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349 Hagley Road, Edgbaston,
Birmingham, B17 8DL

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Oh well, that’s it then . . .

I absolutely love Christmas!! Everything seems brighter, warmer and cosier. Houses are beautifully decorated and welcoming. Folks are full of the Christmas spirit – and not only the type that comes from a bottle! Then there’s New Year, and a feeling of hope and optimism, a feeling that things really are getting better, and there’s so much to look forward to. And then there’s . . . well not much really. A bit of an anticlimax. Twelfth night duly arrives, down come the decorations and the house looks barer than ever. It can even look a bit tatty. Perhaps it was like that before Christmas and we just didn’t notice. We’re all spent out, and dreading the arrival of the January credit card statement, so a major facelift is out of the question.

Well worry not; you don’t have to have the resources of a recently crowned X Factor winner to give your home a new lease of life. By the way, didn’t that Sam / Nicholas / Luke (delete as appropriate, as I’m writing this before the final – although I do so hope it was Sam) do well !!!

A little really can go a long way. Take the living room for example. If your walls are currently painted you’d be amazed at how much fresher the room will look if you just give them another coat of paint or two – even if it’s the same colour. But while you’re at it why not change the colour? It could either be a dramatic alteration, giving the room a complete change of direction, or an enhancement of your current colour, making the room feel warmer and cosier.

When it comes to paint colours, these days you truly are spoilt for choice. In recent years Little Greene have established themselves as a real brand leader. Using up to 40% more pigment than competitors, their colours have a magnificent depth to them, and are actually better priced than some of the so-called premium brands. It’s funny, but I’ve never come across a decorator who doesn’t rave about Little Greene, or a decorator who does rave about other manufacturers beginning with an F and a B. And as if their current colour range wasn’t comprehensive enough, they’ve recently launched another 28 colours under the not desperately inspiring but quite succinct title “Grey”. It’s a title that really doesn’t do it justice, as the colours range from soft chalky whites, through to rich, dark peaty browns and charcoal greys. My personal favourite has the splendid and evocative name “Toad”.

Mind you, if you feel like taking things a little further why not consider a wallpaper? I’ve been banging on a lot this year (sorry, that’s last year by the time you read this) about the wonderful selection of wallcoverings currently on the market, and with more to come in the next few weeks you’re bound to find something that floats your particular boat. Wallcovering manufacturers are definitely catching on that not everyone wants a feature wall, and that not every room can take a large pattern. There are a whole host of fabulous textures on offer, as well as some delightfully subtle prints. Mind you, if you do like to make a statement there are some truly mouth-watering papers to choose from.

There are of course many other ways to refresh your home without spending a fortune. The humble cushion is often overlooked, but can become a little hero when it comes to adding pizzazz. You may have found a fabulous fabric that you’d love to have as curtains but can’t stretch to right now. It only needs a couple of metres to make four scatter cushions to throw on the sofa or bed. Failing that, you can liven up your living room by adding scatter cushions in a vibrant plain or textured fabric, and teaming them up with co-ordinating accessories such as lamps or vases. Generally speaking the smaller the item, the more intense the colour can be without upsetting the balance of a room.

New bed linen can often do the trick in a bedroom, as can a change of bedside lamps, or even just lampshades. A tired carpet or a bare wood floor will almost certainly be enhanced by a rug, or possibly two. Nobilis have just added to their wonderful range of rugs that (surprisingly for Nobilis) don’t break the bank. They also do a lovely range of well priced furry throws that not only look great across the bottom of a bed, but are sooooo comfy to snuggle up in while watching TV on a winter’s night.

All of these are small changes that can make a big difference, so let’s get ourselves re-motivated, and give our homes a Happy New Year too.

John Biddell, John Charles Interiors

Live 24 7 magazine editorial - January 2014