Decorating without breaking the bank, even if you don’t have a lot of money to spare, you can still give your home a tasteful new look.
There’s no need to resort to using packing cases as end tables – it’s just a matter of knowing a few tricks and cutting out unnecessary expenses.
One popular way to start your budget home makeover project is to scour your favorite magazines for ideas and keep a collection of interesting photos and tips.
Figure out what you like and don’t like, in terms of color, style, comfort, and accessories. Then you just need to add elements of your own personality to the mix.
The good thing about fixing up a room is that you don’t need to do everything at once. By doing it in steps, you can cut your outlays quite a bit.
Once you’ve got the basics like the wall color and the major pieces of furniture sorted out, it can be good to take a break and just live with the new décor for a while.
That will allow you to make more considered decisions about smaller items of furniture, and accessories such as rugs, curtains, and art.
There’s no need to feel that the room has to be “finished” before you can use it, and in fact, it should keep developing to reflect ongoing changes in your lifestyle and personal circumstances. This way you’ll be less likely to rush into any design details or purchases.
Pick colors wisely
The right choice of color can help keep your decorating budget under control. When you buy a big-ticket item that you’ll be using for a long time, a neutral color makes the most sense.
If you want a green sofa, for instance, it’s better to go for a muted gray-green or a forest green rather than a bright apple green.
That will allow you to update the look and mood of the room as often as you like with different inexpensive accessories such as rugs, pillows, ceramics, and lamps.
If you don’t know which color scheme to pick, think about the clothes you like to wear, and choose colors you feel comfortable in.
You should also consider the way colors affect your mood, as well as the atmosphere of the space.
When you have a rough idea of what you want, go to a fabric shop and pick out fabric in one of the shades you plan to use.
Then carry it around with you as you select materials that go well with that color.
Painting is the most economical way to change the wall color and alter the whole feel of a room.
Even if you like the paint color in the can, it can be hard to envisage how the entire room will look when it’s been painted.
The best way to test a new color is to buy a small can and give part of a wall two coats of it. If you like it, go ahead and buy what you need for the whole space.
If not, just paint over it with the color you eventually decide on.
Faux paint techniques are popular these days and lend a sophisticated air to any room. Marbleizing, ragging, or sponging doesn’t cost much to do and adds plenty of depth and interest.
It will cost you more to hang the wallpaper than to paint the walls. However, wallpaper borders can be used together with paint, and won’t set you back too much. Borders can be changed every few years too.
In a very plain room with no moldings, ceiling roses, or other interesting details, try using wallpaper for a more appealing look.
You can also fit synthetic molding – which is cheaper than wood – and paint it an appropriate color.
And or you could paper the ceiling with an embossed wall covering and paint it to create a classy-looking fake “tin” ceiling.
It can be fun to make your own, inexpensive wall accessories, or to display some of the treasures you already have.
Check your closets and attics for old china plates, family photos, your children’s artwork, and other knick-knacks that add a lot of personal character to your home.
If you find an old picture frame or window, you can put a mirror in it for a bargain piece with lots of styles.
Or how about hanging an arrangement of small, but colorful and low-priced prints on the wall, or displaying a quilt or rug above the head of a bed in place of a headboard?
Get creative with furniture
To get the most out of your furniture purchases, pick pieces that are versatile. If you need a TV cabinet, for example, go for one with cabinets or drawers that can hold a lot of other stuff as well.
Look around for used items you can use in new ways. Your coffee table doesn’t necessarily have to be a table – you could also use an old trunk or a cobbler’s bench.
Or you could top an interesting piece of driftwood with a piece of glass. In the bathroom, you might modify an old dresser to use as a vanity, by putting a sink on the top.
Look around your local flea markets, yard sales, auctions, and antique shops for secondhand furniture you can transform by painting or refinishing.
Of course, you can also use pieces you already own. Give an old sofa or chair a new lease on life with slipcovers.
It’s cheap and easy to make two or three different sets (or have them made) and change them around when you feel like a new look.
Even simpler is throwing a mohair or chenille throw, or a colorful sarong, over the back of your couch.
Wood furniture can be updated with DIY crackle paint kits, stencils, or even graffiti kits for a fresh, modern appearance.
A new area rug or some strategically placed plants can also infuse some new life into your living space, and won’t cost you very much.
If you get silk plants and put them in nice pots, you’ll only need to dust them how’s them for low maintenance!
Curtain fabric can be expensive, especially if you have large windows to fill. Try framing the window with fabric instead, draping it artfully over a wood or metal curtain pole.
Buy an inexpensive blind to close your space off at night.
So you see how much fun it can be to put together your home décor if you do it bit by bit instead of trying to achieve a finished product in one go.
And you really don’t need to spend the earth to get the look you want. Just remember to be relaxed and creative, and to take your time selecting your new home fittings.