Bank holiday weekends in the UK have a tradition for DIY projects. The May Bank Holiday in particular is the perfect time to get the decorating kit out and get some DIY decorating done in preparation for the warmer summer months. Many of these projects are ones that DIYers of any skill level can tackle, from decorating with items you already have to reviving and refreshing areas to give you the feeling of walking into a new room. Here are some of my favourite home decorating ideas to freshen up your home that don't break the bank or take all weekend.
Painting the Front Door
Refreshing the paint of the front door of your home is an instant way to add kerb appeal and make that all important good first impression on any visitor. It's the perfect place to add a pop of colour and a fresh lick of paint instantly transforms from drab to fab. An easy project to complete in a day.
Opt for a cheery bold colour if you want to make a focal point. Opt for a classic such as Navy or Dark Green to be smart and timeless.
The colour choice of your front door can reflect your family or homes personality:
- White - clean, organised, serene
- Red - Bright is exciting and vibrant, dark reds are classic, warm and inviting
- Blue - Navy is classical, calming and grounded, mid-blues are positive and happy, powder blues are friendly and relaxed
- Black - Sophisticated and controlled
- Grey - Safe and simple
- Orange - vibrant and sassy
- Purple - unusual, spiritual and free-spirited
Get rid of any weeds or tired looking planters and refresh with a new doormat to finish the job. Add a touch of bling with new door furniture or a new knocker such as this beautiful brass bee to add character.
Tools & Materials Needed:
- Soap and water
- Dust sheet or floor protection
- Sander and sandpaper
- A screwdriver to remove hardware
- A new door mat
- New plants for any pots that need reviving
Hang at Least One Mirror in Every Room
Mirrors make any space feel brighter and lighter as they bounce the light around the room and add depth. From the bedroom to bathroom, sitting room to hall a mirror can add light inexpensively to any room. The only room I probably wouldn't is the kitchen, unless its a kitchen diner! My top tip with mirrors is to go as big as you can for the size of the wall. Mirrors are reasonably timeless and frames can be refinished, search facebook marketplace and charity shop for second hand pieces for a budget upcycle.
Mirrors work wonderfully in the garden too. Be sure to make sure it's a mirror designed to be in the garden for safety and longevity. A garden mirror can instantly double the number of blooms in your flower beds and also adds a focal point to patios and fences all year round.
Tools and materials needed:
- Paint (if you are looking to refinish frames)
- Gilding metals and size (if you're wanting a metallic finish on your upcycle)
- Wall fixings suitable for a variety of wall types
Revive Your Furniture
If a piece of furniture is looking tired then it may be time to give it a facelift with some paint and new hardware. Older furniture is often solidly built but darker in colour or a collection of pieces (such as a pair of bedside tables and chest of drawers) work functionally but not aesthetically together then paint is the answer to upgrade it, bring harmony, lightness and a modern finish.
See our other blogs on getting started in furniture painting for a step by step guide if you're a newbie.
Tools and materials needed:
- Floor covering
- Sandpaper and ideally an electric sander
- Dust mask
- Cloths and cleaner
- Frog tape (or painters masking tape)
- A screw driver to remove hardware
- Furniture Paint
- Wax or Lacquer if required
- Brasso for cleaning metal handles
Paint the Ceiling with Colour
A tin of wall paint can change a room for very little money. This is the perfect weekend project for a big impact. Your ceiling is the fifth wall in the room, the perfect blank canvas to add colour and creativity to any space. Painting a ceiling in colour will take your homes interior decor to new heights. Depending on the colour and finish you choose you can create the illusion of a bigger space, higher ceilings and wider rooms. It's a bold move but one that pays off endlessly in the style stakes.
White does not have to be your default ceiling colour. Colour drench a room with the walls, ceiling and woodwork all in the same colour or tones of the same colour for a stunning, contemporary and calming look where the contents of the room become the hero. Or go for a bolder darker colour such as Annie Sloan Cambrian Blue to make a room feel cosy and comforting.
Not ready to embrace colour on your fifth wall? A plain white ceiling can work wonders for small, dark rooms but even then I'd avoid brilliant white at all costs. A soft, matt white such as Annie Sloan Old White will give a far more calming, natural and relaxing feel.
Tools and materials needed:
- Lots of dust sheets
- Painters Tape
- Coloured wall paint (be bold!)
