The best interior design hacks for big and small budgets!

We've all been hard at work the last few months fixing up our places and getting around to all the jobs in our homes that we never seemed to be able to get around to. And our homes look fab, now that the gutters are cleaned, that carpet has been switched out and the paint jobs have been topped up. 

But what about those little touches that just really finish off a place? The elements that really add flair and your stamp on the place?

It's been impossible to get those little details that finish off a room with all retail closed the last few months, But with the country reopening and our favourite home decor stores opening along with them, we finally have the opportunity to add the final touches to our interiors so they're ready to host people again in the coming months! Check out some of the top interior tips and tricks we learned to make the most of our indoor spaces, from opening up a small space to the colours to really make your home pop!

Daring colours

Amasouk, who sells artisan Moroccan goods, knows a thing or two about sprucing up a space with bright, imaginative décor! They’re always posting about how the minimalistic trends of natural and neutral palettes in the home are beautiful, but how they also lack the vibrancy that our minds and bodies need from our surroundings.

‘Colours are not only on paint, it means also on fabrics and materials, on furniture and lighting, on accessories, etc…Daring colours doesn’t mean each piece should be a different colour if that’s not your cup of tea. It could be only a sofa, a rug or a piece of decor!’

The room they have styled above is the perfect example, creating a warm and inviting space by using bright and unexpected colours that not only draw the eye but pull the whole space together. Their colour palette is clever, with contrasting colours like the teal and mustard/orange brought together by the variety of shades of pink that work well with both of them. The neutral background colour functions to highlight these pops.

Artwork hacks

Opulent décor is small blog run by professional staging designer Kay. She is big into her artwork and it features majorly in her designs, sometimes even dictating the entire colour scheme of a room around a piece she wants to use! But her hack for having a piece of artwork that you love but is too small for your space is absolutely lifesaving:

‘The art I chose wasn’t long enough to display with enough impact for me. So a tip I’d give is to buy the same piece of art and flip it. I am in love!’

Genius! Why didn’t we think of it before?

Beautiful storage solutions

Storage can be decorative as well as functional – it’s best when it’s a combo of the two. Sophie, who specialises in modern country decor gives us a masterclass in incorporating storage into our design, rather than making it an afterthought.

‘Who knew that organisation could look so good…you can create practical storage whilst still having that typical Cotswold country feel. And don’t even get me started on this colour palette, unbelievingly dreamy.’

Subtle, but functional, using pieces like the textured container below the accent table and the ‘barely-there’ shelf built into the wall, Sophie pulls all these different storage elements together by combining it with a decorative table and accents that make it blend into the overall feel of the home rather than having them stick out as purely functional spaces.

Making a room look bigger

Philly Lifestyle Real Estate is all about making the most of your space, They’ve seen every kind of home you can imagine and have styled them all! They know their way around home staging and interior design so when they listed their best tips for making a small space the best it can be, we knew to take notes!

‘Creating the illusion of space is much easier than you think! Check out our favourite tips for making a smaller room appear bigger!

1. Add mirrors across from windows⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀

2. Opt for floor to ceiling curtains⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀

3. Paint your walls a light colour⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀

4. Choose multi-functional furniture ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀

5. Avoid clutter⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀

6. Add lighting to brighten up the room ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀

7. Use furniture with exposed legs⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀

8. Opt for a monochromatic colour scheme

From simple measures to slightly more work, you can pick and choose which methods suit you and your space – and your budget!

Decorate in threes

Accessories are key, but how you use them are also an important part of the process. A space can look sparse or cluttered depending on how you use them and striking the perfect balance involves a few different elements that Natalie, the interior designer behind @creativelinesdesign lays out in her handy tutorial.

‘Decorate in 3’s! It’s very easy to make an accent table feel overwhelming or underwhelming. To help you find the perfect in between I suggest pairing in 3’s. By grouping odd numbers of items it forces the eye to move around the display. When picking out decor you should mix and match shapes, colours, sizes and heights to create interest.’

Different heights, shapes and textures all draw the eye and balance out the look, creating an eye catching and interesting point of design in the home.

Plants

As if we needed more of an excuse to be plant moms, a review of plant and mental health studies has found that there are literally tons of reasons why being around nature and having it in our homes and workspaces is important. Hall and Knuth’s paper found that reduced anxiety and stress, brought greater happiness and life satisfaction, increased creativity, enhanced productivity and attention spans! Jessica K of J. Design Studios tells us why bringing greenery and life into our space creates an inviting and comfortable home.

‘With so many hard objects in our homes, plants help to soften and balance.⁠⁠ I have clients tell me all the time, "but I have a black thumb ..." and I'm here to tell you (based on my experience) practice makes perfect! Start with one of these easy growers in the room you spend the most time in and build on it from there:⁠⁠

Snake plant: Will grow in indirect light and even shade. Neglect it and water only 1x a month. ⁠⁠

Orchids! People are so scared of orchids but your basic phalaenopsis is actually really easy. Indirect light. Water 1x a week 1/4 cup of room temp water and fertilize every two weeks. If it dies ... oh well. Spend $12 and get another one. ⁠⁠

Pothos: Bright light, shade, water logged or dry ... I find it's almost impossible to kill. Plus, it trails and you can cut it to make new plant babies.⁠⁠

 Faux is better than nothing but don't cheap out ... cheap fake plants look cheap! Invest in good, quality silk plants.⁠⁠’

They liven up a dull space and create a calming effect in any room, so what’s not to love?

Negative space

Not everywhere in your house needs a statement piece. Some rooms function well on their own as calm spaces that don’t need over-designing or clutter to make it work – it’s just a soothing space to relax in. Family rooms, bedrooms, offices – these are places where distractions aren’t needed, just calm vibes. Real Estate agent Patricia Straus tells us when to decorate and when to just leave it be.

‘Have you ever wondered what makes a room feel calm and airy? Aside from having a good amount of natural light, there is another trick that my stagers use all the time. When looking for a sense of calm and balance in a home, it is important to access a space for its ability to have what interior designers call negative space. Negative space happens when you intentionally leave walls or surfaces blank or bare to give the room a sense of balance and allow for statement pieces to pop. For example in this photo, notice how the fireplace pops because there are no other objects on or above the mantle that could compete with it.’

It’s not an idea we’ve ever heard of before, but it’s great advice! We tend to overdecorate whereas sometime sit’s better to let the space speak for itself.

Layered textures

We are absolutely loving this space from Joy Design! Cosy, clean and inviting, it’s full of personality without being overwhelming. But with so much white, how do they create such a cosy, warm look?

‘The key is creating interest. Layering. Texturing. Coloring. There's one thing you should notice about this space that makes it really work. Notice how it feels really colorful, but also really put together and not overly busy? There's an assembled color palette here. The art, the furniture, the linens, they all work together in the palette. Also, check out all that white negative space! Give your eyes a place to rest to make the rest pop!’

Fiona Murphy is a freelance writer, specialising in book-related content, fiction and poetry. She can be found drinking tea, craving tapas or attempting to finish her never-ending-novel.

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