Turn your living room or bedroom from drab to fab with these affordable room improvements from interiors writer, Antonia Ludden

At this time of year, rooms can feel a bit dark and dreary. There’s not much natural light around, but luckily there’s plenty you can do to give your living spaces a boost without spending a fortune.

Lighting & Layout

There’s not much natural light around, what with dark mornings and early dusk fall. Which means you need to look at your current situation. It sounds simple but giving the windows a clean can actually make a big difference! Maybe you can change any heavy dark curtains for blinds to let more light in? Would arranging your furniture in a different way help the flow of light, or do you need some additional light sources?

Of course, there’s a lot to love about cosy low lighting, too, but sometimes you just need a bit of extra illumination. So, floor lamps and table lamps can really enhance your rooms, making them brighter and more welcoming. Think about where your plug sockets are and where you could introduce a nice lamp or two. Dark corners are ideal spots for a tall floor lamp whilst side tables, sideboards and shelves benefit from smaller light sources – not just table lamps but think about safely adding candles and tealights, or fairylights for an inviting glow.

Colour Therapy

It’s amazing what a difference some colour can make to a space. If everything feels a little too greige this season, think about the colours you are naturally drawn to- can you work them into your current décor? Maybe by introducing a vibrant new shade pop of colour? Think about painting a single wall (the fireplace, alcoves or space behind the sofa or bed are all ideal). Or you could add new cushions, sofa throws, bedding, artificial flowers etc. If you don’t want to splurge on new homeware, why not have fun with some washing machine dye? I love giving old things a new lease of life in this way. It’s fun and satisfying and a bit more sustainable than buying new!

Make a Statement

If your room is feeling a bit bland and boring, it’s probably lacking a focal feature or something to give it a wow factor. It’s easy though to introduce a new element to reinvigorate a sad room. Perhaps you could find an amazing piece of vintage furniture in a junk shop to fill an empty space, something useful like a cupboard which you perhaps could paint in a cool colour and style the top of with accessories you already own.

Or why not spend a pleasant afternoon creating a gallery wall? To bounce some more light around the room, you could make it a gallery wall of mirrors! Mirrors in different shapes and sizes can be picked up quite cheaply second hand. Or display all the pictures and postcards you’ve collected over time. You can frame them cheaply with basic ones from the supermarkets, all in the same colour and style to create a more uniform look. Or go for quirky clashing styles and sizes to create a more eclectic look for your wall. If you don’t have much artwork to display, there are lots of great affordable poster outlets online, e.g. take a look at Desenio.co.uk which is really popular with bloggers and you can even choose a ready-made gallery wall.

Plant Babies & Garden Foliage

There is one sure fire way or re-energising a room in an instant and that is by introducing a lovely collection of plants. Real and faux plants are a massive trend in home interiors right now. They look amazing when placed in tiers on a shelving unit, or you could aim for a trendy hanging plant wall. There are lots of tutorials online showing you how to make great macramé plant holders or even DIY some shelves for your plants if you fancy a weekend project. All you need is some wood and rope plus a few tools!

Friends and family are a good source for providing plant cuttings and plant babies to adopt! If you don’t want to spend too much cash in the garden centre. You can even bring in flowers and foliage from outdoors – tall, woody stems look fantastic in vases and containers on tabletops and units. Make a seasonal display on a shelf or mantelpiece with twigs, berries, pinecones etc.

For more home inspiration visit Antonia’s blog #tidylife at www.tidyawaytoday.co.uk