I am a firm believer that anyone can create a space that looks like a million bucks, but actually spent very little. All it takes is proper planning, ingenuity, patience and a keen eye. While proper planning is essential for any home improvement project, its necessity is even more important when you’re working on a tight budget. Doing a little legwork before will drastically cut down on the likelihood of encountering an unpleasant surprise along the way.
First, find your design inspiration. Then, break the project down into its components – flooring, furniture, paint and accessories. Browse stores to get a solid idea on how much the components will cost.
Step #1: Shop your Home
There’s no denying that repurposing your old design elements won’t be as exciting as waiting for all new pieces to arrive from the store. But, with a little bit of elbow grease and an investment in free time, it’s possible to totally transform the look of almost any component of your interior design. Plus, it will allow you to save money for must-have purchases later on.
Step #2: Anchor The Room With Furniture
Working under a budget is often about prioritizing spending. When you’re working with limited resources, you have to spend money where you will get the most for your money. In interior design, that means allocating a large portion of your budget towards purchasing quality furniture. Furniture is a wise place to spend your money because it will likely last for years.
If you’re dead-set on something that’s out of your price range, first look for it on ebay and if that fails, try to buy it on sale or try finding stores that sell second hand furniture. When you come across a shop that you like, subscribe to the newsletter – this way you will get information about sales, promotions and other useful stuff.
Step #3: Shop Second Hand
Get to know your local thrift store. Figure out what days they accept new inventory and get there early to scope out every inch of the place. Spend your weekends combing flea markets. Ask around to see if your family and friends have anything that they’re not using. When shopping for second hand items, quality is more important than style, which can always be altered. Inspect every inch of the piece for structural quality. Read more about second hand shopping in our story Thrifting Made Easier.
Step #4: Go Bold With Colour
It’s time to let you in on one of interior design’s biggest secrets: Colour is cheap. In contrast to other interior deign elements, paint is super cheap. Accessories like throw pillows cost even less. Before you take the plunge with paint, be sure you’ve picked a colour you love. Pick up a few free palettes from your local home improvement store. Once you’ve narrowed it down to a few choices, you can pick up samples of each. Paint small squares of each sample colour on each wall of the room see which one you like best. Check on the samples over the course of a few days to see how the colours react to varying amounts of daylight.
A note on choosing colours: I recommend using the 60-30-10 rule when selecting shades for your interior. It states that roughly 60% – think walls, floors and ceiling – of the space should be filled by a dominant colour. Then, the next 30% of the space should go to a secondary colour. The final 10% should be decorated in a bolder accent colour.
Step #5: Add More Lights
Don’t restrict yourself to just thinking practically when it comes to lights. Yes you need task lighting and so on, but really more is more. Dim or switch off the overhead lights and use lamps for the most beautiful effect. Table lights should be everywhere and anywhere they add the most beautiful glow to a space. For an average sized room, 5 should be your starting point – build up from there.
Trying to complete a decorating project on a shoestring budget isn’t easy. But, with a commitment of time an effort, it can be done. Use these tips to get you started. Don’t be afraid to run with them and really make your interior design your own. At the end of the day, what’s most important is that you are happy and comfortable in your current living space.
Written by Katja Butala
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