After deliberating over 13 shades of beige paint, reorganizing the furniture in every conceivable way possible and carefully arranging the scatter cushions so that they’re juuuust so, you can sit back, relax and enjoy your home. Our homes are our sanctuary and it’s no big surprise that we’re spending more than ever on their upkeep. In the US for example, there was a 47% increase in homeowners spending $1,000 or more on home improvement projects between 2015 and 2016.
That’s a lot of cash. DIY spending in the UK alone has increased by 13% to £5.8 billion – and we all know just how hard we work for our money. But are expensive home construction and DIY projects like skylights and extensions a wise way to spend your cash? We think there must be cheaper and easier ways to upgrade your home. Of course, everyone is different – if you need extra space for the kids, an extension might just be the best solution – but we’ve come up with five ways to transform your space without the cost, mess and hassle of builders.
Let’s take a look at what we can do in our homes for immediate impact without reaching for a hammer.
1. Create open space using mirrors
A neat way to create the illusion of open space in your home is by reflection. Fill some empty wall space with a mirror and you’ll make the room feel bigger, brighter and more airy. Check out the image above to see how New York designer Michael Abrams has used this trick to make it seem like there’s a whole new room to the house. Don’t be afraid to be bold!
Do, however, consider what the mirror will be reflecting. Positioning mirrors directly across from windows is great as it will maximize light reflection but if it will reflect clutter or an ugly piece of furniture you hate but are forced to keep as it was a gift from great Aunt Nora, have a rethink or a reshuffle.
Even smaller mirrors can have a dramatic effect and open out your space considerably so experiment with some in your home. Get creative about where to put them too; add them to kitchen cabinets, use them to cover up unsightly features or even create extra storage. We draw the line at a mirrored ceiling however, let’s leave the tackiness in the 1970s where it belongs!
Whether it be your child’s first strokes with a paintbrush or a print you picked up while travelling the globe, art has an extraordinary power to move us. Make the most of your favorite artworks by hanging them around the house, surrounding yourself with things you love to look at.
Transform the hallway from bare and boring to personalized and storytelling with a feature wall of family photos. If you’re decorating from scratch you could even plan your color scheme around a particular painting and really make a statement. And, as the curator of your own personal art gallery you don’t have to worry about anybody’s tastes but your own! If you’re stuck for inspiration browse the website of your favorite homeware store, the arrangement in the photo above by Dwell Studio has given us lots of ideas how to style out our decor.
3. Let the sunshine into your home
The transformative power of great lighting is well known – think about how you look in a softly-lit restaurant with a candle flickering at the table compared to how you look when you shine a torch under your chin. Big difference, right? The same goes for your home too – the right lighting can completely change your space. We’re obviously big fans of letting the sunshine in and we’ve talked lots about the benefits of natural light (link to previous blog here) so let’s concentrate on how to get more of it into the home.
Traditional solutions like skylights, solar tubes or larger windows and glass panelling all require extensive construction work. If you don’t want the mess and chaos that goes along with a team of builders invading your home (not to mention the cost) then Caia is the solution for you!
Caia works straight out the box, just place her in a sunny spot inside or out and point her to where you’d the sunlight to go. She’ll then redirect the sunshine into your home and make previously dark spaces into bright, sunny spots. That poorly lit room that seemed small, dark and cramped can be transformed into an open and airy space. With the help of a little sunshine and our natural lighting robot, spending time in your home can be a pleasure.
To find out how Caia can transform your home using the power of sunshine and not a single bit of construction work, click here.
4. Be clever with color
Changing up your color scheme is an obvious way to transform your home. If you’ve got limited space, use the well known trick employed by interior designers and paint the walls a lighter color. Darker colors will make a room feel smaller, but don’t go overboard, you’re aiming for cosy, not dungeon-like!
If you’re happy with your decor but just feel like a bit of a change, a coat of colorful paint in the right place can make your place feel energized. We love how this otherwise plain bookcase is transformed with canary and mustard yellow stenciling. The floral cushions and golden kitchenware tie the room together with one coherent thread and also add texture and pattern to keep your eyes interested without being overwhelming.
Glance around your home and you’ll find lots of places you could add an unexpected pop of color – shelving, inside cupboards, a ceiling perhaps!
5. Awair Air Quality Monitor
When we think of pollution our first thoughts are about industrial factories billowing out black smoke into the atmosphere and queues of traffic spluttering car fumes out onto our streets. So we were shocked to find out that indoor air can be up to 5 times more polluted than outside air.
As well as being super stylish the Awair Air Quality Monitor is a clever little creature. It tracks the toxins, chemicals, dust, CO2, humidity and temperature of the air in your home. Monitor the air quality from your smartphone using the Awair app and follow the suggestions to make improvements.
Air quality might not be your first thought when it comes to home improvements but being able to breathe easier really does have a transformative effect. You’ll sleep easier, be more productive, reduce the amount of chemicals you breathe in and avoid allergens if you can optimize what’s going on in the air around you. And who wouldn’t want to spend more time in a home in which you can breathe easy?