From uplifting plants to colourful wall art, how to update your home

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No matter the weather outside, with these homewares pieces, you can ensure it’s always summer on the inside: The Independent/iStock The British summertime is notoriously unreliable, with downpours a regular occurrence followed by three days of heatwave before back to being breezy and feeling more autumnal. But that doesn’t mean […]

No matter the weather outside, with these homewares pieces, you can ensure it's always summer on the inside: The Independent/iStock
No matter the weather outside, with these homewares pieces, you can ensure it’s always summer on the inside: The Independent/iStock

The British summertime is notoriously unreliable, with downpours a regular occurrence followed by three days of heatwave before back to being breezy and feeling more autumnal.

But that doesn’t mean you can’t bring the sunshine inside by way of some clever homewares.

If you’re not having a summer holiday abroad either, it’s also the perfect opportunity to reminisce by finally getting round to printing pictures and framing them, so you can enjoy them every time you walk in a room.

From colourful cushions to uplifting plants, a few tweaks here and there can make a big difference, and you don’t always need to spend a fortune either.

In our edit to updating your interiors for the summertime, we’ve picked fun, playful and timeless pieces that you can use all year long and work with your existing furniture.

Up ahead are our favourite pieces to celebrate summer.

You can trust our independent round-ups. We may earn commission from some of the retailers, but we never allow this to influence selections. This revenue helps us to fund journalism across The Independent.

Wall art

Upgrade blank walls with a simple piece of artwork, such as this Into the blue Vanderohe x Alice Shirley print (£100, Vanderohe) that will transport you back to tropical beaches and blue waters.

This vibrant print reminds of beach walks and summer holidays (Vanderohe)
This vibrant print reminds of beach walks and summer holidays (Vanderohe)

Each purchase is raising money for Marine Savers, a coral reef propagation program to encourage us to keep our oceans clean and every sale sponsors a small coral frame.

If like us, you’re yearning to have your feet in the sand somewhere sunny, then this beach steps art print (Iamfy, £16) will make you feel like you’re right there, even if you are just on your sofa.

If you can't get to a beach, this wall print is the next best thing (Iamfy)
If you can’t get to a beach, this wall print is the next best thing (Iamfy)

Whether you’ve cancelled holiday plans or are just tired of being cooped up for so long in lockdown, this print will instantly lift your mood.

Self-adhesive wall coverings are an easy way to inject colour, prints and personality, especially if you’re renting and can’t paint, or are growing frustrated looking at the same four walls.

Self-adhesive wallpaper is a simple way to make a big change (Dunelm)
Self-adhesive wallpaper is a simple way to make a big change (Dunelm)

This NuWallpaper maui green self adhesive wallpaper (Dunelm, £24) is also ideal if you’re limited on space, despite your dreams for an indoor plant wonderland and Dunelms affordable peel and stick collection allows you to quickly update a wall without damaging existing paint.

Soft furnishings

Switching up textures, fabrics and colours can totally transform a room without being too costly.

In your bathroom, consider a new bath mat as that’s always on show and can be both practical and pretty.

Try this Esprit Flair bath mat in pink (The Rug seller, from £39) which looked like a real quality carpet and felt suitably luxurious underfoot according to our reviewer.

A plush, soft bathmat is an easy update to a bathroom (The Rug Seller)
A plush, soft bathmat is an easy update to a bathroom (The Rug Seller)

“We loved the juxtaposition of the soft pink and the sharp, geometric design. It’s available in a choice of three sizes and comes complete with a reassuring anti-slip rubber backing.”

For a storage solution, we’d recommend this Adenta medium pink, orange and black floor storage basket (The Basket Room, £105).

Using a dedicated storage space such as this bright basket is one way of adding colour (The Basket Room)
Using a dedicated storage space such as this bright basket is one way of adding colour (The Basket Room)

Made from ethically-sourced veta vera grass, this colourful piece is hand-rolled by a cooperative of weaving artisans in Northern Ghana.

A well-chosen rug can add colour and character to your space, while also cleverly concealing worn floors and accidental stains.

In our guide to best wool rugs, we loved this Oyoy Living hip rug runner, multi, 200 x 75cm (Oyoy £114.99).

