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Tasty table lamp

Continuing my obsession with lighting, this black table lamp is a modern addition to the secondhand homewares that dominate my house. It was a spontaneous purchase from a big branch of Sainsbury's, which has a surprisingly good selection of interiors additions. Right now, their sister outlet, Homebase, has some nice options. Currently the rather sleek Richmond Touch Lamp, a bronze and chocolate on the look, is just £8.49.

I spent far too much on my pair of round mirrors, which I bought from Graham and Green - why didn't I get these almost identical ones for just £24.99 each from Ikea?

Audrey - as I call my lovely swan-neck hat mannequin - was a long-ago find in an Oxfam shop. See if you can find one on the brilliant secondhand round-up website, Shopadilly, which I can't believe I've only just discovered, or buy a new one for just £14.95 from the sensibly named Equipashop.

Vintage Ebay lampshade

Buying vintage lampshades like this can be so cheap on Ebay - I think this one cost about £4.99, and it doesn't weigh much so postage was cheap too. Mine's on a dimmer switch and hangs over the dining table; feeling that you're being grilled by the Gestapo over a meal isn't good for the digestion.

People often don't pay much attention to lighting but it's so important - all the effort of making a room look lovely is wasted if it's then lit with a brutal overhead light. My mum was obsessed with lamps - the sitting room in my family home must have had about five; illuminating the room was a pain in the ass, but the resulting gentle, cosy glow was worth it.

Another great place for stylish old lampshades - though not as cheap - is The Peanut Vendor, one of my favourite online shops. Mark Parrish also has fantastic taste and a decent-sized vintage lighting section.

Get more tips on how to get lighting right.

Creepy dolls' heads

I've yet to meet one person who likes my creepy antique dolls' heads. 

I don't really blame them - I used to find them equally creepy when they lived in my mum's house, but was strangely moved to adopt them when she chucked them out.

Car boot sales are your best bet for finding something similar, or you could try Ebay but might end up paying more than is wise for something that will scare most of your house guests into another room. They sit on top of my grandfather's Victorian dictionaries, rebound for me as an 21st birthday present.

cheap vintage chairs

I bought four of these 1960s/70s wood veneer and black vinyl chairs from a junk shop in Thornton Heath for £20 (the lot). It's on the road back from Ikea to south London - and a great antidote to the great blue and yellow Swedish vortex.

They'd have cost about three times that in a specialist vintage shop. Thought they'd look great in the kitchen, and 'old' it up a little - but they didn't, so I've scattered them about the house. Piled high secondhand furniture shops are always worth a rummage. I also found a brilliant Stag three-piece bedroom suite for £60 in another junk shop - I'll post that up shortly.