Blessed with a brown thumb? If pot plants aren’t your friends, take the whole soil and watering thing out of the equation by literally bringing the outdoors inside in the form of beautiful foliage snipped, pruned or hacked from the garden. Asparagus fern is an invasive pest in some states, but trimmed and arranged in a gleaming jar or glass it is all feathery green elegance that will stay vibrant in water for a week or longer. Japanese maple cuttings are gorgeous in summer green or autumnal garb, and fruit-tree prunings from citrus or olive trees are kitchen-y and rustic. Try herb or nasturtium cuttings on a kitchen bench or window-sill, and fragrant lemon or apple blossom sprigs in the bathroom. It’s cheerful and really cheap.
Brush up your tilework
If a kitchen reno doesn’t feature in this year’s budget, and your current tiles are dating the room, hit the refresh button with a paint job. Invest in specialist tile primer and paint, or use two coats of wipe-clean high-gloss enamel after the primer. Carefully follow instructions for cleaning, degreasing and priming the tiles, before adding your life-changing top coat.