One for smaller spaces, this is a versatile modern rug with big impact (Oyoy)
One for smaller spaces, this is a versatile modern rug with big impact (Oyoy)

The contemporary style is made from 80 per cent wool with the 20 per cent cotton, making it a durable option and the palette of warm, earthy tones will make your space feel extra homely but not stuffy.

A strategically placed mirror gives the illusions of a bigger space, so if you’re feeling cramped in your flat, hang up this orangerie gold metal mirror (Maisons Du Monde, £55).

Stylish and functional, this mirror will immediately make a room feel more spacious (Maisons Du Monde)
Stylish and functional, this mirror will immediately make a room feel more spacious (Maisons Du Monde)

The gold detailing adds a luxury feel without minimising the actual mirror too much and it will bring your walls to life.

Plants and flowers

Bring the outside in with luscious greenery that will both add colour and lift spirits.

According to The Royal Horticultural Society, house plants have the ability to improve your mood, reduce stress and increase productivity. Even taking a few minutes to care for them can be calming.

Opt for low-maintenance plants too to minimise any risk of accidentally killing them. For a minimal effort style that still looks good, pick up this Chinese money plant (Patch Plants, from £14).

Indoor plants have proven psychological benefits and this budget-friendly style is low-maintenance too (Patch Plants)
Indoor plants have proven psychological benefits and this budget-friendly style is low-maintenance too (Patch Plants)

It has lush green leaves and only needs watering when the soil is totally dry.

Before you buy a big bouquet of fresh blooms, consider purchasing dried flowers instead. They’re environmentally friendly, have a long shelf and biodegrade. Not to mention, they’re easy to care for, just keep them out of direct sunlight and don’t put them in water.

From self-indulgent pastel bouquets to the perfect gift for a new homeowner, dried flower bunches are often bursting with colour and will brighten up any room you decorate them in.

Try the shida preserved flowers Loulou (shinda, £35) which impressed us in our IndyBest review of dried flowers.

If you love flowers but want a bouquet that long-lasting and recquires almost not maintenance, buy a faux bunch (shida)
If you love flowers but want a bouquet that long-lasting and recquires almost not maintenance, buy a faux bunch (shida)

We recommend the loulou if you favour natural textures and neutral tones. It’s packed with eucalyptus, gypsophila, pale pink rice flower, pampas grass and the newly added poppy seed heads.

Tap into the terrazzo trend too with a colourful plant pot to display your new foliage.

We love this terrazzo Cancun dip (Botanee, £28), adorned with summer shades of sky blue and mustard yellow in the 165mm x 210mm pot.

Becasue of the nature of making terrazzo, each pot it unique (Botanee)
Becasue of the nature of making terrazzo, each pot it unique (Botanee)

Even if you have no plants to fill it with, it’s still a statement piece on its own.

Books

Interior design books can provide helpful guidance to renovating, no matter how big or small your project is.

One we were impressed with was Home sweet rented home: Transform your home without losing your deposit by Medina Grillo (Foyles, £15).

This compact hardback is written by an acclaimed interiors blogger (Foyles)
This compact hardback is written by an acclaimed interiors blogger (Foyles)

We found it full of practical projects and advice to make our rented space really feel like home – while protecting our security deposit, of course.

“From inspirational landlord-friendly gallery walls to ingenious floor transformations with wallpaper, Grillo explores every conceivable way to up the homely when you’re not a homeowner,” said our reviewer.

However, if you’re making a conscious effort to make more sustainable choices with your homewares, pick up a copy of Sustainable Home: Practical projects, tips and advice for maintaining a more eco-friendly household by Christine Liu (Waterstones, £18).

Small steps to being more sustainable at home all make a difference (Waterstones)
Small steps to being more sustainable at home all make a difference (Waterstones)

It includes tips from crafting your own wooden planter to experimenting with DIY essential oil room sprays.

Our reviewers described it as “a hands-on guide to low impact living, and one to dip into time and time again.

Read more

How to re-vamp your working from home set-up

11 best house plants that will boost your mood and space

12 best homewares for renters: Put your own removable stamp on it

Working from home: How to keep your space clean

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