A Little Something from Nothing

You can create interesting displays in your home for next to nothing with a collection of found treasures, a dose of homemade, a few vintage finds and a little bit of time.

  • Use empty picture frames to create focal points and canvases as backdrops for your displays and have fun styling. Play around with the objects until you find something that works visually for you.
  • Empty picture frames are wonderful to create height to a display, paint them in a sympathetic colour.
  • Use colours in a similar tone to create unity and then add contrasting colours for visual impact.
  • Add shape and colour with flowers with bold sculptural forms.
  • Drop in bold, graphic colour with postcards or small prints.
  • Add an inexpensive new shade to a car boot sale standard lamp base as a unique alternative to buying a brand new version.
  • Old, wooden boxes make fabulous storage for things you want to hide.
  • Plant pots painted with blackboard paint means you can have fun with chalk numbers and messages.
  • Bright, exotic plants like this orchid, cheer up any corner.
  • Evoke a 1950s sculptural artwork feel with geometric objects. Use old balls in white, wood or black from games such as polo, billiards, boules.
  • Mix in other textures like metal, for some contrast and sheen.
  • Silver cotton reels add some shimmer and sparkle to the display and old clock faces gives some graphic shape.
  • An over-sized, spotty bow, tied to the back to the back of a chair adds a bit of fun.
  • Look out for old shop drawer units as they are difficult to find at reasonable prices but are great for storage.
  • Customise an Ikea chair by painting it a colour then add a little fabric skirt. This fabric is by St.Judes.
  • Natural finds like skulls or fallen branches found on walks can make displays more interesting.
  • Pile up old books with the pages facing forward, they give wonderful height and texture to a display.
  • Paint flowers with fluorescent paint to make an unusual centre point.
  • Group objects made from the same materials together, like these glass items.
  • Mix empty, vintage perfume bottles with your modern ones you use every day. Place them all on a tray to group together, like this vintage rose glass tray bought at a car boot sale.
  • Include contemporary glass vases to stop it feeling too old fashioned and pop a beautiful rose in.
  • Hang objects straight on the wall as a decorative detail. I love vintage keys, as you never quite know what they once opened. Most all the items above were discovered at car boot sales and flea markets.
  • Look out for old school chemistry equipment at car boot sales and junk shops to be used as vases.
  • Apothecary jars make interesting displays too; the lettering adds a graphic bold detail.
  • Hyacinth bulbs placed on top of glass vessels, make unusual floral experiments and make a change to the normal bulb vases.

Words and styling by Sania Pell.  Photographs by James Balston.

This article originally appeared Heart Home magazine.