Stand out from the crowd

I didn’t expect that! How to make your home interior stand out from the crowd

I may be late to the party but I’ve just discovered a new TV show on BBC Player called Best House in Town, after a couple of homes we’ve visited were featured in the York episode.

It’s the ideal programme for people who love a good old snoop around people’s homes (ie me!) and you don’t have to spend a whole hour following the ‘rollercoaster journey’ of the owners (I’ve been known to skip to the big reveal at the end with some property shows).

In each area you get to see four homes and a wildcard for each property category, such as semis, terraces, apartments, etc, – so it’s essentially a nosy parker’s paradise.

One of the criteria the judges were looking for was an element that surprises you – something that makes a home stand out from the crowd. It doesn’t have to be wacky, crazy or bizarre, but it does need to be memorable.

So it got me thinking about the most memorable aspects of the homes we’ve visited over the years. There are so many to chose from – and I’ve already outlined some of my favourites here but here are seven more ideas to steal if you’re keen to take your decor to the next level and make a big statement.

1 - Cinema seats - Stand out from the crowd - Home Interiors

1. Cinema seats

Severine Rutherford’s Georgian terrace in Fenham, Newcastle was an absolute cracker and what really took it to the next level was the reclaimed cinema seats from McCartney’s Yard in Hebburn in the front room. There’s also a repurposed cable drum and old photos of the neighbourhood passed on by the previous owner.

Severine’s entire home was filled with gorgeous vintage finds from French Brocantes, as well as second hand treasures from closer to home.

Best Buys

2. Upcycled bathroom cabinet

No-one else has a cabinet quite like Nicola Daly’s. It definitely draws the eye in her en suite bathroom, which still has the original Victorian bathroom suite. Nicola has painted the top half of the walls in Dulux Sapphire Salute and added new geometric vinyl flooring from Best4flooring  to give the room a whole new look.

As she’s obsessed with old school glamorous icons, the cabinet features images of Marilyn Monroe and Audrey Hepburn ordered from Amazon along with hairpin legs. The Octopus candle holder is from Arthur Lee Interiors.

Nicola has one of the coolest jobs around, working for Warner Brothers creating artwork for computer games, but she also has a side hustle upcycling second hand furniture. So if you fancy something similar, head over to Chirpy Kitsch.

For more bathroom ideas click here.

2 - Upcycled bathroom cabinet - Stand out from the crowd - Home Interiors
3 - Barn door headboard - Stand out from the crowd - Home Interiors

3. Barn door headboard

You might not be lucky enough to live in an 17th Century mill house like Laura Stubbs, but you can add a bit of rustic charm to your bedroom by copying her headboard fashioned from a reclaimed barn door.

It really stands out against the feature wall painted in Hague Blue by Farrow & Ball. She’s also used old crates as bedside cabinets to give a rough, industrial feel.

If you need some help with a project, Laura’s an interior design based in Yorkshire so head over to

4. DIY Surfboard

To reflect the coastal location of her Whitley Bay home, Jen Lambert made a decorative surfboard from MDF to complete the beachy, boho feel of her living room.

She does have a real surfboard too – but that one’s generally kept in the garage since a trail of sand across the carpet isn’t a great look!

Jen, an interior designer at, has painted the chimney breast in Black Heron by Valspar and added an Afaw Berber style rug and Bangor wire tables from La Redoute.

She’s also put up Ferm Living herringbone wallpaper from Cloudberry Living in the alcove to prevent the black walls overpowering the room.

4 - DIY Surfboard - Stand out from the crowd - Home Interiors
5 - Feature Splashback - Stand out from the crowd - Home Interiors

5. Feature Splashback

Sticking to neutral kitchen units that won’t look dated within a few years is a sensible option – but you may as well go a bit more daring in other ways. Gemma Medden has done this with a quirky geometric splashback inspired by Terrazzo mosaics in her fab kitchen in North Yorkshire.

I wasn’t the only visitor who presumed this area was tiled, but Gemma actually created it using leftover tester pots and masking tape. It means she can easily change it if she gets bored, and I wouldn’t be surprised if she already had as Gemma’s never far from a paintbrush!

The units are a mixture of Milano Elements in copper slate and Infinity in white from Wren Kitchens, while the Ilaria pendant shades in dusky Olive, Blush and Berry are from

Gemma also has a business selling gorgeous homewares called which is well worth a visit.

6. DIY wood panel fireplace

Adding character to a new build home is something JT Collings has managed to pull off successfully in his two bedroom semi in Northallerton. As there was no chimney breast in the living room, JT made his own focal point with wood cladding cut to size at a local timber merchants and attached to batons.

He’d seen the idea on a US property show and thought the timber would makes it feel more cosy and welcoming. He’s also replaced the electric wood burner with a more efficient bio-ethanol fire from Bio Fires which has a real flame and costs next to nothing to run.

The house is always evolving though – and JT has since changed the feel of this room by whitewashing the wood and removing the boxed out part at the bottom in favour of a shelf to make it feel more spacious.

For a similar deer head, try 

6 - DIY wood panel fireplace - Stand out from the crowd - Home Interiors
7 - ladder light - Stand out from the crowd - Home Interiors

7. ladder light

This amazing ladder light really impressed me, not least because homeowner Lor Aldridge managed to make it for just £3!

Although she’s since moved home, Lor and husband Spencer built this 35 sq. m kitchen extension themselves to accommodate a second hand oak kitchen they’d already bought for £800 on Ebay.

The thrifty pair made the most of the high ceiling by creating a light from an old wooden ladder they found in the house and three reclaimed enamel bowls that cost £1 each. Mind you, I’m sure you could buy something similar in Harry Enfield’s ‘I Saw You Coming’ shop for about £800 [ if you haven’t seen the sketches, check out this compilation – it’s hilarious!]

Bleaker chairs from Loaf are similar.

For a similar tiled patchwork border on the floor, try Gatsby tiles from Tons of Tiles.

We’d love to hear what you think of these ideas. What’s your favourite? Have you managed to create a wow feature on a tight budget? Let us know in the comments below.