Instant home makeovers (with a little help from the pros)

  • Hit refresh with The White Company’s Chrissie Rucker
  • Add glamour for less with A-list designer Nicky Haslam
  • Nail crafty shortcuts with Escape to the Chateau’s Angel Strawbridge
  • Make your space sparkle with cleaning sensation Mrs Hinch

How to revive your space by Chrissie Rucker

The White Company founder shares her fail-safe updates that take minutes to do    

1 pick a peaceful palette

Bring a sense of space and spa-like calm with soft colours.

2 Switch to seasonal scents

Scented candles add an extra ‘layer’ to a room and don’t have to be costly. Choose fresh and floral fragrances for spring.

3 Experiment with lighting

Dimmer switches and the use of lamps, as well as wall lights or lanterns, create soft layers of light while adding cosiness and preventing a room from feeling too flat, bright or sterile. A variety of lighting options such as table, floor and wall lights will change the atmosphere in a room throughout the day.

Vase, £20, Faux foliage sprays, from £38 for a set of 5. For similar artwork, try Desenio.co.uk

Vase, £20, Faux foliage sprays, from £38 for a set of 5. For similar artwork, try Desenio.co.uk

4 play with displays

Use the mantelpiece as an evolving gallery wall. Try leaning artworks and showcasing greenery.  

5 make the practical pretty

A throw will keep you warm and protects your sofa from pets and kids.   

Sofa, £2,300, Rug, £85, Floor runner, £195, Stool, £275. All products on these pages, thewhitecompany.com

Sofa, £2,300, Rug, £85, Floor runner, £195, Stool, £275. All products on these pages, thewhitecompany.com

6 Be your own curator

Pull together small groups of art, ceramics, textured bowls, photos and greenery to create focal points throughout the home.

Frames, from £160 for 6 small, Basket, £45, Bench, £325, Throw, £130, Cushion, £40

 Frames, from £160 for 6 small, Basket, £45, Bench, £325, Throw, £130, Cushion, £40

7 Personalise your pictures

Create a memory wall to display your favourite artwork and mementos so you smile every time you pass.  

8 Dress up dinner

A simple recipe of softly printed table linen, a textured placemat and a lovely napkin will make the moment feel more special.

Dinnerware, from £10 for a side plate, Cutlery, £140 for a 24-piece set, Napkins, £25 for four, Placemats, £16 for TWO, Wine glasses and tumblers, both £30 for a set of four

Dinnerware, from £10 for a side plate, Cutlery, £140 for a 24-piece set, Napkins, £25 for four, Placemats, £16 for TWO, Wine glasses and tumblers, both £30 for a set of four

9 Don’t weigh down a room with lots of furniture

Instead, make the furniture you already have work harder. Use ottomans as an additional table surface, storage or seating, and invest in a bed with pullout drawers to save on cupboard space. It will immediately make a room feel and look more spacious.

10 Improve your shelf-image

Change and rearrange the items on a shelf when cleaning to create a new look for a free room refresh.

11 Mix scale & texture

Combining taller with smaller always works. For example, different sizes of frames on a photo wall or tall candle holders with lower tea lights. I love to mix in natural texture too: a crisp, clean piece of glassware always looks great combined with something more natural or rustic.

12 Go for a subtle swapover

Switching cushion covers seasonally, from velvet in winter to linen in spring, is a small change that brings big results.  

13 Freshen up a space by bringing the outside in

When it comes to flowers on the table, I like the arrangement to be super simple. Sometimes I only use sprigs of greenery, grasses or even branches in vases. Just remember to be bold – oversized stems will always bring a sense of grandeur to a scheme.

14 Display everyday pieces

Neat piles of plates and dishes are inviting to the eye and save on storage space. Group similar items and colours for cohesion.

15 Showcase your favourite things

Break up a room full of fitted cupboards by displaying neat piles of your most treasured items on shelves or in a glass display cabinet. They are inviting to the eye and save on essential cupboard space too.  

