In the same way some people can make an item of clothing look special just by adding a single accessory, others can transform a room in a trice with a little re-arrangement and the addition of a few eye-catching items.
It’s an enviable skill, and that flair can make a house a home which is filled with character and personality. But even if you’re not a stylist or a decor diva, it’s perfectly possible with a bit of effort and a modest budget, to work your own magic on your rooms.
“Anyone doing up a home on a tight budget should remember one little designer secret — the power of budget basics,” says Julie Savill, author of 101 Finishing Touches (BBC Books, £4.99).
“Almost anything you can think of, from tableware to bed linen, can be found in plain and simple ranges and for a fraction of the price of their fancier, patterned counterparts.The trick to turning these brilliant basics into stylish furnishings is the little twists you add yourself, such as a braid, ribbon, buttons or fringing.”
As we all invest more in our homes, we’re paying attention to the details, and delighting in customising and demonstrating our taste in touches that might formerly have been overlooked, like door handles, cupboard knobs or curtain ties.
“Customisation is anther key to style success. It’s the ability to take a plain cushion or curtain and give it a twist that sets it firmly in the designer bracket — but without a hefty price tag attached,” says Savill. “A plain cupboard can be revamped with a coat of paint and new knobs, while a small collection of random pieces of china can be sprayed the same colour and — hey presto — they’re a focal point on a shelf.”
Some people do have the happy knack of being able to sling a few apparently unrelated things on a shelf, somehow making an eye-catching arrangement, but if — like most of us — you need a little help, follow the experts’ guide to desirable details...
Our craze for craft has brought buttons right back into fashion and they look brilliant adorning everything from cushions to bedheads. “It’s simplicity itself to add a little customisation and lift everyday shop-bought items into an altogether more stylish league,” says Savill.
“The easiest place to start is with a bag of buttons, which you can pick up for next to nothing at jumble and car boot sales. A single large button in the centre of a square cushion, or a neat line of them along the middle of a rectangular one, will give an expensive-looking hand-crafted finish.”