When your house needs a refresh... here's some ideas

Summertime can be busy, especially when the kids get their school holidays. So now is a good time to do a bit of DIY around the house, says EIMEAR HUTCHINSON, who shares some ideas
When your house needs a refresh... here's some ideas

Plants are always a good way to add a bit of life to a room.

I SPENT the first few weeks of the year spring cleaning the house. It was a well-needed cleanse after the last two years of Covid and all the bits that built up like clothes and toys the girls had grown out of.

I find my energy and enthusiasm for house DIY and decorating ebbs and flows, so I couldn’t face another house project for ages after all the cleaning and sorting.

As the summer looms and I know I will have neither the peace nor quiet to do anything productive around the house once the four ladies are all off on holidays, I have had a burst of energy for a bit of a refresh.

I don’t want to spend much money on it as there are enough draws on our finances these days, so here are some of the simple and relatively cheap ways to breath a bit of new life into the house before the kids finish school and wreck the place for two months solid.


I absolutely adore plants and while the outdoors has sucked me into its web of pleasure lately, I am not ignoring all my (many!) house plants. I just love plants for the colour and texture they bring to a space.

This year, I have tried propagating plants because apparently it’s relatively easy and cheap way to create more foliage around the home. Monstera (or cheese plants) are probably the easiest to keep at home, I have had one about five years now and broken out two new plants from that one since, and you couldn’t kill it, even if you tried, believe me!


Our sitting room needed a bit of a revival so I changed the cushion covers and it made such a difference. The covers we had on were the ones that came with the couch so they just blended into the room. I bought some mustard and navy cushion covers in Dunnes and the pop of colour is just what the room needed.

Why not upcycle an old piece of furniture.
Why not upcycle an old piece of furniture.


I love upcycling furniture, I used to do it a lot back when we first moved into our house. We had been gifted and gathered furniture while we rented that needed a refresh when we moved into our current home. It is a brilliant way to make a tired piece of furniture look completely different, change the colour and the handles and it’ll feel like a completely new piece.


We have a lot of pictures and art on the walls and it is easy to leave it as is, but changing them out is a subtle but effective way to add new colour or interest to a wall.

There are so many Irish artists you can buy prints from now, so it is usually an inexpensive way of mixing things up. If you love the art you have but the frame is dull, paint the frame to give it a new lease of life.


A very simple way to refresh the kitchen is to swap out the cardboard packaging for glass jars that can in turn look well as countertop decor. I created a little coffee/tea nook in our kitchen the other day by simply adding coffee beans and tea bags to two glass jars, I stuck them in front of a plant beside the kettle and it’s done the double job of hiding a couple of appliance leads - very satisfying.

Candles can add a nice scent to a room.
Candles can add a nice scent to a room.


I adore candles and diffusers, there is nothing more lovely than walking past one and breathing in a beautiful smell. Be mindful if you have pets as some essential oils can be toxic to animals, and opt for candles made from natural ingredients like soya or beeswax around children. Avoid paraffin candles to be on the safe side. It is a great way to add some zen to a bedroom by infusing lavender, and I love citrus scents to leave the kitchen smelling fresh all day long.

Loud wallpaper can lift a room.
Loud wallpaper can lift a room.


I’m a big fan of wallpaper, although I admit I absolutely hate putting it up, so I like adding it in small sections. I have added some bold prints to the wall behind where we hang our coats and in the downstairs bathroom.

I love dark colours and loud designs but don’t have the courage or conviction to decorate the entire house in that way, so picking a small area to decorate with wallpaper is a great way to add something fun or crazy to a space!


This doesn’t work for everyone, but if you have a fabric covered headboard and a nail gun, reupholstering the headboard is a really simple DIY job and can completely change up a room. The Fabric Outlet in Douglas has a massive range of fabric so you are sure to find something to suit your style and budget.


The last suggestion is to paint a room, it’s not terribly expensive but I have to admit I think it’s hard work – I’ve been building myself up to repaint our dining room for the last four years but I am still searching for the energy to do it.

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