 2013, biographers and memoirists have added to the myths
musicThe truth about Lou Reed's upbringing beyond the biographers' and memoirists' myths
Ed Miliband received a warm welcome in Chester
election 2015
Life and Style
Apple CEO Tim Cook announces the Apple Watch during an Apple special even
fashionIs the Apple Watch for you? Well, it depends if you want it for the fitness tech, or for the style
Property search
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Project Implementation Executive

£18000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They work with major vehicle ma...

Recruitment Genius: Chiropractic Assistant

£16500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Chiropractic Assistant is needed in a ...

Recruitment Genius: Digital Account Executive - Midlands

£18000 - £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They work with major vehicle ma...

Recruitment Genius: Web Developer

£28000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company provides coaching ...

Day In a Page

Armenian genocide: To continue to deny the truth of this mass human cruelty is close to a criminal lie

Armenian genocide and the 'good Turks'

To continue to deny the truth of this mass human cruelty is close to a criminal lie
Lou Reed: The truth about the singer's upbringing beyond the biographers' and memoirists' myths

'Lou needed care, but what he got was ECT'

The truth about the singer's upbringing beyond
Migrant boat disaster: This human tragedy has been brewing for four years and EU states can't say they were not warned

This human tragedy has been brewing for years

EU states can't say they were not warned
Women's sportswear: From tackling a marathon to a jog in the park, the right kit can help

Women's sportswear

From tackling a marathon to a jog in the park, the right kit can help
Hillary Clinton's outfits will be as important as her policies in her presidential bid

Clinton's clothes

Like it or not, her outfits will be as important as her policies
NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

The wars that come back to haunt us

David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders
Heston Blumenthal to cook up a spice odyssey for British astronaut manning the International Space Station

UK's Major Tum to blast off on a spice odyssey

Nothing but the best for British astronaut as chef Heston Blumenthal cooks up his rations
John Harrison's 'longitude' clock sets new record - 300 years on

‘Longitude’ clock sets new record - 300 years on

Greenwich horologists celebrate as it keeps to within a second of real time over a 100-day test
Fears in the US of being outgunned in the vital propaganda wars by Russia, China - and even Isis - have prompted a rethink on overseas broadcasters

Let the propaganda wars begin - again

'Accurate, objective, comprehensive': that was Voice of America's creed, but now its masters want it to promote US policy, reports Rupert Cornwell
Why Japan's incredible long-distance runners will never win the London Marathon

Japan's incredible long-distance runners

Every year, Japanese long-distance runners post some of the world's fastest times – yet, come next weekend, not a single elite competitor from the country will be at the London Marathon
Why does Tom Drury remain the greatest writer you've never heard of?

Tom Drury: The quiet American

His debut was considered one of the finest novels of the past 50 years, and he is every bit the equal of his contemporaries, Jonathan Franzen, Dave Eggers and David Foster Wallace