Teach your Old room new tricks

Home makeovers can be expensive, but getting creative with stuff you already own needn’t cost a penny. Our possessions give our homes personality and character but all too often they end up randomly crowding shelves and spilling out of cupboards.

Saturday, 21st September 2013, 5:00 pm
Undated Handout Photo of triangular shapes and woven pieces and images combining in a display featured in Visual Contrast by Tim Rundle, photography by Polly Wreford, published by Ryland Peters & Small, priced £25. See PA Feature INTERIORS Visual. Picture credit should read: PA Photo/Polly Wreford/Ryland Peters & Small. WARNING: This picture must only be used to accompany PA Feature INTERIORS Visual.

According to interior stylist Tim Rundle, this is a waste of ‘decor gold’, as he believes displaying our collections of clutter and treasures results in spectacular interiors.

“As a general rule, we’ve owned the majority of our possessions for a while so tend to take that ‘stuff’ for granted. After all, familiarity breeds contempt,” he says.

“We’ve a tendency to think the only solution to a tired interior is to start afresh and buy new, which is often impossible as it’s so costly.

“Actually, it’s also unnecessary,” he adds. “Rearranging objects creatively can make you fall in love with them and your home all over again.”

One of his top tips for creating displays is gathering together pieces that work because of a shared theme - then throwing something you think definitely wouldn’t work with them into the mix.

“Very often, it’s that random object which actually brings the display alive and adds a twist of humour .”

Transform your rooms by following his simple guide to decorative display. Identify key viewpoints in your rooms, such as the view from a doorway, or the space you focus on when you’re seated to eat or to work. Then work out the decorative items you’d like to add. Upscale a conventional object, like a small plant pot, by replacing it with a metal bucket containing not one but four plants. Increase drama by placing four similar vases together and it will super-size the display. Place the largest item next to the smallest and keep an eye out for the unexpected. For instance, a giant image of a diamond, normally a small object, is more surprising than a giant landscape.

Most of us have a mix of antique and contemporary items in our homes, but for success, combine the oldest with the youngest to achieve cross-generational visual drama. Almost anything with age adds character to an arrangement but contemporary pieces can feel brash and aggressive unless used with care. Ideally, select strong geometric shapes, pure colours or bright white, so the modern elements don’t compete with patterned or more ornamental pieces.

Many of us are nervous about using colour but it’s a key tool in successful rooms. Rundle suggests a simple route to success is simply taking the temperature of shades and dividing them into hot or cold, and then playing with contrast.