Home craft: 5 ways to customise your interiors

Create your own unique home accessories with a little help from design and materials expert Marie Rouillon

Have you ever wished you knew how to put your personal stamp on a room, or wanted to know how to customise a gift that doesn’t quite suit your style? Here, designer Marie Rouillon shares her top tips on upcycling your accessories using ordinary household materials.

Light1. Experiment with paper

“Papier-mâché is perfect for giving old items a new lease of life. Gather up any old wrapping paper you have from Christmas and cut it into 2.5cm strips, then mix together 1 part flour with 2 parts cold water. Bring five parts of water to the boil in a saucepan and reduce the heat, then add your flour mixture and stir until it has the texture of glue. Let it cool for three minutes then coat your paper strips with glue and cover your chosen item – you could even use magazine or newspaper strips if you prefer.”

2. Make your own nightlight

“For a nightlight with an exotic twist, take a trinket box and use a pencil
to mark out Moroccan-inspired stars around the outside. Drill fine holes
at key points in your design and place LED candles inside: perfect for your bedside table or any dark corner.”

Old Tin Cans3. See plants differently

“Want to break away from ordinary plant pots? Try gathering old coloured tins and placing your plants in those instead: you can find gorgeous printed tins in world food shops, or even use the classic golden syrup tin for a retro look. Alternatively, pop your plants in vintage tea cups – a cluster of these in mismatched designs will look lovely on a windowsill.”

4. Rework a candelabra

“A candelabra is a classic piece, but if your home has a more modern feel, you might want to bring it up to date. One easy upcycling idea is to melt candlewax into the candleholders then push an old lightbulb into each while the wax is still warm. You can always remove them if you want to use it in the traditional way!”

Candelabra5. Flower frame

“An unused frame can make a great centrepiece for your table. Take the back off, remove the glass and lay the frame flat, then place a vase of flowers or a collection of candles in the middle: it’ll create more of a focus than the items alone. You could also try using frames with the backs removed as eclectic placemats.”

Tip of the week: To liven up plain pots or vases, get involved with some gold leaf: use masking tape to mark out a design – zigzags or stripes are easy for beginners – then delicately layer over the leaves with a paint brush.


Images from top: Jonathan Gooch/ GAP Interiors, stylist: Nikki Bradley; living4media / Interior Archive / White, Luke; living4media / EWAStock; living4media / Gallo Images Pty Ltd


Three key pieces

Brown_Antique_5_arm_Candelabra_200x210Gold Metal BowlBlack and Gold Trinket Box

Brown antique 5-arm candelabra, £20; Gold metal bowl, £8; Black & gold trinket box, £8