16 Simplify your storage

Create the feel of a larder with a simple set of open shelves and clear storage jars.   

China, from £10 for a side plate, Glassware, from £25 for a carafe, Wire basket, £30 for two, Espresso mugs, £16 for two, Salt and pepper mills, £34 each

China, from £10 for a side plate, Glassware, from £25 for a carafe, Wire basket, £30 for two, Espresso mugs, £16 for two, Salt and pepper mills, £34 each

17 Rethink your bedroom 

Stand at the door and look around. Is there some simple greenery or a good-looking water jug? These touches help you feel more relaxed.  

Bed, £1,495, Soames Cupro bedlinen, from £58 for a pillowcase, Luca cushion cover from £35, duvet cover, £300 for a double, pouffe, £495

Bed, £1,495, Soames Cupro bedlinen, from £58 for a pillowcase, Luca cushion cover from £35, duvet cover, £300 for a double, pouffe, £495

18 Luxe your linen

Channel hotel vibes with fresh, breathable fabrics such as linen or cotton with tactile textures.  

19 Don’t overlook the smallest details

Stylish tea towels and chopping boards will immediately add warmth to a space and make cooking feel more exciting.  

Storage jars, from £10 each, Chopping boards, from £40 each, Linen cloth, £10

Storage jars, from £10 each, Chopping boards, from £40 each, Linen cloth, £10

20 Pack in a pop-up office

Create an instant home office area with a pinboard, a few inspiring images and a comfy chair. It will make a huge difference to creativity levels without taking up much space. I currently have three big baskets hidden behind a sofa that I use as a stylish and accessible filing system. 

Shop the look 

Echo Chrissie’s pared-back style with simple classics in soft shades 

Chopping board, £58, amara.com, Plant pot, £19.99, hm.com, Cushion cover, £60, oka.com, Chair, £309, barkerandstonehouse.co.uk, Print, £42, conranshop.co.uk, Table lamp, £220, oka.com, Diffuser, £58, libertylondon.com, Raffia baskets, £78 and £95, designvintage.co.uk, Jute rug, £70, laredoute.co.uk, Side table, £372, heals.com, Linen throw, £75, designvintage.co.uk, Tablecloth, £69.99, zarahome.com, Lanterns, £153 for two, maisonsdumonde.com, Scented candle, £65, amara.com

Chopping board, £58, amara.com, Plant pot, £19.99, hm.com, Cushion cover, £60, oka.com, Chair, £309, barkerandstonehouse.co.uk, Print, £42, conranshop.co.uk, Table lamp, £220, oka.com, Diffuser, £58, libertylondon.com, Raffia baskets, £78 and £95, designvintage.co.uk, Jute rug, £70, laredoute.co.uk, Side table, £372, heals.com, Linen throw, £75, designvintage.co.uk, Tablecloth, £69.99, zarahome.com, Lanterns, £153 for two, maisonsdumonde.com, Scented candle, £65, amara.com

How to up the glamour by Nicky Haslam

The interior 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.

Credits: portrait of Nicky is by Zsuzsa Furka. Hilton Carter/CICO Books, taken from Wild Creations (£20), MURRAY SANDERS/ DAILY MAIL, Simon Upton/The Interior Archive, Andrew Crowley/CAMERA PRESS, [email protected]

Shop the look  

Add a touch of class by channelling Nicky’s high-end polish

Cushion, £120, libertylondon.com, Stool, £175, oka.com, Pendant light, £79, swooneditions.com, Rug, £359, furniturevillage.co.uk, Velvet cushion, £148, libertylondon.com, Bottles, £449 for four, amara.com, Antique gold mirror, £450, oka.com, Armchair, £349, made.com

Cushion, £120, libertylondon.com, Stool, £175, oka.com, Pendant light, £79, swooneditions.com, Rug, £359, furniturevillage.co.uk, Velvet cushion, £148, libertylondon.com, Bottles, £449 for four, amara.com, Antique gold mirror, £450, oka.com, Armchair, £349, made.com

 

 

How to reinvent your home by Angel Strawbridge  

Over the past six years Angel and husband Dick have transformed their 45-room chateau in Northwest France

Over the past six years Angel and husband Dick have transformed their 45-room chateau in Northwest France

1 A bright idea

Change white light switches or flexes for coloured options. It’s a simple swap that makes a big difference.

