Refresh Your Home, Refresh Yourself!

Bored of your furniture? Tired of seeing the same wooden wardrobes every day? Home décor guru Kirstie Allsopp has some fresh ideas…

Kirstie Allsopp – home finder, homemaker, designer and all-round loveable ‘girl next door’ – is one of the UK’s most prolific advisers on all things home-related.

For years we assumed the 50-year-old Hampstead-born presenter was an expert judging property from the outside, but her elevation to crafting queen in recent years – whilst adding in dynamic decor and fantastic furniture – adds just another layer of charm.

“I think if property itself interests you then you’ve got to, even to the smallest extent, have some kind of passion about what is placed on the inside too,” she laughs, “although I’m frequently aghast at some of the beautiful properties we see on Location, Location, Location that look horrendous once you get through the front door.”

Her sibling-like relationship with Phil Spencer on the hit Channel 4 property series is one of the enduring partnerships in modern factual entertainment. The pair spark off one another – they even quarrel like a married couple; her co-host occasionally disagreeing on the appeal of a suburban two-up two-down with a leaky roof.

A big fan of handmade crafts and DIY decor, Kirstie’s shows have included Homemade Home and Handmade Britain. One of her particular nuggets for those people who are looking to freshen up their homes without breaking the bank and spending out on new furniture is upcycling.

“The concept of upcycling has been around for yonks, but it has been given a fancy name, rebranded, and made to look cool recently. It’s all a reaction to people having to tighten the purse strings, and while the circumstances behind that aren’t anything to be pleased about, it’s great to see people revamping, repainting and reenergising old furniture.

“I’ve never liked wastage and often have a real sentimental attraction to possessions and even people sometimes,” she laughs, “so upcycling is a perfect route for reinvention that ensure we’re not just binning off old things that once were useful or cherished.”

Indeed, Kirstie, who looks forward to reviving her Handmade Festival in 2022 after a Covid-interrupted two years away, admits she treads a fine line between upcycling and buying new.

“I think there is so much value out there that sometimes you can get a new chest of drawers or wardrobe for the equivalent price of an extensive repolish. Yet there’s nothing to stop you buying new things and still giving them your own personal touch, and a lot of that comes from ideas and inspiration. And I must say, for all its faults, the internet has been just fantastic for that, so log on and get inspired!”