Nicky Haslam, interiors designer to the stars, brings you a luxury makeover without breaking the bank.
1. Take it higher
Consider giving the sitting room ceiling a slosh of semi-gloss mid-blue paint. Strangely this creates an impression of added height, as well as space in the pools of reflected lamplight.
2. Viva vivid
An 18th-century maxim in decoration was une touche de rose – a touch of dark pink. It was said to make all the other colours sing, but these days one can just as easily use red. Pillar-box red, not dreary claret. Try a crimson cushion or a lacquer tray. You’ll practically hear all the other colours singing.
3. Fake flowers? Fine!
I have to admit to a LOVE of well-made fake flowers. Big-leaved indoor trees such as Ficus lyrata look great under an uplighter lamp.
4. Pile on the style
I firmly believe that a white shaggy rug – a flokati, maybe, from rughouse.co.uk, and the bigger the better – adds a sense of glamour and luxury to any room.
5. Don’t be afraid to upscale
Large objects, rather than ditsy little pieces, make even the smallest space seem bigger and more interesting. Books, as we are told, do furnish a room, but not just in bookcases; several lying casually around on any flat surface give animation to the mind as well as the eye.
6. Hello, happy hour!
In my youth, most homes had a grog tray of welcoming bottles of booze in an obvious place. Some glasses, an ice bucket and a lemon or two hint at G&Ts in the offing.
7. The bigger picture
If you haven’t already taken up painting yourself, why not splash out on somebody else’s creation? I say splash, but there are myriad young artists these days who work in every style, and often they’re surprisingly cheap. Try art fairs for a vast selection.
8. Add a touch of luxe
Almost any bit of dull wooden furniture looks better painted blanc cassé, a fancy name for ‘broken’ white… a good acrylic white emulsion with a tiny bit of black and dark brown stain stirred into it.
9. Wake up your walls
For the walls, try rehanging anything on them: pictures, posters, photographs, whatever, in massed groups (with the larger ones above the small) in the best vantage spot. It will make the room seem bigger.
10. A shift in focus
Turn on all the lights and, from a good vantage point, look carefully at the room through half-closed eyes. It will reveal any areas that require attention; too much stuff in one place, or where colour or pattern is needed.
Shop the look
Add a touch of class by channelling Nicky’s high-end polish.