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From gold ceilings to quirky up-cycling projects, here are the interior design ideas to keep you busy and smiling while staying safe at home.

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  • Winter is dark and dreary and lockdown 2 is upon us. You may want to hide under the duvet until it’s over, but don’t crawl away just yet - because there’s good news. 

    Unlike the first lockdown, not only are garden centres and DIY stores still open, but tradespeople, from builders and plumbers to electricians, are allowed to enter your home to undertake work, too. 

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    Now is the perfect time to get home improvements done and create a happy space where you’ll want to spend time, lockdown or not.

    Here are some cheap, easy ways to spruce up your home and boost your spirits at the same time.  

     
     
     
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    1. Bring forgotten corners to life

    If we’re going to spend more time than usual staring at the walls, then you may as well make them interesting to look at.

    We all have forgotten corners in our homes that we don’t quite know what to do with - but an awkward space can be completely revitalised with a little imagination. 

    Why not add some simple floating shelves for extra storage and visual interest or hang a mirror or two to reflect more light?

     
     
     
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    An unused alcove or area under the stairs is crying out to be transformed into a little oasis away from the hustle and bustle of a busy family home. 

    Or create a private reading nook by adding a comfy seat, a ledge for your cup of tea or glass of wine, and some shelves for books. A carpenter can help make a bespoke bench or seating area. 

    A mini-library or reading area can work in even the smallest of spaces, such as under the stairs, or over a window.

    2. Lighten up the atmosphere

    Being stuck indoors as the nights draw in is enough to make anyone feel downcast. Why not add sparkling accent lights to help you feel calm and happy at home? 

    Ambient lighting is a fool-proof way to make a space feel more inviting - and it’s not hard to create. 

    The key is to use ‘layers’ of light to invoke different moods. You can transform a room from office to cosy living room with the flick of a switch (or two). When work is done, turn off the task lighting and bright uplights and illuminate instead with cosy lamps and backlights. Simply plug in more lighting options (you can never have too many).

     
     
     
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    A post shared by John Cullen Lighting (@johncullenlighting) on

    For extra cosy lighting effects, add low lights to shelves or the cupboards. Check out architectural shelf lighting from John Cullen Lighting (above)- you can recreate the effects with cabinet lighting strips.

    During lockdown, there’s no need to shy away from jobs that need a little more work. An electrician can help you with installing those longed-for spotlights or dimmer switches or highlights (day rates for electricians from £130 per day).

    3. Get the niggly jobs done

    Who says lockdowns are boring? Now you can spend your lunch hour doing all those DIY repairs you’ve been putting off.

    Fix that creaky door, try a little DIY filling on those cracked walls, bleed your radiators, or have a go at resealing your bath. Just find a how-to video on Youtube and away you go.

    You’ll feel a great sense of achievement and save money on labour costs.  

    Many smaller niggly jobs can be done with a little bit of time and elbow grease. Magic sponges are great for getting rid of old scratches and crayon marks, while scuff marks on wooden floors can be dealt with lint-free cloths and steel wool.  

    It’s worth going through your home room by room and making a list of things that drive you crazy so that you can solve them.  

    If you’re always tripping over the laundry basket in the kitchen, now’s the time to move your washing machine somewhere else - the garage, or under the stairs, for example. 

    A plumber will charge anything from around £50 to £80 to install a washing machine if you already have the plumbing in place (more if you need plumbing installed). 

    4. Move the furniture around 

    Spending more time at home means adapting your indoor space to fit your needs, so move your furniture around to see what works. 

     
     
     
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    A post shared by HomeWreckers//Shannon Fish (@h0mewreckers) on

     
     
     
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    A post shared by Izzy Leonard (@nest_number_9) on

    Does that giant coffee table really need to live in the centre of your living room? If not, move it aside and embrace the space. Replacing it with a favourite rug like the owner did (above) will make it feel cosy, and you’ll create more room for your yoga Zoom classes, too.

    Decluttering can instantly change the energy of any room. If you’re feeling overwhelmed by ‘stuff’, be ruthless. Give away that cumbersome cabinet, evict your child’s ancient conker collection from the mantelpiece and put that old unwanted armchair on eBay. You’ll feel marvellous. 

    While you’re there, have a play with the positions of your wall hangings, artwork and photo displays. Whether you have a picture ledge or a gallery wall of hanging frames, a quick shake-up gives a whole new perspective and quickly breathes new life into a room.

    5. Bright colours can cheer you up

    Adding fresh colour to your living space is an easy and effective mood-booster, however dark it is outside. Now might be just the moment to be adventurous, with a splash of paint in an uplifting hue that you’ve never dared try before. 

    Cheer up a wall or two with vivid tones and rich, saturated hues: try calming deep blues, heart-pumping reds or joyful mustard yellows. 

    Introducing gentler colours such as dusky pinks, greens or creams can also be rejuvenating, particularly in rooms where you need to relax or focus on work.

     
     
     
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    A post shared by Glamohemian Girl ™ï¸Â (@bellybaila) on

    Colour isn’t just for walls though - doors, floors or a strikingly coloured ceiling can also create real impact. A gold ceiling adds a touch of class and a whole lot of happiness to a living space. Gold paint can be ordered from craigandrose.com from £7.20. 

     
     
     
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    Even a pop of well-placed colour can make a huge difference. Create a jolt of glee with something bright, like coral orange on panel edging. 

    6. Bring nature indoors during winter lockdown

    Hotfoot it to your garden centre pronto and pick up some house plants - the more the merrier. 

    Plants are natural air fresheners, they add interest, colour and shape, boost health and wellbeing, and improve mood and reduce stress levels. 

     
     
     
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    A post shared by House of Plant Lovers (HoPL) 🌿 (@houseofplantlovers) on

    You don't need to be Alan Titchmarsh to nurture your indoor greenery. With a bit of watering and lots of love, you’ll soon learn to tell your devil’s ivy from your spider plants. 

    Artwork with nature themes will also create that fuzzy glow. Try making a floral wall mural or hanging some beautiful foliage-filled wallpaper like this (below) from Osborne and Little - a lovely way to transform a room into a blissful sanctuary.

     
     
     
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    A post shared by Kate Watson-Smyth (@mad_about_the_house) on

    7. Inject the unexpected 

    Your home isn’t just a place to work and sleep. It’s vital to bring some fun into it. If you’re feeling a little flattened by your four walls, do something out of the ordinary, just for you, and you’ll instantly lift the mood of your home. 

    You might want to paint stripes in the hallway, add some luminous tiles in the bathroom, or upcycle an old chest of drawers with huge pink and green flowers like the below. Whatever takes your fancy, doing something unexpected can bring real joy.  

     
     
     
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    A post shared by Chloe Kempster 🌈 Maisies House (@maisieshouse) on

    If anything positive can come out of having to spend more time at home, it’s finding pleasure in discovering your own style and making the very best of what you’ve got.

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