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Refresh Don't Reno!

Sustainable tips to salvage your current space without breaking the bank or dumping too much in the landfill!


We live in a world constantly nudging us to consume the latest trends and update our lives to be relevant. However, that isn’t always practical and certainly not very sustainable.

If you’re like me, a bit of change is a breath of fresh air and keeps us on our toes, so it’s hard not to update from time to time. And change is the only constant in life, so it’s natural that our homes change with us.

What better time for change than the start of a new year?

When it comes to interiors, change often means money and waste - as we bring in the new and purge the old. This year, we’d like to encourage you to refresh your home without renovating too much. We know it’s not always possible, but honoring the style and materials of your home can help keep costs down and reduce the carbon footprint of your home updates.

Here are our top tips for refreshing (rather than renovating) your home in 2022:

1. Update your soft furnishings

If you’re new to the world of interiors and decorating, when we say soft furnishings we mean rugs, throws, cushions/pillows, and maybe even your curtains.

Changing your soft furnishings every few years or with the seasons is one of the easiest and least harmful ways to keep your interior looking fresh.

If you go the seasonal route, you could collect 3-4 looks over time that really suit your style and your home. Then rotate the collections with the time of year or when you tire of the current one.

Rugs and curtains might be a bit harder to change and store away, but having a couple of options to swap out can update your visual aesthetic while also creating warmth in colder months.

The easiest update of all is new cushions, or pillows (depending what part of the world you’re from). Try to find cushion/pillow covers to rotate as you like, reusing the inner cushion. This is more sustainable and saves storage space!

Photo Source: @vr_interior_photography for NUA x DESIGN

2. Enhance your walls

Whether you simply want to paint a room or you’re looking for a statement design with painted shapes, patterns or panelling, updating your walls is an effective and affordable way to transform the look and feel of any room.

Photo Source: RachelKathleenHome

A fresh coat of paint is one of the easiest ways to transform a room. And if you’re into DIY, it’s quite cost effective for the high impact results.

If you REALLY have the DIY itch, consider being creative and going for a feature wall with decorative details or patterned designs. Don’t worry if you mess up - it’s just paint. Simply prime and fix your mistake.

If a lot of colour isn’t your vibe, or seems a bit daunting, opt for a partially painted wall. Be strategic about the height of your colour blocked section. Work with the furniture in the room and total height of the wall to determine the final measurement. Then pick your paint!

Photo Source: Havenly

If you’ve been following interior trends at all over the last year, you’ve definitely seen the wall panelling trend. It’s a lovely way to add warmth and depth to a space if you use a wood finish. It’s easy to install and a small section can take your design to the next level.

We’re fans of this look because it is so easy to customise to any space and comes in a variety of finishes. It’s also a great option for those who prefer a neutral palette.

Photo Source: NatureWallUK

3. Upcycle cabinets

If your kitchen or bathroom needs some work, it can be hard to avoid a proper renovation. However, if the structure is sound and you can live with the layout, consider simply giving your cabinets a facelift.

Photo Source: PLYKEA

Refinishing counter surfaces and faces of cabinets is less destructive to your home, your routine, and the environment.

Simple solutions include refinishing and refreshing the hardware.

Photo Source: PLYKEA

4. Change hardware

Speaking of hardware! Light switches, door knobs, and drawer/cabinet pulls are scattered all throughout your home. They’re small elements that can enhance or detract from your overall design scheme.

Photo Source: Etsy: Keyaira

When your space is feeling dull or in need of some more style, update your hardware! You can bring the overall design of your whole home together with small hardware elements, or use them to create unique statements in each room.

There are many independent brands and makers you can easily support as well. The ones pictured here are from Etsy.

Photo Source: Etsy: All Mold Supply

5. Rearrange

Sometimes you don’t need to change a single piece of furniture or bit of decor to change the feel and function of a room.

A simple layout change can sometimes make a room feel brand new, while also enhancing the functional use of the space.

Spend a Saturday afternoon trying a few different arrangements to see what you like best. If you get stuck, consider consulting a professional for fresh ideas.

Image Source: NUA x DESIGN

6. Changing light features

Lighting can be both functional and decorative. Statement light fixtures can serve as sculptural pieces of art in your home. If you lack distinctive style or art in your home, purchasing new light fixtures can add artistic elements and depth to your designs.

Photo Source: Tom Raffield

The beauty, form and shape of lighting can come from either the light bulb itself, the fixture, or unique pieces where the bulb is designed into the piece.

Whether your budget is large or small, updating lighting can make a big difference. Sometimes even just changing out a shade on a ceiling light or table lamp can breathe fresh style into your home.

Photo Source: Tom Raffield

Always remember to resell or donate your old decor. Your trash is someone else’s treasure or next upcycling project!


Looking for a bit of extra help to tackle your home refresh this year? We offer consultation calls for access to professional design advice & DIY assistance. Learn more here.


By Emily Eby

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