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DECOR ADVICE: Replacing the old with new

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Some items in your home have a limited life, so get rid of them when they are tired

Expert: Designer Lauren Liess from TV’s Best House on  the Block and author of Down to Earth: Laid Back Interiors for Modern Living

Q Decluttering is great, but some things you can’t just toss; you must get others to take their place. Can you mention some items that do need regular replacement, whether buying new or replacing with fresher ones, around the house?

A If something is looking shabby or worn, replacing the item will give your home a lift.

Bath towels

You might think towels last forever, but they don’t. I prefer white towels, but they last only a few years before they need freshening up as they turn kind of grey. I keep it simple by using all white for my bathrooms and black or grey towels for my dogs. This makes it easy to replace a few here and there, without having to change colours because they are no longer in stock.

Bed pillows

It’s easy to forget about your pillows, but they must be examined at least every other year, because they get flattened and stained, especially with children in the house. I usually buy replacements filled with down or synthetic down. Look at replacing stained pillow protectors as well.


Your doormat is the first welcome guests see when they arrive. A fresh mat is a good way to give your house some kerb appeal, even on a dreary day. Wet weather can give your mat a workout. I am a fan of natural coir mats and often use them at clients’ homes.

Hand Towels

I use linen and cotton tea towels in my kitchen and in my powder room. I keep a basket of them in my kitchen, usually solids or stripes in natural flax tones. I replace those in the powder room about once a week, taking them out of the dryer while slightly damp, folding them in thirds and smoothing them down. I periodically go through the basket and get rid of stained or worn ones.

House plants

This is the time of year you will notice some of your house plants hanging in by a thread. We get used to looking at them, but it’s a good idea to go to every room with a critical eye and get rid of the plants no longer looking their best.


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