Restyle To Refresh

It’s the New Year and you want to give your space a fresh look.

Portrait of Tammy Strobel

It’s the New Year and you want to give your space a fresh look. Here are 20 quick ways to breathe new life to your interiors (no hacking required)


Paint is the easiest way to change a room and bring it up to date quickly. Contrary to popular belief, experts say that a small room looks best painted dark, as it blurs the boundaries, making the space feel infinite.

The key to nailing beautiful, resolved interiors that will stand the test of time is all in the details. And often, a calculated refresh can make all the difference, say experts, while saving you from the financial and emotional commitment needed for a renovation. Here are some tips to elevate and add value to your interiors.

THE POWER OF A RUG is not to be underestimated. It’s an easy, but powerful way to cosy up a place, says Caroline Chin Geyler, founder and principal stylist of Arete Culture. “It breaks the monotony of the flooring, provides soft padding underfoot, and adds texture and dynamism.”

GO BOLD with warm colours like red and orange for communal spaces, such as your dining room as these tend to incite feelings of passion and energy,” says Caroline. However, opt for a neutral colour palette (sand or taupe) or blues and greys in the bedroom to keep the space calm and tranquil.

CREATE AN ILLUSION of height by painting ceilings lighter than the walls They will make the room feel bigger than it really is.

ADD A MIRROR, says Caroline. “One simple trick is to position your mirror opposite a window so you can catch glimpses of the outside, indoors. Et voila … multiple layers of textural contrasts with one accessory.”

BALANCE THE LEVELS, so your space doesn’t feel bottom heavy. “Use pendant lights or chandeliers if you’re trying to increase visual height in your space,” says Caroline.

DRESS UP THE SPACE in your bathroom with beautiful towels. If you have the space, add some greenery with a fern or orchid that will thrive in a well-lit bathroom.

QUICK-FIX REFRESH – just change your cabinetry handles. You’d be surprised at how smart new kitchen handles can look on old or dated doors. They’re also easy to put on and remove!

QUALITY SPEAKS – invest in pieces that will last a lifetime. Replacing a major item in a living room is one of the best ways to give it an overhaul. “A sofa of good design and quality is a must-have for every home, as it is one of the focal points in the living room,” says Terence Neo, design director of Eightytwo.

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Sofa, $3,725, from Bo Concept.


Put the trinkets on your dresser or your favourite fragrances on pretty trays. This will give the space a sense of order and makes it instantly stylish.

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Above: Tray, $60, from Journey East. Below: Jewellery box, $98.80, from 3LittlePicks.

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Bedsheet set, from $218, from Sunday Bedding.


Bedlinen in white, greys and blues will create a calm effect – add some greenery to amp the tranquillity.


Try floor lamps instead of bedside lamps and mismatching bedside tables to create interest.

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Barometer floor lamp, $79, from IKEA.

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Olivia floor lamp, $99, from Hip Van.

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Flos by Michael Anastassiades, from Space.

TIP: Think about the mood you want to create when buying lighting. Try to avoid placement that creates unflattering shadows on people. Hang pendant lights so the bottom is 70 cm to 80 cm above your dining table.

FURNITURE & FUNCTIONALITY must work together in a space, says Terence. When buying furniture, look for pieces that offer storage as well. Sideboards, consoles and entertainment units are fabulous for hiding wires and cords.

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Aspen sideboard, $3,740, from King Living.

SIZE MATTERS, especially when it comes to rugs. Too small, it will look like an island, too large and it can make the room feel swamped. Rugs can also be clever tools to divide open-plan areas. “Make sure your area rug is big enough for your furniture, with a minimum breathing space of at least 15 cm around the border,” suggests Caroline.

CREATE THE MOOD, and “a simple scent can make a dramatic difference in how a home feels,” says Caroline. “Scented reeds or candles may seem like an unnecessary extravagance, but good design should engage all the senses.” Fresh, floral-based scents best complement the weather in Singapore.

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Above left: Cushion, $69, from Forty Two. Above right: Cushion, $95, from Bo Concept. Below: Cushion, $9.90, from IKEA.


When it comes to cushions, put quality over quantity. One amazing cushion is better than a slew of average ones.

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Bloomingvale vases, $79.90 (right); $22.80 (below), both from 3LittlePicks.


Leafy plants are easier to maintain, and can add drama in a setting, especially with statement flowerpots, says Terence.

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INJECT EMO with artworks and paintings, says Terence. But when hanging art, consider the scale: If the piece is large, use it to balance a large piece of furniture, but if it’s small it is best hung in a group.

TIP: Caroline’s simple mathematical sequence to get your artwork hung in the right spot:

1. Measure the height of your artwork. Divide this number by two (Measurement A).

2. Measure the distance between the top of the frame and the wire on the back of the frame (Measurement B).

3. Measure 147 centimetres on the wall from the floor (Measurement C).

4. Position of the nail = Measurement A + Measurement C - Measurement B”

THE RULE OF THREE is an important one to follow when accessorising a shelf, sideboard or coffee table. In order to create an attractive vignette, choose three pieces that have something in common. “The idea isn’t to clean out a space, but to create space for only the things you love to be displayed,” says Caroline.

INJECT EMO YOU NEED A HERO! AIM FOR VISUAL CALM by keeping as much stuff off the kitchen bench as possible. Also, always go for simple neutral-toned linen tea towels.