Ladder shelf loving

I have always loved how a room full of well-stocked bookshelves looks. There is something really cosy about a living room or study filled to the brim with books about all sorts of topics – travel, cook books, crafts, novels and true-life stories – and that have been bought from all sorts of different places, near and far. A lot of my books have been given as gifts, and a lot of them are either cook books or those full of ideas on thrifty home updates. These people don’t know me at all, clearly…

I love the use of the space here - and look how comfy it looks! (Image: Pinterest)

I love the use of the space here – and look how comfy it looks! (Image: Pinterest)

Stylish and functional (Image: Pinterest)

Stylish and functional (Image: Pinterest)

As well as functional, book shelves have got to look good too. There are so many different styles now available – high shelves, low units, thick, thin, geometric, cube shaped and even pyramid styles that make a real design statement, but all I really wanted was a set of lovely ladders. I have seen many blogs and Pinterest posts about reclaimed materials being used to create this look – which all work really well, but my choice came in the form of some gorgeous second-hand Marks & Spencer ones that I bagged for £40 on eBay. Given that these still retail at £129 in store, I am rather pleased with myself. We got the beech-veneer ones, which go well in the living room, but they also come in white, which would be nice in the bathroom.

Once positioned, they have become a home for my favourite books (ones that I flick through often when looking for recipes, upcycling ideas and general inspiration), as well as a host of graphic design books that belong to the Mr. The smaller top shelves have been adorned with lots of candles, photos and a few random knick knacks, including a piece of rock the Mr brought back after a recent cycling trip to the Lake District.

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Now, we still have a huge box of books in the spare room, which are yet to have a home. But seeing the ladders has inspired the Mr to build a larger set of his own for the dining room come office at the back of the house. I think I may be rubbing off on him after all…

Ways with wallpaper

Thought wallpaper was just for your walls? Think again. Inspired by my colleagues on Period Living magazine, who turned the office into a haberdashery of late, I decided to get my craft head on and revitalise some not-so-stylish items found around the house. Whether you have old books, disused hat boxes, photo frames that are a bit dated or even an art print that you don’t like any more, you can bring it back to life with a few bits of wallpaper. I was cheeky and made my way around B&Q getting plenty of samples, but you could use this as an opportunity to use up leftover rolls of wallpaper – or if you’re feeling nifty, you could opt for fabric samples instead.

Uses for wallpaper

I’ve built up a little collection of wallpaper samples for future projects

Uses for wallpaper

This box started life as a VERY glittery silver Christmas gift box – now it’s a stylish storage box, which will go lovely in the new living room scheme

Lampshade redesign

I turned a beige (boring) lampshade into a statement piece with scraps of this lovely blue and silver wallpaper

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While time consuming, I was very pleased with the finished results

Convinced that wallpapering everything is the way forward for savvy, purse-friendly interior makeovers, I was pleased to see that my friend Emily had also adopted the technique when decorating her son’s room. The papier mache letters look great and it is a simple concept with plenty of design impact. I will definitely be stealing this idea!

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Emily’s idea for alternative artwork works really well

UPDATE: I love this idea from Laura Ashley, and is definitely something I will try when I come to decorating my living room for Christmas.