I was raised in an era of make-do-and-mend, and where the children’s TV programme Blue Peter was essential viewing.

Pino Catalano

Lead Designer

04th Nov 2014

The main feature of each episode seemed to be the ingenuity of creating some homemade version of the latest highly desired object from nothing more than empty washing liquid bottles, cardboard toilet roll tubes and the all important finishing touch: sticky back plastic.

Everyone understood that this was an alternative solution and accepted it for what it was: a low tech, low cost similar-looking version of the real thing. However, that was long before the excesses of the Eighties.

And since then people’s wants, desires and expectations have altered somewhat. But when times are tough and budgets are tight, it can be difficult to justify the all-singing, all-dancing sometimes over-engineered solution. But does that mean the only option available is the make-do-and-mend option?

In the world of office design and build, interior designers who understand the latest innovations in product advancement and production techniques know that a keen project budget doesn’t have to mean a compromised scheme. I’m not about to suggest that we start collecting empty cereal boxes and jam jars to create some funky informal meeting pod - although, I might have just hit on an idea - but rather take a look at some of the new cost effective solutions available to the design team.

Prints in all shapes and sizes

In particular, the field of digital printing has made incredible advancements in recent times. It’s possible to apply stunning full height, full coloured imagery to practically any surface. This is a great way of giving a lift to a space and creating a focal point. It could mean an area within a workspace that does not require a complete review can still be easily refreshed.

From digital wallpaper to the good old sticky-backed plastic and even solid panels, the advances in printing technology means that in today’s interior the only limitation is your design team’s imagination.

There are many tricks to refreshing a space that does not require a full-blooded, full on, all encompassing refurbishment. If you consider the floor for instance - it may not be possible or even desirable to swap out the carpet in its entirety.

But by focussing on the front of house areas, such as the reception and meeting rooms, and dropping in random swathes of a contrasting colour or texture to the main floor area, it’s possible to freshen up the ambience of the whole space. Equally, the application of an accent colour to a wall or partition may be enough to give a space a completely different feel.