Home Improvement: How to make your Suffolk home stand out from the Ikea crowd

Ellen Widdup interiors - furnishing

Ellen Widdup interiors - furnishing - Credit: Archant

Since a certain Swedish furniture and homeware giant arrived on these shores almost 30 years ago we have been spoilt.

Ellen Widdup interiors - furnishing

Ellen Widdup interiors - furnishing - Credit: Archant

Now we can get stylish, cheap and decent quality furniture delivered to the door.

Ellen Widdup interiors - furnishing

Ellen Widdup interiors - furnishing - Credit: Archant

The simple, user-friendly manner of the goods are designed with modern living and the 21st Century home in mind.

Isn’t it just wonderful? Well, yes and no.

It is great that more people are able to experiment and express themselves through their interiors and furniture. But it is also getting a bit samey.


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Perhaps it is time for Britain to claim back its living rooms, kitchens and bedrooms and do something just a bit different?

Of course there will always be a place for the Billy bookcase and those lovely Swedish meatballs but here we look at ways you can mix it up a little.

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Spend, spend, spend

We have become used to re-designing at a cut-price and obviously this is great news for the purse strings.

But if you want to stand out from the crowd, if you want to have that one piece or design that has everyone chattering at dinner parties consider denting the bank balance.

Look at it this way, if you get the right piece it will stay with you and maybe even be handed down to your children and beyond.

In the long run it is cost-effective.

But the difficult and frightening thing about spending big is being sure you won’t change your mind. Not tomorrow, not in ten years, not ever.

Choose wisely

Jane Cappleman, of Bury St Edmunds-based Jane Cappleman Interior Design, believes the best spaces are used and lived in.

She said: “I am constantly looking for new ideas and new techniques to bring to my clients with the emphasis on the classic.

“It should be something that will last, work with the family, be used on a daily basis and not be too precious.

“After all it is pointless buying a beautiful sofa and covering it in plastic to protect it from wear and tear. You should enjoy those things you splash out on.”

If you want to pick something ostentatious and out of arms reach however, why not try a chandelier?

After all, it will form a nice focal point.

And never neglect to have mirrors – hang them in every room. They add light, space and a dash of glamour.

These certainly don’t need to be bog standard. Charity shops, junk yards and antique warehouses are bursting at the seams with things you can hang on the wall to make statement in the midst of the conformity of Ikea.

Evolution and revolution

If you have a central show piece in each of your most lived-in rooms you can evolve around it.

For example a classic, country kitchen oak table will be timeless – and you can add and subtract Nordic treats around it as your fancy and the fashion changes.

Jane added: “Great design is to create a space that not only looks great at the time but is able to evolve as time passes and you grow into the space.

“Designing a space that gets better over time instead of becoming dated and boring is always a challenge but using the best materials you can afford will help ensure the scheme looks good over time.

“Investing in a beautiful mirror or artwork can be a better focal point than a television - although my family would not agree.

“Lastly I look for something to put in the room which is just fabulous.

“It could be anything from your grandmother’s favourite chair or those designer wall lights you have always wanted or a vibrant rug.”

Be bold, be beautiful

Mix and match colours, whether on your walls or elsewhere, can make a room stand out.

But remember, sometimes picking the arrangement that is bang in fashion now will leave you looking very ‘last season’ within months.

Instead try matching up small accents which can be easily changed or go for something bold and daring that is different from what everyone else chooses.

Jane said: “I would choose statement colours that are not necessarily in fashion. If they are not in fashion they can’t go out of fashion.

“For example, I have always loved rich blues combined with orange. This scheme would sit very well with grey walls.

“Throw caution to the wind – have the confidence to know what colours you like and go with it.

“Listen to what other say of course, but remember you are living in the space so fill it with things you like.

“Don’t worry what other people might think. I find that if my clients go with the colours they like however bright or neutral they are less inclined to want to change them in the future.”

Small statements, big impact

Of course not everyone has a handful of cash to purchase a signature piece. But don’t worry.

There are plenty of small changes you can make that will scream “unique”.

“I love the outdoors,” Jane said. “I believe the joy of the changing seasons is something that should be incorporated into a space to give it all-year -round appeal.

“Having a fresh vase of flowers on the table, an open fire, lights and throws over the arm of the sofa are small touches to make things cosy, warm and seasonal.

“They also make a room feel lived in and loved.”

For more ideas visit www.janecappleman.co.uk

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