MASH UP

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

Irish Examiner - Property & Interiors - - Interiors -

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

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