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Restore your spirits with junk shop joy; Interiors.

Byline: YVONNE JONES

RESTORING junk shop finds is both a money saver and immensely rewarding. A bit of elbow grease spent on sanding off the dirt of ages, a good polish or a lick of paint, and even the shabbiest item can sparkle again.

A do-it-yourself approach to style means that you can push the boat out creatively as well.

Consider turning an old wooden door into a headboard, or making shelving out of scaffolding planks.

Think about using familiar objects in unusual ways. Old ladders can be used in hallways for hanging scarves and hats, and in bathrooms as towel rails.

If you think of make-do-and-mend as away of getting a brand new item without spending any money you might find yourself newly inspired.

For example, dining tables with damaged legs can be cut down as coffee tables or remnants of vintage fabrics can be cobbled together to make cushions or framed as a piece of art.

Reinventing old things for a new purpose is also an opportunity to introduce some humour into your home.

Terracotta flower pots can be used to hold kitchen utensils, while an interestingly contorted piece of driftwood can make a great focal point in a room.

Don't worry if things don't match - uniform sets of things tend to look bland anyway, making your home look like a room set in a home store.

The Dulux Reinvent palette has a rich and earthy feel to it that makes a perfect backdrop to shabby chic.

The trick to creating a look that works is never to overdo the shabbiness. A natural wood floor that's clean and cared for will stand the test of time, looking mellow and welcoming but never down-at-heel.

Similarly, antiques may have their dents and war wounds but they never look tawdry.

Offset an eclectic look with some smart fabrics if you like - curtains are a focal point and if these are impeccable, it won't matter if the legs on your coffee table aren't entirely even, or if your Persian rug is frayed.

Another way to offset shabby chic is to choose a truly lustrous paint colour. Craig & Rose, who you can find on 01383 740011 or at www.craigandrose.com, has a highly indulgent colour range called Opulence.

The smooth, rich metallic finish of their gold paint is utterly decadent.

And if you want a retro look that's totally up-to-the-minute, then have a gander at Cath Kidston's fabric and wallpapers on www.cathkidston.com.

Kidston's popularity probably lies in part in her ability to be tongue in cheek, reworking country cottage styles with wit.

Her designs are also easy to live with.

She started out with a tiny shop in Holland Park and now she's a global brand, designing mobile phone covers for a major brand, and water bottles for Marie Curie Cancer Care.

Yet one of the lines that set her on the road to success was her brightly painted junk furniture.

Take a leaf out of her book. Who knows where it might end up?

COTTAGE STYLES WITH WIT:

1. You're never too young to appreciate Cath Kidston's shabby chic designs

2&3. Kidston has put her usual witty spin on the country cottage look

4. Craig & Rose's 'Opulence' range provides a glossy backdrop to junk shop jewels

Yvonne Jones is a Royal College of Art trained designer, and owner of Chameleon Interiors. Call 029 2037 1277 or visit www.chameleoninteriors.co.uk

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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:Mar 21, 2009
Words:579
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