Interiors on a budget: big style for small rooms

Fight the winter gloom with furniture in fashion colours at affordable prices and turn a bedsit into a big style statement

With winter drawing in, this is the perfect time to bring warm colours and cosiness to your living space. This season's catwalks offer a good starting point for finding patterns and hues, with tartan right on trend.

From Vivienne Westwood to Marc Jacobs, every designer worth their salt is incorporating plaid into clothing and accessories. And colours are hot: from ripe purples and spicy oranges to luscious limes.

Here's how we took up a restyling challenge at a one-room West End apartment. You, too, can get this look from the high street...

Plantation Rug Company mixes traditional weaves with looks inspired by fashion favourites and releases new collections each season. Its 100 per cent wool tartan range features electrifying bold stripes crossed with strong colour blocks, and proved ideal for our room (£150-£375;

Make sure the bed is comfortable but not too cumbersome. The Metz wooden bedstead (£159.99) and Poppy Pocket spring mattress (£369.99) from Dreams that we chose are good value ( The unfussy design is not too imposing and there is decent space for underbed storage. 

Make it extra soft and sumptuous with a Cotton Embrace duvet (from £45), easily washable Spundown pillows (£18 each) and bouncy Vitality pillows (£10 each) from The Fine Bedding Company ( 

Bed linen offers a cheap and cheerful way to alter the room frequently. We went for the Primark purple option — a bargain at £12 ( For something more detailed try John Lewis's Yoko range (from £50;


Clockwise from top left: Digetex’s OMG roller blind (£119;; purple stool, £7, from Tiger Stores (; coat tree in orange, £20 (; Estate Tweed cushion cover from ScotlandShop (£80;; button print cushion, £40 from Graduate Collection (

Scatter cushions on the bed and sofa. B&Q's Carpel chenille range (£9.98 each; comes in blueberry, green and ecru. Cotton Bobby cushions from Ragged Rose in lime and purple are trimmed with matching bobble pompoms (£20 each; 

Work in some animal prints. Sian Zeng's hedgehog cushions in pink and yellow (£60 each; are a good find. Central Saint Martins graduate Zeng is a celebrity favourite whose interiors are stocked in the Southbank Centre Shop and Anthropologie. 

It is worth browsing Graduate Collection, a website that works with exciting new designers from UK universities. The Fox Head cushions in mauve and grey (£45 each; are ideal. Also look for the Squirrel and Button options (£40 each). 

House of Fraser's Linea Mrs Squirrel and Mr Fox knitted cushions (£25; houseof or squirrel pillows from Are Aware (£28; are fun alternatives. For the tartan effect, buy ScotlandShop's Estate Tweed covers (£80;

Renters who aren't allowed to change the colour of their walls or hang pictures can change the shade and texture of curtains to create a completely different vibe. 

John Lewis's faux silk lined Eyelet curtains (£60-£90; feel sensual and are easy to fit. The cassis colour adds warmth. These well-priced drapes are also available in duck egg and mocha. For something more daring try Digetex's OMG or Talk Talk roller blinds (£119;

Go for low-budget lighting. The Vidja lamp (£16) in green and Klabb lilac lamp (£25) tie in well with this look (both from For bigger spaces try Not On the High Street's Tripod floor lamp with a neon shade (£190; 

Graham and Green's purple Jewel base (£85; or Ferruccio Laviani's Kartell Take table lamp (£64, also fit the bill. Shop around for more bargains such as Homebase's Colour Match touch lamps (£11.24) or Graham and Green's olive Mushroom lamp (£19.80;

Go for bold colours and avoid too much detail for a stronger look. Prints should serve a purpose. For example, the tartan style of the Gosford grape lamp shade we have used (£39.99; notonthe matches the rug, sofa and throws.


Purple, pretty, practical: Barker and Stonehouse’s two-seater Freya sofa (£499)

Flexibility is key for short-term living so keep the sofa plain, using cushions and accessories for different effects. Barker and Stonehouse, the largest independent furniture retailer in the UK, has a great selection of sofas. Browse its Battersea store for a range of looks from vintage to industrial. 

The Harborough two-seater subtly matches our tartan touches and is down from £1,429 to £999 in a special autumn offer. It has a handmade frame, solid oak feet and comes in a choice of finishes. If colour appeals, go for the Freya two-seater (£499;

It's not all about the decor, you need practical items, too, preferably with multiple uses. The Ingatorp table and two chairs (£170) can double up as desk and dining table. The Oltedal bedside table (£25) will age gracefully because of its real wood veneer. And the Malm chest of drawers in black-brown (£45) is a must. All at

Complete the makeover with the right accessories. Tiger Stores' great range of well-priced items includes the Stumtjener coat tree (£20), purple and orange floral bins (£7 each) and decorative letters (from £3; The tartan desk tidy (£48), photo frame (£25) and magazine holder (£29.50) in our makeover are from Organise jewellery and make-up with Ikea's Pallra boxes (£12 for four). 

Keep it seasonal with a natural cone garland (£22; and Linea hedgehog doorstop (£18; uk). A Shade Wilder has cool decor on its site and the Orbit circular mirror in mandarin (£150, suits our look.

Ragged Rose's green pouffe (£180, as before) adds a splash of colour. And for extra flower power choose the purple and champagne-coloured Dahlia (from £79) from The designer's handmade flowers are easily hung up on the wall using small eyelets in the back of the petals, and can be vacuum cleaned.

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