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Breathe new life into tired décor

Melanie Whitehouse / 13 October 2015

There are lots of quick fixes you can employ to liven up tired rooms - and none of them need cost the earth.

Stylish interior
New cushions and artwork can transform a familiar space

If your rooms are looking a little dated, a tad worn around the edges or just in need of a bit of a lift to match the season, then try these quick fixes.

Give your home a good clean

This may not be the most glamorous or interesting start to your mini-makeover but throwing out dated newspapers and magazines, running a duster over surfaces and skirtings, a Hoover over floors and cleaning windows so they sparkle will instantly refresh a space.

Find out how to make the most of your space

Change the layout

Can you move things around a bit and put furniture in a different place? It’ll give the room a new energy – and possibly create some more space. If not, shuffle your accessories, packing some away and rearranging what’s left. Pull together some interesting new collections of, say, unusual vases, decorated jugs or pretty pots. Look beyond the living room to the kitchen and the garden – you’ll be surprised what you can find.

Remember the display rules

When putting together a display, choose objects of different heights and group together in odd numbers, not evens, or it can look a symmetrical and twee. Try to use items that have a theme or something that unites them – either a colour, a pattern or a use.

Refresh cushions and throws

A new set of cushions will give armchairs and sofas a cheerful, easy facelift. Avoid being too ‘matchy’ and instead pick out one accent colour and then add in pattern that includes it: florals look great with stripes, for instance, and with checks of a contrasting size. Include soft, cuddly throws and build up layers of texture with nubbly knits, sheers, embroidered finishes and sensual fabrics like mohair, velvet and chenille.

New artworks

Art’s a pretty personal thing but don’t think it just means paintings. You can mount virtually anything and put it on a wall. Try a collection of pretty vintage plates displayed safely on plate hangers, Art Deco mirrors, framed photographs grouped together - or theme your art into collections of paintings of florals, say, or black-and-white prints.

Upcycle and revive

That old table in dark wood that does your new room no favours can be instantly updated with a coat of paint. Annie Sloan’s Chalk Paint (£18.95 per litre, is the first and still the best: it really does cover any surface and comes in a whole raft of glorious colours. If the final effect looks too light, just rub in a dark wood wax to give a used, vintage look, building up the patina gradually.


Nothing says ‘fresh’ like a vase of flowers and it’s even better if they’re scented. Flowers need not be expensive: a basic supermarket bunch of stocks or alstroemeria, for example, can be spruced up with branches of greenery from your garden. Think outside the box: add in sprigs of unripe blackberries, allium skeletons, ferns or pieces of twisted hazel. Spray pinecones and holly for Christmas decorations and in the spring bring in catkins, pussy willow and branches of apple blossom.

Find out how plants can transform your home

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The opinions expressed are those of the author and are not held by Saga unless specifically stated. The material is for general information only and does not constitute investment, tax, legal, medical or other form of advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Always obtain independent, professional advice for your own particular situation.