7 mins read

While winter might not be the best time to start thinking about an intrusive home renovation like installing new windows or knocking down walls, that doesn’t mean you have to put all your renovation plans on hold until Spring. There are still lots of things you can do within your house that will improve its functionality and its aesthetic appeal.

In this article we look at some our favourite interior design ideas and home renovations tips to give you some inspiration for makeovers you can do this winter, whatever your budget.

If you’re looking to minimise the amount you spend, focus first on the things you can do yourself. If you’re able to spend a bit more (or you’re less confident in you DIY skills) consider bringing in professionals to help you out.

Mirrors

Let’s start simple. Not technically remodeling, but can be just as effective: simply adding or changing the positioning of mirrors is a small change that can make a dramatic difference to the design of a room.

Used carefully, mirrors can make rooms feel lighter, brighter, and larger. However, it’s not as simple as just placing a mirror randomly in the room. There are a few things you’ll need to bear in mind if you want to get the best results.

First, think about where in your house is the best place for a mirror. The ideal spot usually combines aesthetics with functionality:

Some interior designer favourites include:

  • An entry or hallway - Entryways and halls are one of the most frequently used, and most often ignored spaces in many homes. Adding a mirror will make your house feel more open and welcoming for when guests come to visit. It’s functional too: perfect for last minute appearance checks before you head out.

  • Bathrooms - Mirrors are essential decor for a bathroom - particularly if it’s quite a small space, or has no natural light. Adding a mirror will allow you to maximise any light there is, and create the illusion that your bathroom is bigger than it really is.

  • Above a mantelpiece, usually in a dining or living room - Perhaps the least functional but most stylish option, is a mirror above a mantel piece. Hanging a mirror here can create a great focal point for a living room (and is usually nicer than having a tv as the main focus). As a general rule of thumb, try and place the mirror about 4 or 5 inches above the top of your mantel.

Once you’ve decided the best room for your mirror, it’s also important to consider lighting when choosing where exactly to place it.

  • You’ll get the most accurate reflection if you hang your mirror close to a window. So, if you’re looking to use the mirror regularly for applying makeup, or checking your appearance, it’s important to take this into account. If your mirror is more for decorative purposes, natural light matters less.

  • Try to avoid hanging a mirror near any exposed bulbs (for example near a decorative light fitting). The reflection from these sorts of fixtures can cause a glare that will be reflected throughout the room.

  • On the other hand, if you’re lucky enough to have a room with a south facing window, placing a mirror opposite the window will maximise the warm light.

Top Tip: Think about your mirror’s frame carefully. If you’re decorating a modern space, look for something that fits well with that contemporary style, such as a metal or a clean painted frame - you may even decide to go frameless. On the other hand, if your home features a lot of minimal or natural textures, search for something a bit more rustic like a wood or rattan.

‘Hardware’ Makeovers

Replacing door knobs, coat hooks, and cupboard handles might seem like a bit of a boring renovation, but the difference this little (and relatively inexpensive) change makes can be huge. And, in many cases, replacing handles and doorknobs only requires the correct screwdriver (or drill) and screws.

Depending on your personal style you could choose a style that you keep consistent throughout every room, creating a seamless and subtle decor theme for your home. Or, you might prefer a more eclectic approach. You could look for handles at vintage shops, or even try a DIY option, like leather pull handles (which are currently having a ‘moment’ in interior design circles). This easy change is the perfect way quickly to add some personality to old kitchen cabinets, a sideboard in the dining room, or a chest of drawers.

If you’re looking to take your hardware upgrade to the next level, we have a detailed guide on how to repaint cupboard doors here. Check it out.

Built-in furniture & storage

If you live in an old building, or rooms that are oddly shaped (eg. it has uneven walls, or sloping ceilings) built-in furniture or storage could be the ideal larger home renovation project for you to tackle over the winter months.

Tailor making fitted furniture to the space is a sophisticated way to make the most out of awkward spaces that can’t really be used for anything else. And, this renovation comes with the added bonus of extra storage.

If you have a particularly awkward space to work with, or you’re not that confident in your DIY skills, consider bringing in a specialist to create a bespoke design.

Fireplace

Is there anything that evokes cosy winter evenings, and British winters as much as a fireplace?

Many older British homes already have walls with holes in them where fireplaces that used to be. If you have one of these you can very easily install a new fireplace - usually for a few hundred pounds. Cast iron fireplaces can be purchased fairly affordably - grander, marble designs will cost a lot more.

If you don’t already have a hole for a fireplace, this renovation will require a larger budget and more time.

‘Do in a day’ DIY home design ideas

If you’re looking for inspiration for a quick design upgrade, try out one of these remodeling projects:

  • Wainscoting

Wainscoting is that architectural moulding you sometimes see on walls and doors to make them look like they have panels: imagine a vintage Parisian apartment, or a British country estate. It’s a classic decor statement, and when done properly can add a touch of sophistication to any space.

Traditionally you will see the wainscoting panels painted white and the wall above either a classic pastel, or luxurious, dark paint colour. However, wainscoting is also an opportunity to be bold with your colour combinations. Search Instagram and Pinterest for inspiration before you start.

Applying wainscoting is fairly simple to do yourself because you can often get it ready made at many homeware stores. It is then just a case of applying the panels in the style you’d like, and then painting over in the desired colours.

  • Headboard

Perhaps one of the easiest ways to spruce up a bedroom is by updating or installing a headboard. A headboard can both bring a room ‘together’ and make your bed look more expensive.

There are a number of easy ways to integrate a headboard into your space without it having to cost the earth. You can: pre-buy a headboard or DIY a headboard out of a variety of materials - there are tons of tutorials online for headboards made out of cloth, wood, tiles, and even old windows.

If you have a low budget, you can even draw a headboard directly onto your wall. Using paint and a stencil design can be an effective and attractive way to makeover your bedroom.

  • Kitchen splash back

Just as a headboard can makeover a bedroom, a splash back can instantly change the feel of a kitchen. Tiles or adhesive glass panels both offer durable, functional choices that can be easily personalised to your kitchen and design tastes.