Experts give their opinion on how to get some flair into your home with ease

Brightly patterned rugs can give an enormous lift to a space. (Harlequin rug from €159, Casey's).

If the thought of picking up a paintbrush over the weekend is enough to send you back to bed with a mug of coffee, there are other, simpler ways to spruce up your living room this season, says Carol O’Callaghan

 

It’s spring, it’s the weekend, and time to get out the brushes to freshen paint work jaundiced by open fires, and give a little cosmetic surgery to chipped skirting boards and the aspiring artistry of crayon users.

Then again, if the thought of a painting project might force a retreat back to bed with a cup of coffee and the paper to have a rethink.

There are easier ways to add a touch of flair and refresh your interiors so your precious couple of days off aren’t eaten up by labour-intensive DIY projects, nor your spare cash dissipated by calling in the professionals.

Finding the right balance between function, style, and all-essential cosiness can seem difficult to achieve when decorating our homes. No matter how much we invest in good furniture, rooms can lack something at the finish and come nowhere close to the aspirational spaces we see on television.

Nicole McGee, of home interiors shop Interiosity, maintains it’s all about the finishing touches, not necessarily big-spend items, which remain fundamentally the same from year to year. But this year there’s a tweaking of how the five main finishing touches — textiles, artwork, accent furniture, mirrors, and flowers — are applied.

Large mirrors above the fireplace can be replaced by a grouping of smaller versions or a single feature mirror accessorised with a vase of fresh flowers on the mantelpiece (mirrors from €29, EZ Living).
Large mirrors above the fireplace can be replaced by a grouping of smaller versions or a single feature mirror accessorised with a vase of fresh flowers on the mantelpiece (mirrors from €29, EZ Living).

“Artwork is a big thing at the moment with a seasonality aspect to it,” says McGee. “Boating and beach scenes are replacing warmer themes and darker frames which are being put away until autumn again.”

She’s also a fan of hamman towels from Turkey which have a lightweight feel, delicate patterning, fringe detailing, and multi-function.

“They’re so versatile,” she says. “They can be used as towels in the bathroom but their size means they can be used as throws over sofas or at the end of a bed.”

Seasonal flowers mixed with greenery from the garden add texture and interest with ease at this time of year and can be changed regularly to refresh the look.

“If you’re anything like me,” says McGee, “and can’t keep a flower to save your life, faux flowers have come a long way and look very real. Keep them seasonal and simple.”

Changing cushions has always been the fall-back position for lifting a chair or even a whole room, something which Lisa Glennon, interior designer at EZ Living, approaches with on-trend, seasonal colour.

“Accessories make a room,” she says, “and it doesn’t cost too much and it shows your personality. Get three cushions, two in the same design and texture and one in a different design, but make sure they’re all the same colour.”

An accent chair in your favourite colour can lift a room and update an old sofa you might not want to change. Add a sidetable with accessories to refresh your scheme (Deco Swivel accent chair from €199, Casey’s).
An accent chair in your favourite colour can lift a room and update an old sofa you might not want to change. Add a sidetable with accessories to refresh your scheme (Deco Swivel accent chair from €199, Casey’s).

Practising what she preaches, she’s just bought three in lemon for her living room.

Rugs, she maintains, can bring an instant injection of colour and life. “Geometric pattern gives a luxurious feel to the room and modernises it without spending too much.”

For a bit more spend but not hugely expensive, she likes to introduce a side table. “It can make a massive difference,” she says, a view also held by Peter Curzon, merchandiser at Casey’s Furniture.

“If you have a chair standing in a corner and you don’t know what to do with it, add an interesting side table,” he says.

But if you really are tired of your three-piece suite and can’t afford to replace it, and even if you could, you wouldn’t want the same again, Curzon’s suggestion is to “keep the sofa if it’s in good condition and get rid of the chairs and buy an accent chair for a pop of colour”.

He’s also a fan of scrapping the large mirror above the fireplace in favour of a grouping of smaller mirrors, and he’s partial to throws and scatter cushions. “Try much more luxurious materials like a sheepskin throw draped over an arm of a leather sofa to make it look new, and have scatter cushions to match. This works really well if the sofa style is a bit dated and will give it a contemporary feel.

 Hamman Turkish towels are extra large and work just as beautifully as throws as they do in the bathroom (from €35, Interiosity).
Hamman Turkish towels are extra large and work just as beautifully as throws as they do in the bathroom (from €35, Interiosity).

“Add in a rug, something neutral on a wooden or tiled floor. Go for nice textures or a bright pattern like Aztec or harlequin prints which will look good in front of a sofa.

“Rugs and scatter cushions make a room more interesting and attractive, but don’t go shoving too much in that it looks cluttered and messy.”


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