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4 Low-Cost Ideas To Update Your Home This Weekend!

Interiors

After the last few months of working/eating/homeschooling/EVERYTHING from home… we’re guessing you’re getting pretty sick of the inside of your house right about now. The good news is, there are plenty of ways to spruce things up at home, without having to spend a whole lot of money.

We asked four design experts – Jono Fleming, Kerrie-Ann Jones, Rachel Castle and Shelley Banders – to share their super easy, low-cost ideas for updating your space.

So who’s up for a little weekend DIY?

12th June, 2020

Photo – Maree Homer.

Photo – courtesy of Kerrie-Ann Jones.

Photo – courtesy of Kerrie-Ann Jones.

The Shelfie – Kerrie-Ann Jones, Interior Stylist

Do you have an under-used mantlepiece or bookshelves, but you’re not sure how to style them? There are some easy tips you can put into action straight away to create a chic, personalised arrangement of objects. You absolutely don’t need to go out and purchase a bunch of new designer pieces to achieve a great ‘shelfie’ –  the beauty comes from using a mix of collected things that mean something to you, and getting the placement right.

Blank Canvas

Start by removing everything off your bookshelves and start with a blank canvas. It’s a good opportunity to give the shelves a dust off too!

Dig for Treasure

Go through your cupboards, take a walk around the house and see what hidden treasures you have that might look great to display on your shelves. You might uncover goodies you forgot about or sentimental items that you’d like to have a special spot for.

Curate

Go through all your favourite books, treasures, objects and art that could work well styled on the shelf and do an edit of the ‘must-haves’.  Also, be mindful of the colours and textures of your edit – do they work well together?

Hero

Choose your hero piece or vignette.  This is the first place you want the eye to go when looking at your shelves. It could be a piece of art, plant or object. Place your hero item first on the shelves, ideally at just below eye level, then work your styling outwards from there.

Vignettes

Create vignettes from your edited collection of objects, ceramics, plants, books, etc. Do this by grouping items into collections of 3-5, and placing either side of your hero piece.

Books

If you’ve got a selection of books to work with, arrange them in vertical and horizontal stacks, with about 3-7 books within each stack. If you are stacking the books horizontally, you can style with a small object on top, too. For vertical stacks, you may need bookends (or something heavy) to keep upright. Vary the stacks along different shelves.

Balance

Ensure you have created a visual balance amongst the shelves, so one side doesn’t look heavier or fuller than the other. Check there is visual balance above and below the ‘hero’ pieces too. Think about varying heights and shapes. You don’t want anything to stick out like a sore thumb!

Review

Take a step back and review your styling. There should be a feeling of balance and harmony within the overall visual picture of your shelves. Also, check the placement of everything, does anything need to be rotated, or rearranged slightly? Sometimes I find its good to go back a few hours later or the next day with fresh eyes to check over.

Done! You’ve officially learned how to nail a chic shelfie!

Kerrie-Ann Jones has recently launched her interior styling school The Stylist Lab where she reveals all her styling tips, tricks and techniques to create a home that reflects you, how you live and what you love. Enrolment is open now here!

Photo – Caitlin Mills for The Design Files.

Photo – Rachel Castle.

Photo – Caitlin Mills for The Design Files.

The DIY Tea Towel Artwork – Rachel Castle, Artist + Designer

One of the quickest and easiest ways to add a little sing song to a space at home is with a colourful artwork.  Not too serious, and a little bit of fun, our 100% linen artworks are a crowd favourite you just want to rip open from the postie and get on the wall straight away. Of course, you can use any tea towel that takes your fancy!

I’m a big lover of blu tack and sticky tape, but if you’re after something a bit more polished we love to see them mounted onto rigid felt board, perfect to just lean or place on a shelf, to bulk up an art wall (see Jono Fleming’s tips up next!), or with a little hook on the back to hang on the wall. 

What you’ll need 

acoustic pinboard from Bunnings
– cloth tape (easy to tear with hands)

– pencil for marking
– scissors
– ruler
– utility knife
– string to hang your artwork
CASTLE art tea towel (or whatever you have on hand) 

1. Use your ruler to mark 450mm x 650mm on your acoustic pinboard, this allows a margin for your tea towel to wrap around and be taped onto the back.

