Abigail AhernAdviceInterior design

Budget Home Makeover Ideas from Abigail Ahern

I like nothing more than giving my pad a mini make over every now and again. With summer upon us, I like to change things around a bit as more time is spent entertaining, hopefully outside, as well as inside and I want my home to feel as re-energised as the season.

The best thing about these mini home makeovers is that you don’t need oodles of cash, it’s more about keeping things fresh and making it exciting to come home no matter what the season! We often think changing the décor is an expensive affair but if you keep it to a limited number of changes it won’t cost the earth, promise!

Start outside

home makeover

Let’s start with outside. My go to trick time and time again is to make outside look as cool as inside. Throw a couple of cushions from indoors outside on a chair, maybe a vase of flowers on an upturned apple crate, light some candles and wham bam – you’ve got one cool outdoor nook! I’ll soften it up further by moving a small rug outside, maybe the odd upholstered chair, even the odd table lamp on an extension cord and suddenly you’ve taken the space to a whole other level. Especially when you have guests round, it makes the evening feel so much more special.


living room ideas on a budget

Lighting outdoors changes the dynamic instantly. I never realised how important outdoor lighting was until I spent quite a period of time back and forth to Miami where I was working on the interiors for the Ritz Carlton’s spa. I stayed in Philip Stark’s Delano hotel and it was one of those experiences that literally changed the way you think about stuff. He didn’t just place uplighters highlighting trees (beautiful enough) but chandeliers, table lamps, pendants and floor lights, scattered throughout the extensive grounds. Little nooks of atmosphere all over the place. I came back determined to do something similar at home and lighting my gardens front and back has been the biggest game changer EVER. Summer, winter its one of the simplest make overs around as it extends horizons past the window and creates instant intrigue and depth.

Candlelight should never be overlooked. I don’t think a day goes by when I don’t light a candle. As dusk fades into night a smattering of candles inside and out create the most flickering, flattering note – otherwise known as instant atmosphere!

decorating on a budget

I should say the same goes for inside, after colour, lighting is the second most transformative thing you can do to any room. I say this in all my classes from Australia to NYC, just when you think you have enough lamps,  triple them! A sure fire way of cranking up the atmosphere and intrigue!

Add summery textiles

room makeover

Another inexpensive way to create a mini home makeover seasonally is to throw in some new textiles. In summer, consider adding a silk or sateen cushion, not only will it give the couch a seasonal facelift, it will in the very same instant take your space to the next level. The trick – go off radar with the colour choice, think a beautiful summery yellow hue for instance.

Paint out in fluoro

room mkaeover

One of the hottest trends right now is to take flea market, charity find brown furniture and paint it out in a fluoro hue. Hot pink, scarlet or burnt orange, it will add a zing and completely change the dynamic of your space. Plus you can pick up so-called ‘brown’ 70s furniture for a song they are practically giving it away!

Add a pop of colour

Consider adding a pop of colour for a quick home makeover. I’ve just spoken about adding some fluoro shots to furniture but how about opting for a vase in say turquoise or summery saffron? Some intense hotshot colour will totally enliven your space. Time and time again I opt for vases, as they are the easiest and cheapest things to switch up. Right now my mantles are sporting yellow tribal vases with dark cosmos – beautiful!

Change the bed linen

house makover

Another one of my go to tricks is to change the bed linen. As the bed takes up the largest amount of space in a room switching up the linen is a game changer. One of the coolest stores on earth to buy bedding is from is Merci in Paris. They sell the most to die for linens in extraordinary hues, the deepest inkiest blue, taupe, lime – amazing. It’s not the cheapest but then it lasts forever looking more aged and beautiful with every wash. Just like me!

Switch up your window treatments

Nothing shouts summer like sheer window treatments. My trick is to always order them slightly oversized so that they billow and hang on the floor a bit. Extra panels equals extra fullness!

Bring outdoors indoors

I am the biggest fan of popping as much foliage as I possibly can in little jam jars, or t-light holders. Firstly, foliage lasts way longer than flowers and secondly, I feel like I’m moving with the seasons. So in the summer oregano, mint, basil, dill (maybe with a bit of berried ivy thrown in to up the textural contrasts), sit all over my pad from the bedside to the dining table.

Happy Decorating

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Abigail Ahern

Interior designer and author Abigail Ahern has been hailed as ‘style spotter extraordinaire’, by The Times. Her style is as unique as it is affordable and is characterised by glamour, wit and show-stopping colours.

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  1. Great article and really interesting about introducing colour which has encouraged me as coincidentally I am hosting an exhibition ‘Midsummer Madness’ which is full of colour, from pottery, folk art and painted furniture as you mentioned where I have used Eico paints in vibrant colours so now feel a little more confident that we are on trend.

  2. Hey there! This post could not be written any better! Reading this post reminds me of my previous room mate! He always kept chatting about this. I will forward this post to him. Fairly certain he will have a good read. Thanks for sharing!

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