2 Make wood work harder

Breathe new life into old wooden furniture by stripping it back to show off its original beauty or give a great base for a fresh lick of paint. A hot-air gun and scraper might reveal a stunning patina that can be waxed to perfection.

3 Extending shelf life

Reclaimed scaffolding boards can be repurposed to make handy rustic shelves. They offer lots of storage space and look even better when varnished.

4 Give old tiles new style

Painting rather than replacing tiles is a quick way to refresh a tired area. You can even add patterns using plates, cups or FrogTape as design stencils.  

5 Feature comforts 

Designing your own showstopping feature wall can make a room shine. Paint shapes using stencils or create a collage effect with wallpaper.  

6 Grown-up grout

Rejuvenate any tiled area by regrouting in a catchy colour. I always opt for white and grey grout then add paint dye to get the look I’m after.   

7 Make radiators hotter 

Radiators don’t have to be an eyesore. Paint them in the same colours as your wall so that they blend into the backdrop, or be bold and choose a contrasting shade.

8 Get on board

Painting skirting boards in a contrasting shade to your walls is a quick way to make a style statement.

9 Update your image

Large mirrors can be expensive. Instead buy a large picture from a second-hand shop and replace the image with a mirror sheet. Or change the look of an old mirror by rubbing paint stripper across the reflective surface to create a distressed finish.  

10 Do up your old drawers

Updating handles makes a big difference to the feel of a room. Upgrade a high-street or plain piece of furniture by adding a chic leather pull or brass doorknob for instant luxe.

Picture credits: Channel 4, Are Media Pty Limited, Future Publishing Ltd, Littlegreene.com.

Angel and Dick are looking for contributors for the new series of Escape to The Chateau: Make Do and Mend. To apply or for more information visit thechateau.tv/escape-to-the-chateau  

 

Shop the look 

Angel’s quirky style is all about standout prints and vintage-looking furniture

Chest of drawers, £540.50, maisonsdumonde.com, Table lamp, £209, pooky.com, Coat hooks, from £32 each, utilitydesign.co.uk, Tile, £6, bertandmay.com, Cabinet, £565, oliverbonas.com, Wall mural (2.8m x 4m), £510, rockettstgeorge.co.uk, Cups and saucers, £188 for two, matchesfashion.com, Framed print, £90, petriprints.com

Chest of drawers, £540.50, maisonsdumonde.com, Table lamp, £209, pooky.com, Coat hooks, from £32 each, utilitydesign.co.uk, Tile, £6, bertandmay.com, Cabinet, £565, oliverbonas.com, Wall mural (2.8m x 4m), £510, rockettstgeorge.co.uk, Cups and saucers, £188 for two, matchesfashion.com, Framed print, £90, petriprints.com

 

 

How to sparkle & shine by Mrs Hinch

Cleaning sensation Sophie Hinchliffe shares her inside inspo for making every room look like new

1. Break spring cleaning down into manageable sized chunks for each room. I am a big fan of the clockwise clean. Start to your left of the doorway and work your way round the room, cleaning, dusting and polishing as you go. Before you know it, you will end up where you started and the room will look revitalised.

2. Free up space in your drawers and cupboards by checking for expiry dates on skincare, makeup and medicine. Throw out, donate or pass along anything that is out of date or that you don’t use any more. Try to tackle one drawer or cupboard per day to keep things neat.

3. Keep your curtains’ pleats perfect all year round with simple pipe insulation. I buy mine from eBay. Cut the piping into ten even pieces and thread one through the eyelet between each pleat. You can also use saved toilet roll tubes. 

