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6 life-changing décor tips

The New Year is a wonderful time to press refresh, whether on your wardrobe, your body – or even your home. If your current key interior design scheme is based around crayola-bright plastic toys, now is the time to take stock and transform your living space. After all, it's where you spend most of your time...

To help, we asked some of our favourite darlings of the design world to give us their surefire ways to make your home Instagram-snappable -without any major renovations. Here are their top six tips. Happy New Year! Words: Claire Brayford | Holding image: Dulux 

A pillow or two

“One of the easiest and most affordable ways to update a room is with new cushions,” says Jillian Rene, the soft furnishing design name on everyone’s lips. Her bold, colour-block creations and graphic stripes scattered on a sofa, kitchen chairs or even your bed will give any room a contemporary lift. “Have fun mixing colour and pattern,” Jillian says. “When it comes to choosing which shade I often ask my clients to look in their closet for inspiration. Whatever you love – green, stripes, polka dots – then go with it! A pop of colour or a bold pattern can give a room new life. And create balance with odd numbers, it intensifies their impact if cushions are grouped in sets of three.”

Image: @photoindecor

Get in the frame

The gallery wall has long been a favourite trick for many a tired corner, especially when you’re wondering where to put all those odd frames. Sam Hood, founder and creative director of Amara.com, agrees: “Different photo frame styles against a plain white backdrop instantly injects a surge of colour and creates an accent wall in your room, but this year why not try hanging unique wall plates to create a focal point in your living space.” You can update the traditional gallery wall by attaching pictures or mirrors to the front of a bookshelf for that eclectic library look or create a grid effect with the same size frames featuring unusual or hand-painted wallpaper. “Trust your instinct of what looks good,” says British artist Lucy Auge. “If you are working with big grids, place the paintings together by negative space first then look at the shape of the image, and then group by colour. I tend to go for minimal clip frames or natural wood – nothing that detracts from the picture. Try collating lots of pictures to work together, I do installations of many paintings forming panels of work so the pictures aren’t individual any more, instead it builds into one large piece of work.”

Image: Courtesy of Dulux 

A splash of paint

Choosing paint for your home has to be one of the trickiest and most stressful elements of interior design. Dulux UK’s prediction for the colour of 2017 is a versatile, calming shade of blue called Denim Drift. In fact, the brand has come up with a number of services to take the stress out of choosing the right hue. Rebecca Williamson, Dulux UK Colour and Design Expert, says: “The best thing about Denim Drift is that it really suits any space being on the greyer edge of the spectrum but the room I think fits it perfectly is the bathroom especially when it sits against a crisp white suite with touches of marble and metallic.” The new Visualizer app will help you get a better idea of how a colour will look, and allow you to pick a scheme around a particular item from your home or your closet. You can test unlimited colours using augmented reality and see how it looks on your walls. And finally, if you are unhappy with the choice, Dulux allows you to paint again for free with the Dulux Let’s Colour Guarantee.

Image: Courtesy of Coze

Do not disturb

If you have one resolution this year make it to clear away the clutter in your bedroom, and dress your bed in some luxurious crisp white sheets. Whatever the state of the rest of your home, your bedroom should be as peaceful and luxurious as your favourite hotel room. Our current favourite bed linen brand is Coze. The family firm has supplied high-end linen to hotels like the Ritz and the Dorchester since the 1900s. With its clients fielding an ever-growing number of requests from guests desperate to buy its products for their homes, they decided to create their own brand. Ben Roston, director of the brand, says: “You can give any bedroom that five star luxury hotel feel with some high quality crisp white bedding in the highest thread count you can afford. Our sheets will improve with each wash and should be changed weekly. Finally, be sure to plump your pillows daily and dress the bed with throws and scatter cushions.”

Image: Courtesy of Willow Crossley

Say it with flowers

Another easy instant update is with a beautiful bouquet of flowers. Fresh flowers can be costly if you’re replacing them every week, but you can create the effect with some of the better-than-the-real-thing fake flowers on the market. Britain’s leading floral stylist, Willow Crossley, has just teamed up with interiors brand OKA to create a new range of faux pre-tied bunches. Julie Paul, the brand’s head of interior design, says: “Faux flowers are a wonderful investment and the ideal spring update. Not only do they liven up any room – from guest room to bathroom or dining room – they last throughout the year and our new range comes pre-arranged so you don’t even have to worry about styling them.”

And the finishing touch

If you’re thinking of ditching your tired Ikea furniture, wait. So were we until we stumbled upon cool Swedish brand Superfront. With its off-the-peg products – stylish leather pull handles and elegant new furniture legs as well as fronts, sides and tops for your cupboard doors, even wash basins for bathroom vanities – it will help you elevate your furniture so no one would ever know it’s Ikea. We love it and it has Ikea-pitched prices too. So let 2017 be the year you start playing dress up – with your little ones and with your home.