What can you do with £1,000 to spend on your home?

Published on
31 August 2021

First time buyers are lucky to receive £1,000 cash back on selected mortgages from The Cumberland. So how would you spend a grand to make your new home beautiful, eye-catching and truly yours?

We asked some Cumbrian interior design experts for their tips.

Maureen Whitemore, Whitemore & Thwaytes Interiors

Maureen Whitemore of Whitemore & Thwaytes Interiors in Penrith, has 50 years of interior design experience under her belt and has exhibited around the world.

She has four gems of advice for Cumberland first time buyers with £1,000 in their pocket.

First, get a bed!

“A totally critical item to spend a decent amount of money on is a good quality bed,” says Maureen. “You can dress it up inexpensively with throws, cushions and bedding perhaps from TK Maxx or Dunelm, or better still make really individual ones from fabric remnants if you are handy with your sewing machine.

“If you are busy people and maybe doing up the house as well as working, you need a good night’s sleep. Try Sealy Beds or Feather and Springs, both North West companies.”

Unique art

Don’t follow the herd by buying from catalogues and online shops. Maureen says: “For £1,000 you can buy fantastic artwork that you will love forever from galleries such as Evan in Penrith or photographers such as Ben Bush.

“You will be able to buy three or four pieces that you will love for ever and which can easily move house with you.

“Another great source is local art club sales. Many of the pictures on sale may not be to your taste but you can often find something special for your walls.

“The Print exhibition at Rheged near Penrith is also a great source of fabulous limited-edition prints.”

Create light

Invest in a few table lamps. “Even with a house that is sparsely furnished the lighting plays such a critical part giving that cosy glow, making it feel more like home,” she says.


And finally, Maureen points out: “If you are a DIY person, you can buy a lot of paint for £1000!

“Invest in a decent quality paint and be bold with colour. It instantly changes a home to make it feel like yours.”

Whatever you do, make thoughtful choices and go for quality – you will prevent waste and be more eco-friendly.

Maureen says: “My advice is always to do without rather than waste money on lots of cheap items which will have to be replaced.

“Buy the minimum you need and add quality as you can afford it. Plan carefully rather than buy ad hoc items which you may regret.”

Ursh Stevens, Rockit Home

Ursh Stevens runs Rockit Home in Carlisle – providing mixology for houses. She specialises in furniture and home accessories, including handmade wood and metal industrial inspired pieces.

Be brave

Don’t be afraid, just jump in! That’s Ursh’s message for buyers looking around their new house and wondering where to start.

“A lot of people are scared of colour or scared that they will make a mistake. But just go with what you feel. Everything can be restyled,” says Ursh.

“I would focus first on downstairs, such as the living room, because that’s what will wow everybody, and it is where you are going to spend most of your time.

“Don’t be afraid of bright colour. Personally, I like dark colours on the walls and then I add vibrancy, colour and texture through accessories like lamp shades, curtains and pictures, with different mediums such as wood, wool and cotton.

“Colours like dark blue and anthracite can work very well.

“I have a theory that you tend to lean towards particular colours depending on what season you like. My favourite seasons are autumn and winter – I like the dark moody colours and then add pinks and greens and golds. So, think about the seasons and then your colours.”

Make a statement

Or consider splurging your money on a statement piece – it can transform a room, says Ursh.

“Statement lamps always work – standard, tall lamps are perfect. It has to be something that, when you walk into the room it draws your eye to it.”

And she adds: “The key thing when you decorate your first home is to buy the best you can afford.

“Don’t buy cheap furniture because it doesn’t last. Some outlets charge a fortune but the quality isn’t great – the wood might be laminate for example. Choose good solid furniture. The pieces we make are heirlooms of the future.”

Ursh will be launching the Rockit Home interior design service soon.

Anne Sowerby, Sassy Property Styling

Sustainability is the guiding principle for 2020, says Anne Sowerby.

Anne is the property styling and interior design specialist behind Sassy Property Styling in Plumbland.

“The key to 2020 is the sustainable movement which is growing in popularity as it helps your pocket as well as the environment,” says Anne.

Repurpose and customise

“This will be a year of customising by repainting or repurposing items such as a coffee or dining table, and chairs.

“You might use a bit of leftover fabric to customise a piece, or half a tin of paint to, say, decorate a feature wall or an archway in your home.”

New homeowners can make their £1,000 go much further by looking for quality and not being afraid of bold styling, says Anne.

“The Little Greene Paint Company have some wonderful new wallpapers out in January.

“I love the one called Brodsworth Empress. It is very ornate with flowers and birds and is based on 18th century French textiles and furnishings.

“It’s interesting to take old beautiful design and prints and reuse them in more modern places.

“Feature walls are probably a bit dated; but you could buy some nice quality wallpaper like this to decorate a downstairs loo or small bathroom.”

Two important purchases

When it comes to a special piece which can transform your room, Anne says there are two.

“There are two purchases which I think can really make an impact. One is a really nice table lamp. There is a mustard coloured one from B&M for £8.99 which I used recently in a house and it looks a million dollars.

“The other buy is a good quality rug. A table in the middle of your room, with a rug, really gives a room depth.

“There are some very good rugs from Asiatics London. Look out for rugs which are at least 60 per cent wool, especially if you have an open fire or a stove, as they are better quality and they don’t burn as easily.

“Also look out for pieces by Hills Interiors, in local interior shops. I selected an emerald velvet chair for a client recently – they produce a really nice range.“If you don’t have loads of money a bold statement and some upcycling will help you create a fresh look.”