4. Give often overlooked items, such as ceiling lights and fabric shades a quick spruce up. Use a gentle handheld vacuum for lamp shades and a dry brush for ceiling lights to get rid of dust build-up. 

5. An effective way to get rid of tough marks on cooking appliances and hobs is to use a non-abrasive paste and a non-scratch scrubber. For those burnt on stains, a scraping tool is very useful. 

6. It sounds small, but spraying cushion covers, bedlinen and upholstery with an odour eliminating product such as Febreze in between washes will keep them feeling and smelling fresher for longer. 

7. Keep mirrors streak free with a spot of white wine vinegar and a paper towel. Scrub until streaks are removed. Good as new.

8. Skirting boards are a magnet for dust, and will build up over time. Clean them regularly with a damp sponge (dry cloths and sponges reallocate dust to another spot) and use an old paint brush to get into any awkward nooks. 

9. Whether you have a patio, garden or balcony area, jet wash the paving once a year and wipe any outdoor furniture down with a damp cloth. You can use a jet wash on the lowest setting or your hose to rinse and take the worst of the winter debris off before using a cream cleaner to scrub away grime.

10. Keep carpets and rugs fuzz-free by running a dry squeegee over the surface to lift out dust and hair that would otherwise be compressed by the hoover. It’s also handy for getting into those hard-to-reach areas such as corners on the stairs and around the carpet edges. 

11. The sofa is the heart of the living room so give it a new lease of life by running a lint roller or body brush over the upholstery and cushion covers to pick up any loose hairs. For those parts of your sofa which are not machine washable, use a white cloth (it must be white to avoid any colour transfer) dipped in a large bowl of warm water mixed with your upholstery cleaner of choice. Leave out to dry and reassemble. 

12. Save on floor, surface and cupboard space by clipping hooks on the inside of cupboard doors. Use these to hang everything from cloths to bin bags. I also like to group my cleaning products in baskets by how often I use them such as ‘daily’ weekly’ etc, so that I can keep the most frequently used items to hand. 

13. Store bedlinen sets in the matching pillow case to save on cupboard space and keep sets neatly in one place. No more missing pillowcases.

14. Trays are a decorative way to display favourite pieces in one place while keeping the area looking organised. Mirrored trays bounce light around. 

15. In the bathroom transfer things like cotton pads and buds from supermarket containers into glass jars. Not only will necessities be more to hand, but the glass jars will instantly make the countertop look less cluttered and more sophisticated. 

Shop the look   

Keep it practical like Mrs Hinch with great space savers and cleaning kit

Storage cabinet, £569, cuckooland.com, Birch storage boxes, £28 for two, amara.com, Pegboard, £195, kreisdesign.com, Dustpan and brush, £37, conranshop.co.uk, Brass wall hooks, £39, made.com, Glass canister, £28, anthropologie.com, Dustpan and brush, £93, conranshop.co.uk, Canister, from £34, anthropologie.com, Storage rack, £260, amara.com, Woven basket, £79.95, nkuku.com, Wall storage system, £259, nest.co.uk, Fabric spray, £11.95, selfridges.com, Feather duster, £45, conranshop.co.uk, Dishcloths, £10.50 for three, designvintage.co.uk, Tins, £3 for three, ikea.com, Reusable spray bottle, £9.50, bowercollective.com

Storage cabinet, £569, cuckooland.com, Birch storage boxes, £28 for two, amara.com, Pegboard, £195, kreisdesign.com, Dustpan and brush, £37, conranshop.co.uk, Brass wall hooks, £39, made.com, Glass canister, £28, anthropologie.com, Dustpan and brush, £93, conranshop.co.uk, Canister, from £34, anthropologie.com, Storage rack, £260, amara.com, Woven basket, £79.95, nkuku.com, Wall storage system, £259, nest.co.uk, Fabric spray, £11.95, selfridges.com, Feather duster, £45, conranshop.co.uk, Dishcloths, £10.50 for three, designvintage.co.uk, Tins, £3 for three, ikea.com, Reusable spray bottle, £9.50, bowercollective.com

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