Life Home Style tips: how to lift your home without breaking the bank

Style tips: how to lift your home without breaking the bank

group artwork
Group your artwork for a big impact in your living space. Photo: Getty
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From paintings to rugs and plenty in between, updating your house or apartment doesn’t have to cost a fortune. We asked the experts how to improve liveability without breaking the bank, and we started with one of Australia’s highest-profile home stylists.

Sydney-based interiors stylist Megan Morton is called the “house whisperer” for good reason.

As one of Australia’s most sought-after and high-profile interior stylists, Megan has worked her “whispering magic” for magazines, celebrities, and her next-door neighbours.

Her work has appeared on the covers of Australian magazines Vogue Living, In Style and Inside Out and international glossies like Vanity Fair and Elle Decoration UK.

Here, she shares her tips on making the most of your living space, starting with something you already have – pictures, photos, posters or paintings.

Style tip #1: Group objects and pictures

group artwork
Catch the eye of visitors by grouping your artwork or photos. Photo: Getty

Paintings, posters, family photos or any kind of artwork which hangs on the wall can make a bigger impact if you place them around one another.

While they have a visual impact on their own, when grouped together they can become a design feature which draws the eye.

“Artwork, plates on a wall, or anything that isn’t an investment painting can be grouped together to make a statement,” Megan says.

“Most people put their best things on the main wall, but I love artwork in the kitchen and bathroom. Gorgeous vintage or oversized posters provide an instant lift. I also use artwork in the corners of the walls.”

Style tip #2: Rugs

tsar rug
A well-chosen rug can make a statement in any room. Image: Tsar

Tactile and artistic, functional and liveable, rugs can transform a room. The choice is seemingly endless.

“A custom-made rug doesn’t have to cost the earth,” says Shona Dunne design associate at Tsar Carpets.

Tsar specializes in high end, hand-tufted rugs made from pure wool. Rugs, based on the idea of minerals or quartz with a contemporary feel are incredibly popular among designers, says Shona.

“What’s driving our clients is the idea of colour change, the complexity and layering and the idea of a gradient change,” she says.

Tsar’s 2m x 3m pure wool rug in the aptly named Mineral Collection costs $3186. Expect to pay more for silk.

“If someone is renting, I would caution against getting too big a rug because it may not fit the next place.”

Our obsession with TV home renovation shows has fuelled “a renovation bug”, says Karen Hillcoat, proprietor of Domayne furniture retailer in Alexandria.

Seagrass rugs and hides are still on trend, she says. Domayne rugs start from $299.

Style tip #3: Floor lamps and mirrors

coco republic lamp
A floor lamp can add interest to an otherwise unused corner of a room. Image: Coco Republic

Lily Cumberland, senior interior designer at Coco Republic, says when designing a room, people always tend to focus on the major items like a sofa or dining table.

“But a floor lamp brings an added dimension, creating ambience and atmosphere.

“A lamp doesn’t take up too much room, it can dress up an awkward corner or brighten up a dark space. It can also be used in many different rooms.”

Lily adds that mirrors can provide the wow factor and also be used as art. For example, the iridescent mother of pearl frame on the Oly mirror is a real feature piece.

“Being transitional in style, it can work in with different styles of home,” Lily says. This shimmery piece melds elegantly with all sophisticated decor.

coco republic round mirror
A simple yet elegant mirror can completely change the tone of a room. Image: Coco Republic