Dressing your home for me is like dressing myself it is an extention of me and what I am – it has to feel like home but look stylish at the same time?? I love looking at minimal ultra white and pared down rooms but seriously it is just not me – I like “stuff” too much so my house like my wardrobe is full of a mixture of charity shop, vintage, pieces inherited from my parents and designer fabrics and decorative items that I have found along the way.
In her book Anna gives tips for doing up a rental but I think that a lot of her ideas work whether you are renting or own your own home, her thrifty and stylish décor ideas work for any home.
I live in a small two up two down terrace house therefore space is always going to be an issue so she suggests making use of every square inch of space to hide the banalities of everyday life – TV in an armoire, phone on the book shelf or the computer in a 1920’s secretary desk? My desk is an old card table that I picked up in a vintage shop for £15!!
As with your wardrobe when decorating on a budget charity shops, flea markets and vintage shops are your best bet for finding objects to put in your home.
Pick up pieces that you love, inspire you and make you smile – taxidermy, bell jars, African art, Chinese opera masks or whatever it is – the French call it objet trouves which you can usually pick up reasonably cheap as it falls into the weird shit we love bracket!!
You may never find a genuine masterpiece to put on you wall but a quality etching, a plate from a botanical or fashion magazine framed will look just as good! You can pin almost anything to the wall – prints, postcards from friends or your own travels, batter violins, ballet slippers, vintage dresses or shoes, record covers or sheet music, an old flag, maps or even a clear frame that is wonderful in design – if you love it put it up!!
One thing that Anna suggest and Rita Konig who is an interior designer and writer agrees with in her book Domestic Bliss – How to Live – when money is tight and you have no funds to go out and buy new things – clean up, de-clutter and get organised – for a start it will make you feel so much better – work with non- chemical cleaners if you can Anna who is all about the environment mixes lemon, cider vinegar, lemon and orange oil in water into an old spray bottle and rose oil in water to clean her floors!!
A mantle is a platform for all kinds of fabulous object that you can change, add to or remove as the mood takes you!! Invites, post cards, sea shells from you last walk along the beach, poems, art, pretty tea cups that have broken handles but you can’t bear to throw away, books, bottles in fact anything that makes you heart sing or skip a beat!
Add a collage to the loo wall or an unusual print or map – something interesting to look at while sitting??!! Bonnie Cashin the American designer painted each of the doors in her small atelier in NY a different bright colour – simple and cheap – sample pots should be enough to do a door!! Or write positive statements on a wall or an inspiring quote on a mirror.
Dressing your bed is another fabulous way of making the most of you bedroom – monogramed pillow cases or sheets can be picked up in vintage shops – they don’t have to be your own initials, coloured bedspreads or pretty lace throws can be used to layer up, or even dress up a sofa or chair.
I love fresh flowers but it is expensive to buy them all the time – so instead of buying a fancy bouquet I buy a lot of something cheap like tulips in one colour and pile them into a vase or take a walk into the countryside to collect lots of greenery or leaves, or grow you your own cut flower garden from seeds – this is my intention for my garden plans for this year!!
So with a bit of imagination, a few clever buys you can make your house a home without breaking the bank!!