Interiors: You can be a quick change artist – on a tight budget

New year is traditionally a time for seeking new beginnings and new looks.

Long, dark nights confined at home are spent making wish lists that often include improving the look of the place.

But adding up the cost of your heart's desire can be depressing.

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A kitchen can cost upwards of 10,000, as can getting a carbon copy of the sitting room you saw in a glossy catalogue.

The solution to this decor dilemma is to refresh your rooms with quick, easy and inexpensive updates.

Sally Bendelow, Head of Home Design at M&S, has these tips:

n Glassware: Coloured glassware is a timeless way to brighten up the home. Go for clusters of various colours and shapes along a windowsill, for a stunning kaleidoscope of reflected colour in the home.

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n Patterned Plates: Give your classic white tableware a fresh update with the addition of some patterned china.

n Bring out the Beast: Get closer to nature with animal-inspired homeware, it's a classic British look. We've updated it for the spring with dogs, butterflies and gazelles.

n Cushions: These are by far the easiest way to update a room. Go for interesting textures and patterns.

You can also try:

n Wallpaper: There are some fabulous designs around and covering just one or two walls can totally transform a room. Graham and Brown,, have some interesting, reasonably-priced rolls, while Cole and Son have exquisite designs, but are more expensive,

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If you can't face re-papering then try framing the paper in cheap frames from Ikea – a set of three looks stunning on a neutral wall.

n Making Your Own.

A simple set of curtains are surprisingly easy to make, even for a novice, as are cushions.

John Lewis has a good selection of sewing machines and a fabulous selection of fabrics.

For cheaper fabrics try Dunelm and Ikea and, of course, the fabric stalls at your local market.

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For books on getting started with sewing, we like Cath Kidston's Sew! published by Quadrille.

Read it in a Book: Read books for inspiration.. We love A Girl's Guide to Decorating (it's for boys, too) by Abigail Ahern published by Quadrille. It's full of practical advice and new ideas.

Stick it Up: Stickers are excellent for updating walls and bathroom and kitchen tiles. Spin Collective,, has a good selection as does Yorkshire-based Wall Glamour, www.wall

Get a Handle: New handles can work wonders on internal doors and on kitchen cabinets.

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Paint your Furniture: It's an obvious idea but one that many daren't execute. A lick of paint can transform a boring bureaux or set of shelves into statement piece.

Find inexpensive brown furniture in charity shops, on eBay and in junk shops – perfect for a paint job. Look at the shape and usefulness.

The shabby chic look is creeping back into fashion, which is good news for those of us who aren't perfect painters.

New Flooring: If you can't afford a new carpet, try sanding and painting your floorboards and add rugs

for warmth.

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Art: Family photos can looks great clustered together on a wall in an eclectic mix of frames, as can postcards and pictures from glossy magazines.

Or make your own by framing fabric or painting an abstract. Look at Damien Hirst's Spot paintings for inspiration.

Lighting: A new centre light and lamps can add interest. B&Q, BHS and Ikea have a good selection, Radiance in Hebden Bridge has a fantastic collection of lighting by designer makers,, or try www.notonthe hightstreet.

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