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Make-do-and-mend is fit for a king

Make-do-and-mend

Make-do-and-mend

Prince Charles has revealed he’s a member of the make-do-and-mend generation and recently had his old bathroom curtains turned into cushions.

But it’s not just about saving money - crafting, recycling and hand-made personal touches can also result in a beautifully individual home.

While he didn’t personally carry out the transformation, our future king insists it is the principle of recycling and re-using household items which would otherwise be thrown away that matters.

“I hate throwing things away. I’m always trying to find ways of re-using things,” he says.

The universal appeal of a homespun interior - for palaces or more modest mansions - doesn’t surprise Joanna Simmons who, with interiors stylist Selina Lake, has put together essential guide Homespun Style.

“This is a look for those who believe that homes should be an expression of our tastes, travels and experiences, and it’s welcoming, warm and unpretentious,” she says.

“Best of all, homespun style throws out the interiors rule book and allows us to enjoy and experiment with colours, textiles and eye-catching displays.”

She believes its growing popularity is due in part to the current tough economic times.

“If you’ve bought an inexpensive junk store piece and turned it into something lovely with a pot of paint, you may wonder why you ever bought new flat-pack furniture at all,” she says.

Also, she points out, there’s probably something emotional behind our rediscovered love of craft, one of its key ingredients.

“Most of us watched our mothers or grandmothers knitting or sewing when we were little. We may have hand-made sweaters, or snuggled up under a blanket they had crocheted,” she says.

“People cared for their possessions in a time before the disposable throwaway culture we know today. It is this respect for our home and its ingredients that we are all reconnecting with now.

“The homespun look relies on home-made touches. So if you want to inject personality into your home, there’s no better way than with a piece that you’ve decorated, adapted or even made.

“Whether you’re sticking on a sequin or trimming a curtain, modern craft will make your home unique, bursting with colour, pattern and energy.”

Make a collection of materials, from fabric remnants to old rolls of wallpaper and unusual buttons. Keep them on display and they’ll provide inspiration and a decorative touch.

“Take things slowly and think about your scheme - while the homespun look is relaxed, it’s not chaotic. It takes a little planning,” says Simmons.

A mat can make a wall hanging and the humblest curtain can be cut to make a cover for a tired-out table, and will impress if it’s topped off with toughened glass.

Second-hand furniture is central to the homespun look, says Simmons.

“It’s both creative and inexpensive to customise a chair seat or paint a wooden table, and it will give your home unique personality,” she says.

“When collecting pieces, don’t limit yourself to furniture from one era or in one material. Mix painted wood with stripped wood. Team a squidgy old armchair with a Seventies sideboard.

“Play with scale too. A single dramatic piece of furniture can create more impact than lots of little pieces. Buy what you love, and that way you will never tire of it and can move your furniture from room to room, constantly reinventing your space.”

Most homespun living spaces focus purely on relaxation - they’re somewhere to chat, read or spend time on a hobby.

 

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