With the holidays here, one of our favourite times has arrived with lazy afternoons spent surfing the internet on your phone for inspiration. Here are some ideas for your searches, from quick fixes to common problems, furniture hacks and more. So if you have an old sofa you can’t afford to reupholster, hate your kitchen cabinets, have a funky floorplan, and are looking for great easy updates that will make a big difference, peruse our list – we have you covered!
1: Hate your kitchen cabinets? Paint over them.
2: Add a dimmer switch to make bad overhead lighting warm and cosy.
3: If you don’t have room for a side table and lamp, get a floor lamp.
4: Dislike your kitchen floor? Try the new-generation vinyl that simulates concrete, timber, or stone.
5: Don’t rush a decorating project. It takes time.
6: Art hanging rules are made to be broken. Yes, paintings look great at eye level, 150cm above ground, but try them above doorways too.
7: If you need a sofa, but can’t spend more than $500, raid auction houses for great designs.
8: Hate all the shower curtains out there. Make one out of a big square of fabric with a row of holes in it. Or, just ditch it entirely.
9: Chuck a hand-blocked tablecloth over your sofa to give it totally new look. A posh person’s fave quick fix.
10: Get a new doormat. Big doormats only; not small.
11: That bitsy coat cupboard you don’t know what to do with? Make it into a home office with a built in shelf-cum-desk.
12: More plants are always a good idea.
13: Empty wall fix? Mount black and white prints for instant edge.
14: To open up a cramped room, wallpaper the ceiling. Magic.
15: Rip off every ugly doorknob in the house from kitchen and bathroom cabinets to the front door, and install new weighty modern designs that never go out of style.
16: The best way to hide the TV? Buy a TV that looks good.
17: Don’t underestimate the power of faux wallpaper that resembles timber, concrete, marble, even timber. Or plaster walls. They add instant texture.
18: Always, always layer your lights.
19: An alcove that’s difficult to reach doesn’t have to stand empty. Call in a joiner to create shelving for your hat collection.
20: Toss every item in the bathroom you haven’t used; it’s the secret to a calm space.
21: Yes, you can mount stuff on tile, brick and glass surfaces without drilling a hole.
22: If your ceilings are low, hang art high.
23: If you’re short on storage, get cookware that doubles as serving ware.
24: Matchstick blinds and timber Venetians are the best window treatments if you’ve only got $80 to spend.
25: The best fix for a bad floorplan might be lurking inside a pot of paint.
26: Making a moodboard is really easy – and the best way to plot your interior scheme.
27: Put picture lights over the top of bookshelves to add gravitas.
28: If two bookshelves bookend a sofa, fit swing-arm lights to their sides.
29: If you don’t have room for a bedside table, combine a floating shelf with a pendant bulb, (it requires zero wall space).
30: Replace white plastic light switches with brushed steel replacements. Your light switches are as prominent as your paintings, and you should never scrimp on things you touch every day.
31: Slide slip covers in linen, cotton or canvas over your existing chairs and sofas – they will dramatically alter a room and bring harmony to discordant pieces of furniture, for a fraction of the cost of reupholstering them completely.
32: If you can’t afford an extension, mirror a wall. It’s the quickest way to enlarge a space.
33: Take down heavy curtains and hang sheers for an instant freshen up.
34: Pack away objects that have been gathering dust, and use your shelves to display something light or light-hearted – shelves of all white china always look great.
35: New tapware is a very quick way to add very affordable style to an old bathroom.
36: Train a fast-growing vine up a bare garden wall. In twelve month’s time you will have a beautifully ornamented space.
37: Hate your hallway floor? Peel-and-stick vinyl chequerboard perennial tiles are a great budget look
38: If you don’t have bookshelves, hack them. Add moulding to a simple Ikea Billy bookshelf with a decorative skirting and architrave that suits the room for instant confidence, and elegance.
40: To solve the vexed problem of displaying child art, put up a metal noticeboard and some stylish magnets and put the little genius’s works on swift rotation.
41: Toy storage and display should be one and the same.
42: Outdoor furniture can look great indoors.
43: Bare boards are great, but they lack the soft touch we crave. Cosy things up with rugs in sisal or jute that hold furniture really well.
44. With chainstores like Ikea, HM Home, Zara Home and Kmart doing such accessible, amazing design, you can stock your house for much less.
45: Use every opportunity that presents itself to create walk-in storage.
46: A rug will give a bland space individuality and a focal point.
47: Flowers are great, but tall and dramatic foliage and branches arranged in a huge vase will make a much bigger style-statement.
48: Try a pair of bespoke cushions in a luxe velvet or embossed silk for big impact in a room.
49: One of the best places to source dead plain, quality dinnerware is at chainstores like Ikea and Freedom.
50: Don’t overlook open shelves, they are cheaper than built-ins and sometimes preferable because they don’t shrink a room.
51: Never push all your furniture out to the walls – your space will seem larger if you have at least 8cm of space between your chairs and the walls.
52: Raid auctions for great sofas, dining chairs, and antiques from great houses at surprisingly low prices.
53: If you don’t have room for a bedside table, combine a floating shelf with a pendant bulb (it requires zero wall space).
54: Use uplighters to help direct the gaze upwards toward the ceiling and accent a room’s architraves and mouldings, or a favourite piece of artwork or furniture.
55: Don’t overlook open shelves, they are cheaper than built-ins and sometimes preferable because they don’t shrink a room.