10 tips for upcycling your interiors

Looking to transform your home without spending a fortune? Here’s how…

1 Repurpose old furniture

‘If you’re looking to create a unique look for your bathroom, why not turn an old chest of drawers or table into a console unit for a basin to sit on?’ says interior designer Nicola Steer. ‘You can wax, varnish or paint the furniture to make it water-resistant or to add a splash of colour to the room. Fix a towel rail to one side to make it super-practical, too.’

2 Keep your jars

Old food jars, washed, relieved of their contents and labels, and filled with seashells, pebbles, soaps or even candles can make a pretty addition to a windowsill or shelf. Next time you’re food shopping, keep an eye out for jars with interesting shapes – you can even customise them with attractive stickers or glass paint.

Antique mason jars, Dee Puddy

3 Rethink a door

Look out for old louvre wardrobe doors, shutters or even original Victorian doors, either in skips (with the owner’s permission) or salvage yards, and turn them into eye-catching table tops. Spray in a colour that matches your room scheme then put on a base or set of new legs (which you can find anywhere from boot sales to IKEA ). Re-sprayed, louvre doors can be hung on walls, too, and used to neatly store anything from belts and ties to jewellery and greetings cards, while old doors can be used to frame a leaning mirror.

4 Use paint to unite a mismatched mix

You might not be able to afford a matching set of furniture for your bathroom or even dining room, but if you choose a paint colour you love then coat every piece in the same shade, no one will notice the lack of co-ordinating pieces (or if they do, they will think you’ve done it on purpose).

5 Create a display

Looking for a smart way to show off your best bathroom bottles or to store your cache of necklaces, bangles and earrings? Find a pretty picture frame, put a favourite photo, painting, fabric or wallpaper print into it, then lay it on its back on a bathroom console, low shelf or windowsill… and there you have the perfect display tray for your bits and bobs.

6 Make cutlery into hooks

Whether you’re looking for hooks for your bathroom, hallway or kitchen, you can quickly fashion them out of junk-shop-find cutlery. Spoons work well for bathrooms – just carefully drill a hole into the end of the handle, bend the cutlery head upwards and fix to the wall. The perfect, one-off hook.

7 Turn a chair into a towel rack

Whether you need to neatly store towels in a bathroom or tea towels in a kitchen, you can do so easily with a ladderback chair. If there’s room, simply coating the chair in a water-resistant paint will make it both a place for you to sit and for your towels to air; if space is tight, remove the chair’s seat and front legs, fill the holes and attach it to the wall for a one-off towel rail.

8 Looking for wallpaper for a small space?

Whether a cloakroom, utility space or en suite bathroom, a small room cries out for a little individuality – and these are the perfect spaces for getting creative with maps or even the pages from your favourite literary classic. Fix them to the wall with wallpaper paste, paying particular attention to the edges, allow to dry, then use a matt varnish to protect from moisture. If that goes well, you could even try a spot of decoupage on your furniture, too.

Vintage map wallpaper, Digitex Home 

9 Looking for a shower curtain with a difference?

If you can’t find one you like, why not buy a plain white shower curtain as a waterproof liner, then make a top curtain out of fabulous fabric finds – you’ll discover lots of lovely colours in square silk scarves; charity shops make a great place to find them. You could even frame your favourite and put it on the bathroom wall to tie the look together.

10 Make your own pull cord light
Got a plain old pull cord in your loo or bathroom? Customise yours by threading piles of buttons in different colours and sizes on to the cord… or look for sea shells with holes in them to thread instead.


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