Charity Interior Design

Interior Style Hunter takes part in the British Heart Foundation Makeover Challenge

A few months ago, the British Heart Foundation called me and asked if I would participate in a makeover challenge that would help showcase what can be created with the furniture that they have in their charity shops. All of this had to be done within a budget of £500. Quite the challenge!

But, I’m always up for a challenge, and do honestly believe that good design is for everyone, you just need to know how – and be brave and resourceful in this case. This was a challenge too far for me on my own, so I reached out to Sarah Mailer from the popular blog, Girl About House to partner with me on this project. We had just judged the Amara Interiors Blog Awards together and thought this would be a great new project for us.

We started with a visit to the British Heart Foundation shop in Brixton. Quite an experience for the two of us who are so used to Chelsea Harbour, but so liberating too. We found a couple of incredible pieces, if you know Sarah and I will know that we were making quite a noise about finding perfect items! Some of the shoppers started to take an interest in what we were doing and wanted to buy some of our pieces that we selected, so we were literally holding down furniture and collecting it all in the centre of the shop so that nobody would buy it!

What was interesting was the price points, our star piece, an almost brualist/deco sideboard with bags of character was £80. Our dining room set was £105! It really puts a lot into perspective. 

Sarah and I wanted to stay true to our own look, which has a luxe edge to it. It was very important that we created something that represented both our styles, which for this resulted in a bold scheme. 

On the day itself, we got stuck in with painting the chairs, lamp bases and figuring out how to style this all together. Sarah got started on the artwork and within an hour or two painted the centrepiece which brought our whole scheme together

I’m so pleased with the end result and for a grand total of £368, we created a very special dining room. I’d like to reference the fact that at most High Street stores, you can’t buy a dining room table for that amount, let alone the designer stores that Sarah and I frequent. 

The value within the British Heart Foundation charity shops is astounding, yes, you’ve got to look hard for pieces and spend some time neatening and refreshing a piece. But it’s unique, great value and in our case – seriously stylish!

There were 3 other teams, including Max McMurdo, Sharp & Simpson and Forward Features. What a day it was seeing these three spaces come to life!

Allison Swaine-Hughes, Retail Director at the BHF said: “The Makeover Challenge is a great example of how you don’t need a big budget to give a home a fresh new look – it’s been amazing to see what these designers have created from items found in their local BHF home stores! With sofas from £95 and wardrobes from £40, not only do the stores provide great value but every penny raised in store goes towards life-saving research.”

Break down of costs:

Interior Style Hunter and Girl About House

Dining room set £105, sideboard £80, lamps £40, jug £3, rug £65, canvas £40, teapot and cups £15, books £10, mirror £10. Total cost = £368.

Max McMurdo

Dining table and chairs x 3 – £25 each, Dining table and chairs £50, fireplace £69.99, gold and black globe £45.99, rug £24.99, electrical goods £20, bric a brac £140. Total cost = £425.97.

Sharp & Simpson

Bed £65, mattress £35, mirror £45, wardrobe £15, sideboard £15, pillow £2, throw £9.99, toy box £10, light £150, giraffe print £69.99, rug £30. Total cost = £446.98.

Forward Features

Chest £40, bed £100, mirror £10, records 4 x £2.50, chest £60, cushion 9.99, chair £20, throw £9.99, bedside table £55, stool £59, artwork £14, rug £85, jug £3, ornaments £15. Total cost = £490.98.

To find out more head to or to volunteer head to

Image Credit: British Heart Foundation.

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