It may be depressing to look at stock values these days, but it doesn't mean your flat has to show the strain too. Even if money's tight you can revamp your pad with a few carefully chosen additions or subtractions. By simply changing accessories such as pillows, lamps and artwork, or creating colour zones in your rooms, you can introduce a new flamboyance into your life. Hong Kong, with its globetrotting denizens and antiques stores lined with fascinating pan-Asian pieces, is an ideal place for global chic interiors. Even if your living room is as boring as it gets (beige sofa, beige chairs, brown lamps, big yawn) you can easily, and affordably, add some visual spice. Kishani Perera of fuse ID (fuse-id.com) specialises in creating homes to reflect a well-travelled soul. The Los Angeles-based designer, who has worked with celebrity clients including Molly Sims, Kate Bosworth and Christine Taylor, layers the spaces she designs with natural textures and authentic collectables. 'I try to create interiors that feel multidimensional, not as if they came together overnight,' Perera says. 'Introducing interesting textiles and pieces of varying scales at different eye levels is a great way to do that.' If you're after an ethnic vibe, says the designer, start with well-chosen textiles. Tribal-print throw cushions help transform a room from mundane to eclectic. Furry, shaggy rugs feel lush and primitive. Try throwing a bold suzani (an embroidered fabric from Central Asia) over the back of the couch, or hang it on the wall for an unusual focal point. Cover a coffee table with a suzani or woven Indian cloth and place curios and books on top, an idea Perera used in her own apartment. 'The suzani isn't the first thing you see when you walk in the room,' says Perera. 'But your eye reads it as flashes of pattern and colour, and that adds depth and interest.' Create a tableau of cultural collectables: whether it's a collection of hand-painted Indian boxes or European crosses, objects from far-flung corners of the Earth echo an international spirit, Perera says. But don't just lay your treasures out on a table and hope for the best. Play with the scale of your pieces. 'I've mixed a really big lacquered stupa with Indian boxes on a coffee table,' Perera says. 'The collectables are at different eye levels - that's much more stimulating.' Even a purposefully placed stack of books gives rooms instant warmth and a cosmopolitan feel. 'A house should read like an autobiography of its owner,' she says. 'An edited collection of beautiful books gives visitors a view into your mind.' Go for standout lighting fixtures. 'Why settle for a boring lamp when lighting is a chance to bring functional art into your home?' says Perera. A Chinese or Moroccan lamp, for example, can set the mood for a global stage. Or consider using a lamp already in your living room and top it with a new shade made from a more interesting textile. 'Sari fabric brings a pop of colour into your room,' she says. 'I've even made a shade from a piece of geometric-print African cloth for a modern room. It instantly made the space less predictable.' Introducing pops of mood-enhancing hues can also revitalise your rooms without destroying your credit rating. Designer Demi Adeniran of Fabrica Designs (fabricadesigns.com) in New York, applied that strategy to her own home, once a kingdom of beige serenity, when her five-year-old daughter said she wanted to 'live in a rainbow'. Adeniran kept her solid basics - a clean-lined couch, classic coffee table, and graceful drapes, all beige - and embellished with thoughtful and inexpensive splashes of colour. Start with a colour concept board. Flip through interior design magazines and clip photos of interiors you like. Notice which colours you respond to and why. 'Sometimes clients believe they like a certain colour or dislike another, but when it comes to choosing furniture or paint they gravitate to a different colour,' Adeniran says. 'We go with what the client likes - it's as simple as that.' Try out a bold hue in your entrance. 'The trick is to use a stand-out colour for this small space, even on the ceiling,' she says. 'It makes a big impact but the 'pow' is contained.' And the best news is that it rarely takes more than 10 litres of paint to re-cover a foyer. Select an accent shade. 'You can paint or wallpaper one wall in a room or hang a really big piece of art in your accent colour,' Adeniran says. 'It's not a big commitment, but the impact is large.' Then add pattern in the preferred colour by throwing rugs, pillows and lamps into the mix. Even if your drapes are beige, there's no need to toss them out. Instead, consider having a tailor stitch on a border in your selected hue. Adeniran did exactly that by attaching a pink pompom fringe to her boring tan wool bedroom curtains. 'When I'm over it I'll rip them off,' she says. Collect in one colour. If you love Jonathan Adler pottery, for example, consider amassing his work in your target hue. 'Repeat your collections in one contained space, such as on one coffee table or one wall,' Adeniran says. 'Groupings will definitely make more impact than if your collections are scattered and they'll pick up accent colours in your room.' While many Hong Kong flats feel more like featureless boxes than architectural gems, such spaces make a great backdrop for a bold mid-century style. Kate Chauncey, who lived in Hong Kong in the early 2000s and now designs interiors in Palm Springs, California, says ramping up the mid-century message in your flat takes just a few carefully edited choices. Start with standout lighting. Visit sites such as Design Within Reach (dwr.com), Modernica (modernica.net) or even Ikea (ikea.com.hk) for bold pendant lighting. 'Iconic, beautiful lighting is an instant visual revolution for your living room,' Chauncey says. Make your own artwork: Find a graphic textile that you love - Marimekko has an artful selection (alwaysmod.com) and stretch it over an art canvas. 'Try to go large,' she says. 'That makes more of a statement.' Add a chair in an iconic shape. 'Maybe you can't afford to replace your couch right now,' says the designer. 'But you could probably splash out for an Eames plastic rocker or even a Le Corbusier chaise,' she says. These are great design anchors that 'won't send you to debtor's prison'. Clear up the clutter. Modern houses are rarely stuffed with stuff. So never underestimate the power of a major clean up. Spend a weekend editing the things you have. Be ruthless! 'Things in a house start to have a dialogue with each other,' Chauncey says. 'If they're ugly or just don't work, the 'conversation' gets pretty noisy.' The designer's rule: if you don't absolutely love something, donate it to your local charity. 'They win and you win. You get a clean house and maybe even a little break on your taxes with the charity write off.' And who couldn't use a little of that right now?