Repurposing accessories or putting them into new locations can give your room a fresh look from season to season without the stress and labour of a redecorating project, writes Carol O’callaghan
AFEW weeks ago I began what’s now a regular restyling project at home for Instagram, prompted initially by thunder and lightninginduced insomnia which had me up at 3am. Until then, I had regularly shelved the job of restyling my sitting room bookcases. They’re nothing fancy, mind you, not virtuously handcrafted, or carrying posh shop credentials, but just a long run of basic Ikea Billy bookcases finished in white, on which sit books, framed photos and things which I could flatter myself by calling objets, but are more of the dust-gathering variety, than d’art.
One electrical storm later, with early summer dawn breaking, bringing with it perfect light, and my bookcases, along with sofa and coffee table (it was a long storm), were ostensibly different. And all because I moved bits and pieces around and added in items from other rooms.
Billy bookcases are now styled to within an inch of their inanimate lives, with clear vignettes of books and objects on each shelf, and deliberate pops of colour to pick up on hues in the cushions and throws placed around the room.
As for my poor overused sofa which I’d fallen out of love with, and regularly threaten to replace, it’s now invigorated by cushions previously consigned to the hot press and a furry throw from an obliging bed in the spare room.
At any other time over the last two years, I might have offered advice to give a restyling project like this a go on a wet and windy day when we’re all holed up inside — but any time when the sun is high in the sky and only mad dogs and Englishmen venture outside, is good too, since sunlight is an accessory in itself and can enhance a room.
Start with an amble around the house, gathering up trays, bowls, decorative objects, baskets, throws and cushions, especially things you’re fed up with, or which don’t seem to work where they are anymore. When seen in a new context they could just be what’s needed for your project.
If you haven’t got a run of bookcases, just
“Start with an amble around the house, gathering up trays, bowls, decorative objects, baskets, throws and cushions, especially things you’re fed up with
work with a sofa or armchair and a coffee table. The latter invites all sorts of possibilities, but a few disparate objects landed on top can shout cluttered jumble sale display, rather than chic styling.
Here, the remedy is the humble tray, currently lurking unused in a kitchen cupboard. Deploy it to corral your collection of objects so the arrangement looks deliberate. Include a smaller pot plant, or a vase with a garden sprig; add a book and a candlestick, and hey presto, you have the essential variety of materials, textures and heights. You’ll also find trays pretty handy when you want to make your footstool an extra table, when company comes round.
Just like trays, bowls can provide something beautiful to the eye while being useful, as do baskets, serving the same function by holding things but being especially useful for adding texture to your vignette.
Decorative objects which serve no purpose other than to look lovely and keep your duster in business, have a natural home on a bookcase by bringing interesting shape and