20 March 1998

A stylish eye can transform a cast-off

EVERY home has items past their best, but instead of junking them or living with dreary but useful furniture, take a look at Jane Gordon-Smiths book*, it could inspire you into giving them a new lease of life.

Jane uses découpage with crackling, distressing, antiquing and gilding techniques to restyle furniture and bric-a-brac. She achieves some impressive effects and details how to obtain them in this well illustrated book.

A bamboo table is given an oriental look by reproducing Chinese lacquer work. The main design is a photocopy of a chinese scene that is then painted and cut out, so no great artistic skill is needed – just an eye for symmetry and patience to build up layers of varnish.

An old bed is transformed when she decorates the head and footboards with découpage flowers set on a black background edged with gold, and the techniques can be used on items of all sizes from tiles to wardrobes. TG

*Restyling Junk by Jane Gordon-Smith, Search Press (£6.95). Credit card orders freephone (0800-146860).