The Insider: How to revamp without redecorating


Last Christmas, instead of slouching in front of the TV, I spent eight days redecorating. Excellent results, but exhausting for body, mind and bank balance. So I asked the experts for some alternatives...

Changing rooms

"For a cheap change," says stylist Jasmine Orchard (, "shuffle stuff between rooms. Gather things from different rooms to bring collections together; sometimes it means buying one or two new items – such as bedding, lighting or cushions – to pull a look together, but it's the easiest revamp."

Lightbulb moment

"Changing lighting really affects the mood of a room," adds Orchard, "creating accents for different areas or highlighting artwork." It can be as simple as swapping lampshades, adding a dimmer switch or buying second-hand Anglepoises – I just spruced a dingy corner with a jar filled with fairy lights. Peasy.

Paper houses

For an effort-lite feature wall, House Doctor's Lucy Inskip ( recommends mounting free wallpaper samples in a trio of cheap, Ikea frames.

Cheat sheet

"Drape white fabric – whatever you find, even sheets – over a pole in front of a window," adds Inskip. "It should be to the floor: think loft apartment or Parisian atelier. Fold the top end over and sew – or staple – it in place."

Feel the funk

For bold nightclub glamour, or temporary party décor, follow the lead of Inskip's colleague, who attached pound-shop gold-foil party plates to a wall in a grid pattern.

Glass act

"Revamp tired furniture by changing handles or buying cut-to-size glass tops and placing wallpaper or fabric underneath," says Inskip. Who needs a paintbrush?

Find Kate's blog on affordable interiors at