- A small flat brush or sash brush for cutting in
- A good quality roller
- Roller Tray
Top Trade Tip! Don't buy the plastic tray inserts for lining your paint roller trays, use aluminium kitchen foil instead. It's better for the environment and your pocket.
Create a Gallery Wall
Decorating with items you already own is super budget-friendly. Finally gather all of your artwork from the loft and get around to hanging it! If you don't have a collection to start with then frame offcuts of wallpaper or fabric. One of my favourites is a piece made with a vintage tea towel. Mix and match sizes and a variety of portrait and landscape frames. If you don't have an existing collection to rearrange then pop down to your local recycling centre or charity shop to look for vintage photograph frames and pictures. You can chalk paint the frames to co-ordinate and revive them.
We all take hundreds of photos on our phones these days but most rarely make it to print. This is an ideal opportunity to take your favourite high definition photos and make then into art. If you have photographs of people to use then a classic way of giving them a theme is to go monochromatic and get them printed in black and white. Tone, texture and light all look different in black and white photography and give a timeless, artistic appeal.
Clear the space in front of the wall and lay the pictures out in the arrangement that you want to create on the wall. Stand on a chair and photograph the whole layout so you can see it in detail before committing with the picture pins! Try a few versions then pick your favourite.
Tools and materials needed:
- Picture Pins
- A hammer
- Plaster board fixings if required
- Artwork, photographs and frames
- Spirit level or laser line
Add some Greenery
Plants and flowers bring life and texture into a room. In neutral colour schemes they add a gorgeous pop of colour. In colour centric design schemes they add a touch of calming nature. If you're not green fingered don't panic! This tip is still for you, these days there are lots of fabulous fake plants available and they look really realistic. Have a look at some of our best selling artificial flowers by Abigail Ahern or some of our ready to style potted plants.
Live plants are a brilliant way of improving air quality but they can be hard to care for if light is limited. If you're great at killing houseplants then faux plants are a perfect substitute and it's better to have a visually stunning faux plant than a dried up half dead (or over watered) wilting greenery in a pot.
Add a Sheepskin
If you don't already have a sheepskin (or faux sheepskin) rug then this is a super quick fix! Sheepskins make every room look more luxurious and cosy. Drape them across seats, the backs of sofas, place on floors. They are environmentally friendly, washable and durable as well as adding instant hygge style. Nowadays they don't just come in white, grey, taupe, champagne and black are also available.
Update Your Cushions and Throws
Can't afford a new sofa? Update your colour scheme, add texture and cosiness with new cushions and throws. With the Summer months imminent, look for stronger colours, bolder pattern and different textures to mix up the look and make it feel like a new room. If you're struggling for colour palette inspo then start with looking at the flooring and walls and then go from there. You can be cheeky with home accessories mix and match shades and choose an accent colour that makes your heart sing.
Designer Tip: It's all about texture, make sure you have a tactile mix of fabric and finishes to add a luxurious and cosy feel to your sofa. If you're using a strong and bold accent colour then look to add some other home accessories in shade of this around the room for example a coloured glass vase or faux flowers or maybe one of the pictures in the gallery wall.
Put Up a Shelf
A clutter free home is a happy home. A simple shelf can be many things, a styling statement with pictures, plants and ornaments. A storage area to declutter and free up other surfaces - this is particularly true in busy, hard working areas such as the kitchen or utility room. High shelf in a room can help to draw the eye around the room, a floating shelf on a wall above a sofa is very on trend at present and makes great use of an otherwise redundant space.
Materials and tools needed:
- Appropriate wall fixings
- Spirit level
I hope you've enjoyed my interior design budget home decorating tips, let me know in the comments if you plan to try any of this this coming weekend!
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Steph Briggs is Creative Director of the award-winning independent gifts and interior retailer La Di Da Interiors and a celebrated Interior Designer. An expert in upcycling pre-loved furniture, Steph's natural talent for combining old with fabulous and new has earned her the title of 'The Queen Of Upcycling' by her contemporaries and considerable coverage on TV radio and the national press. Steph's clients include both private and commercial, and her interior design projects range from consultancy services to major renovations. As featured in The Metro, The Daily Mirror, The Daily Express, The Daily Mail, The Lady, World Of Interiors, Your Home Style, House Beautiful, The Times and many more.