Patricia Rodi’s renovation diary part 3: easy updates for 2024



Our renovations columnist shares her top tips to update your space for the new year, from quick fixes to bigger projects

Happy New Year friends! I’m writing this sitting next to the log burner, surrounded by candles and sheltering from the aftermath of yesterday’s storm which caused a power cut across the entire village. The set up might sound pretty cosy and, I must admit, hunkering down like this has its charms.

Earlier, whilst checking the house in a state of sheer panic post-storm (Would the roof be damaged? Would more repairs be needed?), I got a good look at everything that we still need to do to our home. A new year often includes a rethink of our home and evaluating our spaces: all the festive decorations are down and it’s the perfect time to consider a refresh for the year ahead.

Lighting a candle brings a cosy vibe to darker corners, even in the daytime


At the start of the new year I like to write theme lists and priority lists. For my theme list, I write a list of overarching themes I have for each month in the year. For me, it’s easier to focus on one theme at a time and put a little bit of extra energy into that particular aspect of life. Then, every month, I change the theme and focus. The hope is that by the time the year comes to an end, I feel more balanced and have actually taken on the things I wanted to do in a more structured way, be it work, family life or interiors. Funnily enough, the theme for March 2023 was “a new home?”, and we did end up buying one – some dreams do come true.

I have found priority lists really helpful, too. I’ll note down all the things I need to do in the house, listing tasks from green, to amber, to red and specifying if I can do it myself or if I’ll need professional help. This could cover anything from decluttering and organising, to adding colour, to sorting a rotten timber joist out (I’ll definitely need professional help with that last one…).


A list is also super helpful because it gives you a bit of perspective on what you can afford to spend a bit more money on, as well as the small changes you can make without spending a fortune. So, I thought I’d share my top tips for revamping your home without splashing too much cash.

Let’s start with the living room. Refreshing the living room for the new year doesn’t have to mean completely changing the layout of your space. My main hack is to simply switch up your coffee table decor, since these are typically a focal point in the centre of the room. I find a coffee table looks best when styled with items of different heights, for example a collection of coffee table books, a candle or two and some ornaments. I also love a wee bowl with some fruit in it, especially clementines with their leaves still attached. Below are some bowls I’m swooning over at the moment:

A black bowl sits on a sideboard with a silver plant pot and candlestick holders next to it
The Foy bowl in browned brass from Nordic Nest would make a lovely option for your coffee table
A textured ceramic stoneware bowl on a wooden countertop, with a matching plate behind it
The neutral tones in this Zara bowl would work well with lots of different colour schemes

Another very simple change you can make is to bring in some seasonal flowers. January and February are perfect times for beautiful blooms and I love buying a bunch of the same flowers (think mimosas, anemones and ranunculus) and dotting them around the house. The extra injection of colour helps brighten the dark winter days and gets us looking forward to spring.

My last idea for a cheap and cheerful change in your decor is to play with your lamps and light fittings. It might seem like a no brainer, but if you don’t want to buy something new, why not swap your existing lampshades around? Seems obvious, but I can’t believe I waited so long to try this – it can make a massive impact, and is totally free.

a lamp with a neutral pleated lampshade and a green base sits on a low table with book propped against it
If you are in the market for a new lampshade, I’m loving this one from H&M
a bunch of pink flowers in a patterned vase, sitting in a windowsill
Vibrant blooms bring life into your space, which is especially welcome on dark winter days


If you’re craving a bigger change, you might want to update a room with with new paint or wallpaper (I for one am determined to paper my hallway this year – sterile white walls be gone!). When it comes to paint, I think we’re going to see a combination of red and beige this year and I have my eye on ‘scarlet ‘n’ rust’ and ‘mink’ from Paint and Paper Library (see image below).

A kitchen with cabinets painted a deep red brown shade, marble counter tops and mink walls
Combining this deep red shade with a cool toned neutral looks so chic

If you’re not keen on painting a whole room red (and to be fair, I’m not sure I’m that bold either), try using colour on the trims and doors. This can be a very effective way to make an impactful change.

I’ll have to wrap it up there as my builder is shouting at me to come and make some interior decisions. Our bathroom renovation is now underway and, as always when working on an old house, we’ve had some surprises, such as having to replace all the rotten joists.

But more on that in the next column…


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