Darren Palmer’s tips on giving your home a dramatic makeover on a budget

Darren Palmer’s tips on giving your home a dramatic makeover on a budget

Feel like making a change? Never fear – you can give your house a dramatic style makeover just by focussing on a few key elements.


Wallpaper is the new feature wall. Of course, you can treat wallpaper as a feature applied to one wall but you can also achieve great impact by wallpapering full rooms, especially small rooms like studies or powder rooms.

Think of wallpaper as the new feature wall. Photo: Alex Biggs



For the cost of the materials and an installer when required you can transform the colour, pattern, texture and mood of a room in a dramatic way. Prices range from under $100 to several hundred a roll and you need to consider the width and length of rolls to work out how many lengths or “drops” you can achieve from each.

As a rule of thumb, you can achieve four 2.4-metre drops from a standard 10-metre roll which, based on a standard 90-centimetre wide roll, would allow you to cover 3.6 metres of width. Your wallpaper supplier or installer can help you work out quantities if this leaves you a little bewildered.


There’s nothing quite like a dramatic feature light hanging above a staircase, dining table or kitchen bench but dramatic impact in lighting doesn’t end there.

There’s nothing quite like a dramatic feature light. Photo: Felix Forest



There is a huge array of great fittings, from step lights to spot lights, wall sconces and outdoor lights. You can achieve a huge amount of impact by replacing old lights with something more contemporary or fitting to your desired look and style.

A feature light is a sculptural piece as well as a light source and by highlighting or spotlighting artworks or architectural features you can add big dramatic impact to your rooms.

Window treatments

Whether you buy from a retailer like Freedom, Spotlight or Ikea, buy online from the likes of overstock.com or have them tailor made you can really transform a room by upgrading, replacing or installing new curtains.

Jennifer Hawkins home, styled by Darren Palmer. Photo: Felix Forest



The rules to remember are wall-to-wall and floor-to-ceiling. Don’t be tempted to simply cover the window or have curtains gather within the window frame This look is not only outdated but can come across as stingy as well as blocking out valuable views and light. The drama is found when drapery covers the wall, framing the window and you can achieve some interesting illusions should you have strangely-sized windows or openings that are oddly located.

You can create interesting illusions, too, with other types of window treatment, the vertical lines of curtains giving you visual height just like the horizontal lines of roman blinds, shutters or venetians giving you visual width. Roller blinds are functionally great and hugely popular but as they’re the most discrete of all treatments, if visual impact is your goal, put these at the end of your list.

Images and extract from HomeSpace by Darren Palmer (Murdoch Books, RRP $39.99). Photography by Felix Forest.

Originally published as: https://www.domain.com.au/news/darren-palmers-tips-on-giving-your-home-a-dramatic-makeover-on-a-budget-20170303-gucwt7/

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