Lisa Dawson reveals how to make the most of your home

Whether it’s an original fireplace or a standout wall, any home makeover should start with its ‘beauty spots’, says interiors stylist Lisa Dawson. Here’s how she makes the most of her own space

Fill shelves with artwork or mementoes that mean something to you. Here in my dining room, every inch of space is used with floor-to-ceiling shelving. The table and benches are from Photograph: Brent Darby.

First things first. Think about how you are going to make your rooms work for you. Getting the basics right isn’t always as simple as it appears. We want our homes to tick every box – be welcoming while still our personal haven, functional yet stylish, individual but with a nod to current trends and ideas.

Mix vintage with contemporary pieces to create a natural focal point. This neon light by features lyrics from a song that was in the charts when I met my husband. The sofa is by Photograph: Brent Darby.

The surefire route to creating a home that is as beautiful as it is resourceful is to start by looking at the bones of the space. Every home, whether it be a studio flat or a seven-bedroom country pile, will have at least one lovely feature. The aim is to bring out the beauty and make the most of what you’ve already got.

You might be lucky enough to have original floorboards or mouldings that you can strip and repaint. You might have a large feature window or french doors, a wide expanse of wall perfect for curating art prints or lofty ceilings that make the room feel bigger. Maybe there’s an original fireplace hidden behind that shabby chimney breast? Start by making these bonus items the focus of the room. Make them shine – don’t hide them away. Then work your room plan around these features. What you add to this space will be the icing on the cake. There are several things to think about when you’re deciding how to furnish and decorate your room. Sourcing items for your home shouldn’t be an ‘add to cart’ process. Take the time to research and find furniture and accessories that you truly love, pieces that you’ll use time and time again. It is well worth the effort.

Accentuate original door mouldings with a fresh coat of paint. These vintage books are arranged by colour to create an instant feature that will draw the eye upwards. Photograph: Brent Darby.

The first place to look when decorating your space is, in fact, close to home – memories, family pieces, moments that can be incorporated into the décor and cherished for years. Charity shops and antique stores are also perfect places to find unique items that will add texture and character to your space. Here are a few ideas from my own home to get you started.

This wallpaper – Cranes In Flight by Harlequin ( – is a work of art in itself and is a great way to zone the space between bedroom and bathroom or dressing room. The mirror is from Photograph: Brent Darby.

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This is an edited extract from Resourceful Living: Revamp Your Home With Key Pieces, Vintage Finds and Creative Repurposing by Lisa Dawson (@_lisa_dawson_).