It’s January. In the Northern Hemisphere – for many of us, including me – it’s pretty much the crappiest month of the year. The weather is garbage, it’s cold, it’s bleak and you’re probably a bit strapped for cash after the excesses of the festive season. You’ve probably taken all your decorations down by now and the house feels seriously dull and empty. You wish you could flip a switch for a total makeover but, let’s not kid ourselves, that’s just not gonna happen (see: empty bank balance and low energy).
So I’m gonna let you in on a little secret. The thing is, it really doesn’t have to take a lot of money to give your home a bit of a refresh. When money is tight and you just want to crawl under the duvet and wait it out until Spring, these are my go-to’s to cheaply and quickly cheer up my house.
The Big Swap
I spoke about my method of swapping things from one room to another to lift a room in this post and honestly, it’s one of my favourite things to do. I do it constantly anyway but January seems as good a time as any to consider what accessories and small furniture might be best placed in another room. You change the context of a piece and I promise you’ll start to see it in a whole new light.
Clean and Conquer
Ughh this is such a drag, I know. But honestly, a clean home just makes everything feel so much better and brighter. Rope in the family and divide and conquer. Wayne and I can do our entire 3-bed 3-story house on a Saturday in about 2 1/2 hours including all the hoovering, tidying, beds made, litter trays changed, laundry sorted, bathroom and kitchen scrubbed and we’re sat in front of Netflix (or in the pub) by early afternoon. We divide up the chores and he’ll start on one floor when I start on the other. Block the time out on your calendar, get some tunes going, rope in the rest of the family to help and just do it. You know you’ll be happy when it’s done. You can check out how I tidy my house in 15 minutes flat here.
Go For Faux
I admit I lose some of my real plants every single year because it’s so dark and horrible. The lack of sunlight means at any one time, I have a number of plants in what I consider my ‘A&E’ – the kitchen windows – because it’s the only part of my house (southwest facing) that seems to get much light even when it’s pretty grim weather. It’s always around this time of year that I try to invest in a few good-looking faux plants or flowers. I can then stick them in dark areas of my house that don’t get a lot of light and they still give me that boho jungle vibe I’m craving all year round. Most of my faux plants are from Audenza.
In the spring when my plants come back to life, I’ll just combine them alongside the faux ones in groups. It’s difficult to tell the difference! Looking for more tips on working with fauxs? Check out my favourite way to make fauxs look more expensive here.
Cheap Art Prints
I’ve spoken of my love for art in so many forms but you can’t deny that sometimes you just don’t want to spend a lot of money even though a big bare blank wall is bringing you down. Consider a few of the less expensive mass-produced pieces. There are just so many on the market now but some of my favourites include Desenio, Poster Lounge, Olive et Oriel, and Society6.
Get cosy with texture
There’s just something so comforting about those textural accents in the winter time and so I love investing in a few inexpensive cushions at this time of year. I found these amazing and incredibly affordable boho-style accessories over at ASOS (you may have seen me sharing them on my Instagram Stories recently). Yes, apparently, ASOS is stepping very lightly into homewares now and although the pickings are slim, I was delighted by these. They are excellent quality and start at just £12.99 each. Click here for the black & white cushion | Click here for the beige tassel cushion | Click here for the boho basket
Add a dash of colour
While I’ve found myself being drawn more and more to a much lighter hand when it comes to colour (black, white and gold are my go-to neutrals these days), you can’t deny that a little punch of colour will make everything in winter just that bit less grey and grim. My kitchen is mostly neutral but I love the added colour that just a few accessories bring. The peachy pink biscuit tin (purchased last year from M&S in the sales) and the small bouquet of faux flowers gives this little corner such a little lift! These gorgeous ones from Hannah Halfpenny are pretty similar.
Make some candles
My new Tom Dixon candle mixed with an older Sara Millen candle pot that was spent – I simply refilled it with plain soy wax to create an unscented candle that still looks pretty and adds warmth and light!
This DIY remains one of my most popular posts of all time and making my own soy wax candles is something I do all the time, especially in the winter months. I’ve shared on multiple occasions how to do it on the blog (see the original post here, a video here and a Christmas version here) and most recently on my Instagram Stories (which proved to be a hit – I had more DMs on that one than I think I’ve ever had before!) but I find the whole process incredibly relaxing. It’s the perfect way to re-use all those pretty candles once they are spent and these days, I’m more likely to not use any fragrance at all (which, to be fair, makes them even cheaper).
The thing is, I enjoy having a few nice expensive candles in my home – I treated myself to that beautiful Tom Dixon candle in the sales – but I also like having multiple candles within one room. It just adds such a lovely cosy ambience in the evenings (and with the sun setting here just past 4 pm, the evenings are long) but I don’t want my fragranced candles to clash. So I will have one good-smelling candle going and then I’ll dot some un-fragranced candles that I made around the room just to add that bit of extra warmth and light.
So those are just some of the ways I get through the worst month of the year without spending a lot of money on my house! Any favourites of what I’ve shown here or things you do yourself to cheaply update your home? The comment box awaits!