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Twice as good: How to use everyday items in different ways

Photographer: Mark Roper | Stylist: Tamara Maynes | Author: Melissa Penfold

This feature appears in Homelife’s new magazine and has been reproduced in full with permission.

Who knew a bed sheet could double as a tablecloth or a tea towel could become a statement piece of art? It’s true! Take a fresh look at the everyday items in your house and discover wonderful new ways to repurpose and redesign your favourite spaces.

Image features Takahashi 170 dining chair in oak wood

Sheets ahead

Forget expensive tablecloths and napkins. Try hurling a pre-washed pure linen bedsheet over your table. You’ll be amazed how good it can look, and you can wash and iron it yourself (no expensive dry-cleaning required). Bed sheets make good napkins, too, although you (or a dressmaker) will have to take to them with a pair of scissors. They should measure at least 50cm square, nothing less, and be folded simply. Always choose pure cotton or linen — no composites or polyesters please; you don’t want guests getting an electric shock when they dab their lips. Seek out colours that contrast or coordinate with your tablecloth.

Image features Pampa Mariposa footstool

Table manners

An easy way to add freshness to a room is to replace old curtains with new ones. Before you start a frantic search online for fabric suppliers, scan the contents of your linen cupboard. Many of our most beautiful tablecloths rarely see the light of day, and these cotton and linen lovelies make fantastic curtains. It will be like putting your windows in pretty frocks. Oh, and there’s no need to sew on a curtain-rod pocket: simply attach curtain rings with clips to the top of each panel for a professional look without any hassle.

Touch of glass

Don’t underestimate the power of simplicity: sometimes a single flower in a classic glass can say it all. Anything from a glass jar to a jug, mug, tumbler, carafe, pitcher, low open bowl, goblet or teapot makes a good vessel for flowers (now you know what to do with that pot with the dribbly spout). Try two or three arrangements in a small space and watch their style value double. Flowers should be roughly one-and-a-half times the height of their vessel if the arrangement is tall and one-and-a-half times the width if it is low. Using an uneven number of blooms gives the best result: think a single stem or a few tendrils of greenery. Popped on a desk or side table, an arrangement of something natural, however humble, sends a message that you care about where you live.

Library in a cupboard

If your bookshelves are overflowing, an armoire makes an ideal library. Solve the book storage problem by stowing lanky volumes on their side, spines out and stacked attractively in the wide shelves. Cupboards of all descriptions invite books with their thick ledges. Use the different shelves to get your books in shape, by breaking them up with collections that relate to the volumes. A vase, decorative bust or trailing indoor plant is the perfect finishing touch.

Image features speckle container

Prints Charming

Framed linen tea towels are an inspired way to add personality to a blank wall. The best designs feature bold patterns or a single, eye-catching graphic image. For an on-trend touch, look for botanical and landscape themes featuring flowers, shells, butterflies, trees, blossoms, animals and birds. Iron them flat, stretch over a backing board and frame in pale or dark classic wooden mouldings. A single tea towel is usually large enough to hold its own, or group one together with smaller artworks to create an instant gallery.

Image features Chalk Braid floor rug 

Rugged up

Nothing anchors a bedroom like a bedhead — but you needn’t invest in a custom-made design or new bed to get the benefit. Think outside the box and hang a large round rug on the wall instead. Choose one with texture, in a natural hue that will work in with your colour scheme and bed linen. Unlike square or rectangular rugs, the curved shape here creates a feeling of space and air in the room.
To attach, bang a DynaBolt (sleeve anchor) into the wall and push the bed in firmly to secure the sides. It’s little touches like this that make it look like you’ve spent more money than you actually have and signal attitude, confidence and originality.

Images & content reproduced with permission via Homelife magazine
Photographer: Mark Roper | Stylist: Tamara Maynes | Author: Melissa Penfold


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