2. Hot steam iron the back of your CASTLE art tea towel to get rid of any creases.

3. Place your tea towel facedown, then place your cut acoustic pinboard in the centre.

4. Fold each edge of your tea towel over and secure with cloth tape, be as generous as you like with the tape.

5. Tape a piece of string across the back of your pin board in a straight line if you want to hang your tea towel on a hook.

6. Your tea towel is now all ready to go!

Get your own CASTLE tea towel here for your DIY wall art and watch Rachel demonstrate a tutorial of this DIY on her Instagram

Jono Fleming’s impressive art wall in his Sydney apartment. Photo – Caitlin Mills for The Design Files.

Photo – Caitlin Mills for The Design Files.

Photo – Caitlin Mills for The Design Files.

Photo – Caitlin Mills for The Design Files.

The Art Wall – Jono Fleming, Interior stylist

There’s lots of information out there on how to hang a gallery wall. You trace all the frames out on brown paper and lay it out, arranging it to find the right spot for every piece… but here’s the thing. How often do you have 10 pieces of art laying around ready to hang?

It’s rare to have a whole collection of art at the ready. Art is more likely to be something you collect over time. It can take a bit of patience, picking pieces that speak to you, and the cost of an art collection can add up.

Every single piece doesn’t have to break the bank though, if there is something that you really want to invest in but don’t have the budget for, there’s a government program called Art Money that’s essentially like ‘After Pay’ for art. Many galleries are engaged with the initiative and it’s a great way to start adding value to your collection.

In the meantime, look at smaller galleries or find up-and-coming artists on Instagram to get more affordable pieces. Op shops, eBay, Etsy and posters are a great way to add to bulk up your collection (TDF Note: And tea towels… as per Rachel Castle’s tutorial above!). The trick here, if you can, is to get them professionally framed – it might cost a couple of hundred dollars, but will elevate any piece to look gallery-worthy.

When it comes to hanging your wall, there’s a level of flexibility you need to have with rearranging pieces. Start with one large focal piece as an anchor, and then go from there. The flexibility comes when you add more pieces, or you might just want to move things around to give the room a refresh. Don’t forget, you can always patch and paint holes in the wall if you’re drilling, and sticky hooks are great for those who are renting or want to change things up a lot.

Gallery walls make a great impact in a room. Keep it interesting with different sizes, and cohesive with similar frame colours, and then you can do whatever you want from there! Even if your furniture is more neutral, a gallery wall can help bring personality, life and colour into a space. There are no hard and fast rules, just choose the art that you connect with.

Jono and Kerri-Ann Jones host a fabulous design podcast, House of Style, interviewing some of Australia’s greatest design talent (including our very of founder Lucy Feagins!) about their lives and careers. Keep up with Jono’s amazing styling work on Instagram

Shelley Banders at home in South Gippsland. Photo – Eve Wilson for The Design Files.

Shelley Banders’ stunning home overlooks rolling green hills in South Gippsland. Photo – Eve Wilson for The Design Files.

Shelley’s drop-sheet curtains are a revelation! Photo – Eve Wilson for The Design Files.

Shelley’s drop sheet curtains! Photo – Eve Wilson for The Design Files.

The DIY Curtains – Shelley Banders, Interior Designer

I pinched the idea for affordable canvas drop sheet curtains when I saw them pinned up in the exquisite home of Natasha Morgan in Spargo Creek.

If you have basic sewing skills they are straightforward to make, although I won’t lie – they are time-consuming! The difficult part lies in the fabric length and width calculations, but there are plenty of online resources to help guide you through this. (Generally, for a decent ‘gather’ in your curtains, you need fabric at least 2.5x the width of your windows…)

A few tips and tricks – I used Wagner drop sheets from Bunnings, IKEA heading tape and rings, and steel rods from Curtrax. Canvas drop sheets are a mid-heavy weight fabric, so keep this in mind when choosing your rod, I don’t recommend extendable rods as they can be flimsy.

Always go higher and wider than your windows for greater impact, and allow the fabric to touch the floor – no ankle biters !

**Note from TDF – we’ve also seen flat linen bed sheets used to make some amazing DIY curtains!

Take a tour of Shelley’s beautiful home in regional Victoria here and keep up with her on Instagram

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