30 brilliant home design tips from the experts

  • Simple ways to transform a room
  • From renovation to inspiration and more
  • Phil Spencer recommends a focus on kitchens

Home improvement can be a rewarding experience but, for those of us whose DIY skills go no further than putting up a lopsided picture, it can also be super stressful.

To help you on your way, we spoke to some of the UK’s leading home experts to get their top tips. Read on for inspiring ideas and useful advice…


Home building and renovation

Drill boxes in a tower in an empty room

“Set aside a budget to solve basic repair and improvement jobs first, such as damp treatment, structural repairs and rewiring. Cosmetic finishes are fun but they can wait, or you’ll have to do them twice.”

Michael Holmes, Real Homes magazine

Make a list of the materials you need and try three or four outlets for prices. It's staggering how much you can save on materials.”

Mike Edwards, DIY Doctor

You need to be on top of your renovation like a pro. Draw up a timeline of what needs to be done and when, then make sure you stick to it.”

Maxine Brady, interior stylist


Interior design

Living room including a beige sofa and a lamp

“An easy, affordable way to update the home is to replace your curtains and cushion covers. Adding a pop of colour or a new funky pattern to a neutral room will work wonders.”

Alina Isaev, interior designer and fashion blogger

A wall with image cuttings and ideas stuck on

“Create a mood board so you have a reference you can return to again and again. That way you won’t lose sight of your intended goals.”

Kelly Berg, interior designer

“Don’t mind trends. Start with one thing you absolutely love – it doesn’t matter what; it could be a teapot or a painting. Then build your interior around that, using the colours in the piece.“

Anna Jacobs, interior designer

“A home should be autobiographical.”

Kevin McCloud, Grand Designs guru 

“Copper is definitively having a moment in interior design. Use it against a dark or grey wall. It’s got this feel of being a bit industrial but upmarket.”

Karine Candice Kong, home stylist

Different colour paint pots

“Painting is one of the simplest ways to instantly transform the ambience of a room.”

James White, DIY expert

Repainted drawers

“Drawers from an old broken desk in a junk shop are perfect for a wall display. You could put a mirror in one, cover another with blackboard paint for messages, and line the last with wine corks for an instant pin board.”

Ashlyn Gibson, interior designer

Table with hairpin legs surrounded by chairs

“Buy old furniture with hairpin legs and take the legs off and repurpose it. It’s usually cheaper than buying just the legs online.”

Jenni Radosevich, DIY expert

“Be careful with very cool blues in rooms that don’t get the sun. These shades can create a cold feeling, which is especially noticeable in winter.”


“Your home should reflect who you are on the outside and inside.”

Abigail Hern, interior designer


Eco home design

“Invest in wood-framed windows, which are more insulating than metal and standard UPVC frames.”

Celia Sawyer, Channel 4's Four Rooms

“Add timers to your lamps. It saves time and energy and makes your home much more welcoming to walk into.”

Chrissy, DIY blogger

“Cut your carbon footprint by buying your furniture and household accessories from your local re-use centre or charity shop.”

Kate Haines, eco expert

“Insulating your home and fitting draught excluders to your doors will save you money. Consider thermally lining your existing curtains, and add reflective foil to the back of your radiators to redirect heat back into the room.”

Wendy Graham, eco home designer and blogger


Adding value

A grey sofa in front of windows


“One way to add value to your home when selling is to maximise the feeling of space and light. Simplify your window treatments by replacing heavy curtains with fitted shutters, wood slat or flat fabric blinds.”

Julia Kendell,  BBC1’s DIY SOS and ITV’s Rebuild Our Home

“If you are only going to improve one room, make it the kitchen. This has now become the showpiece area of the home.”

Phil Spencer, Channel 4's Location, Location, Location


Making space

Shiny floor tiles

“Use large size and light coloured tiles on the floors of bathrooms and kitchens to make them appear less cluttered and more spacious.”

Atiq Ur-Rehman, founder of The Canvas Prints

“Shop for streamlined furniture with built-in storage and make use of the vertical space in your room by adding wall-mounted media units.”

Antonia Ludden, interior designer and blogger


Smart home technology

Hive thermostat

“I think there is still a misconception that smart homes are very geeky, technical or for the wealthy but it’s really about control and making people’s lives easier.”

Nina Bhatia, MD of Commercial & Connected Homes at British Gas

“Choose useful smart tech that fits into your everyday life and that will make your life smooth and efficient.”

Marie Schmidt, Bang & Olufsen



Floor tiles

“Before you buy, order some flooring samples and place them around the room. Then try to visualise how the finish complements the overall décor.”

Arianna Trapani, Heart Home magazine

“When deciding on wood flooring you need to come to terms with the two types of wood – solid and engineered – and make sure your choice of species comes from managed sources.”

Kelly Davies, interior designer

“Don’t underestimate the difference flooring makes. The cost of flooring is coming down all the time and a new stone floor can totally transform a tired kitchen.“

Jason Orme, Homebuilding & Renovating magazine



Colourful lamp shades

“Light, bright and airy colour palettes, shiny, reflective metal and even spotlights can help give the illusion of more space.”

Amanda Cottingham, interior designer and writer

Shiny lamp shade over a table

“Lampshades are like the shoes and handbags of the home: the right shoes can make an outfit.”

Nina Campbell, interior designer

LED tape lighting

LED tape lighting is a simple and effective way to add light to everything from stairs to shelving units, walls and artwork.”

Jo Hamilton, interior designer

A light-filled bathroom full of mirrors

“Mirrors amplify light. Place a large mirror opposite the window to reflect light around the room.”

Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen, BBC1's Changing Rooms



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