Perfect spring projects

April 11, 2020

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Spring has always been the most popular time to get stuck into projects around the home and garden. This year is rather different for all of us… But perhaps you’re still feeling now is the ideal moment for a simple spring project. We have time to look at our spaces a lot more and the ‘to do’ list has an even bigger purpose as we’re spending much more time at home.

There’s something about the change in light, longer days and a freshness in the air which makes me want to shake things up around my home in spring. A total shift from the hunkering down, cosy days of winter, I always get struck with an urge to open up the windows and lighten up the space with a few little tweaks.

Low cost and not at all tricky to tackle, here are some simple changes you too can make this spring…

1. Give your outside the edge

If you’ve dusted off your outdoor furniture and feel it needs a spruce up, you’re in luck. There’s such a brilliant selection of water-resistant and UV-protected fabrics these days, which make perfect cushion covers. With amazing technical capabilities and a fantastic choice of patterns and designs you really can transform your outside space.

I particularly like the Pergola range, available at Kirkby Design – decorative outdoor weaves which are practical, durable and they look amazing. In fact, I’ve had customers who have loved the range so much they’ve chosen the fabrics for their indoor furniture. Don’t forget, eBay and Etsy too, who have amazing outdoor fabrics for superb prices.

Take for example these garden chairs I revamped for BBC1 Money for Nothing. Now these chairs would give any outside space some edge.

Old iron garden chairs

Repaired iron garden chairs in luminous green

Repaired iron garden chairs in luminous green

2. Style it up with some scatter cushions

If you’re bored with your furniture, scatter cushions are a great lower-cost option for an image change. For just a couple of metres of fabric you can give a living room or bedroom a completely new feel. Regular sized scatter cushions can look too uniform on a sofa or bed, so let’s not forget larger cushions, rectangle cushions or bolster cushions. They can really draw the eye into a room. Mix it up.

Antique Chesterfield sofa - Osmosis by Earthed William Clarke sofa fabric; Linwood Omega Neon velvet fabric cushions; Hooray cushion from Etsy seller House of Wonderland

Antique Chesterfield sofa – Osmosis by Earthed William Clarke sofa fabric; Linwood Omega Neon velvet fabric cushions; Hooray cushion from Etsy seller House of Wonderland.

“Shop with great small designers on Etsy or find vintage fabrics on eBay and contrast on the other side with offcuts from your upholsterer.”

The high street can be limited in terms of sizes and fabrics, but upholsterers will have a gazillion fabric options, and even affordable offcuts. Together you can come up with brilliant designs, be it contrast piping, neon zips, buttons or tassels. You name it, we can design and make it.

Shop with great small designers on Etsy or find vintage fabrics on eBay and contrast on the other side with offcuts from your upholsterer. Voila, you’ll bag yourself a whole array of beautiful new cushions, plus this means you can rotate them for a different look throughout the year.

Here are some of my favourite cushions I have in my home.

Mid-century sofa from Ebay, re-upholstered by me in Kirkby Cloud quilted velvet in colour Eden and Kobe Real velvet; scatter cushions - Timorous Beasties & Kobe Real velvet & Kirkby Design cloud velvet

Mid-century sofa from Ebay, re-upholstered by me in Kirkby Cloud quilted velvet in colour Eden and Kobe Real velvet; scatter cushions – Timorous Beasties & Kobe Real velvet & Kirkby Design cloud velvet.

3. Overhaul your headboard

Lots of beds have detachable headboards, but in my experience, they offer a limited choice of fabrics. When I was furnishing my home, I bought cheaper upholstered bed frames on eBay. Rather than spending on a pricey bed in colour options dictated by the retailer, it’s often more cost effective to just replace drab cotton or linen with something like a sumptuous velvet or a print. Trust me, you’ll end up with a far more expensive looking bed and a colour scheme you love.

Equally, placing a mix of scatter cushions and bolster cushions on your bed, plus adding a few well-chosen interior details and a selection of houseplants can pretty easily transform a bedroom into a beautiful, relaxing space.

Here is my guest room/dressing room bed that I re-upholstered using Arley House Lustre velvet. I love the glamorous feel this headboard gives my room.

Bed re-upholstered using Arley House Lustre Velvet; pink ribbed velvet cushions from La Redoute; leopard bolster from Etsy Teotushop; pleated pumpkin cushion from Ebay; black/gold 70’s string art cushion from Etsy May Rose Vintage

Bed re-upholstered using Arley House Lustre Velvet; pink ribbed velvet cushions from La Redoute; leopard bolster from Etsy Teotushop; pleated pumpkin cushion from Ebay; black/gold 70’s string art cushion from Etsy May Rose Vintage.

4. Rediscover your treasures

Look at other items in the home that maybe have been overlooked. You never know, with some paint and fabric they can very quickly become firm favourites.

Take these two projects that came through my workshop door: a vintage telephone table and a Lloyd loom laundry basket. Both items had been lying around for some time and looked initially quite unremarkable. But add some paint and some fabric and they quickly become not only useable but also striking pieces once again.

Old lloyd loom laundry basket

Lloyd loom laundry basket painted in green chalk satin paint from Homebase; striped fabric was an off-cut from a sample sale

Lloyd loom laundry basket painted in green chalk satin paint from Homebase; striped fabric was an off-cut from a sample sale

Lloyd loom laundry basket painted in green chalk satin paint from Homebase; striped fabric was an off-cut from a sample sale.

So go look in those sheds, lofts and garages and see what projects you have set aside in the hope you would revamp them. Now is their time.

Not confident enough to tackle the re-upholstery part? Paint your item and hand over to an upholsterer who will give it the finishing touch.

If you’ve got a spring project you’d like to talk about, please do drop me a line sharon@vintiqueupholstery.com or call 07764 182783. I would be delighted to chat through whatever you have in mind.

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