Some of the most welcoming rooms I’ve ever seen were put together on a low budget. Let’s face it, anyone with deep pockets can have a ‘decorated’ room that is put together, tastefully done and beautiful. There are tons of interior designers that make their living helping people achieve their decorating vision. And there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. But if you want the satisfaction of doing it yourself and/or you have a low budget, you’re not alone, and you’re in luck. There are a myriad of resources out there to start you on your way and get your creative juices flowing. Interior design magazines, diy blogs (*jumping up and down waving*), design shows, countless web sites…you can seriously spend a year of your life just sorting thru all the information and still only scratch the surface. It can be overwhelming and if you’re a bit uncertain about making decorating choices…well, you know what happens, absolutely nothing gets done.
Putting together a space that you’re comfortable in, that reflects who you are and stays within budget is easier than you think. I’m going to give you a few tips, but the one tip I feel is most important is this…keep a sense of humor and an open mind when designing your home. You can’t be a ‘decorating snob’ if you have a low budget. Get ready to check out garage sales and maybe even roam your neighborhood the night before trash pickup. You’d be surprised what you can find, and there’s a great deal of satisfaction that comes from taking a sad, neglected, outdated piece of furniture and turning it into something special.
- There is a reason why you have heard a zillion times before that paint is the easiest and most cost effective way to transform a space. Because it’s true! Paint is a budget minded decorator’s bff, and it’s not just for walls. Think about painting a lamp that has a great shape, but maybe you’re not quite enamored with the bright brass finish. Or how about a lovely picture frame with great detailing, but you’re not diggin’ the purple color? Paint it! Almost anything can be painted, so remember…keep an open mind.
- Certain items should be of the best quality you can afford. Sofas, chairs, and slipcovers qualify. This does NOT mean you have to spend a fortune. Many quality items can be found at second hand shops and estate sales, and may need little or no updating.
- Window treatments don’t have to be fancy smancy or ‘typical’. How about using pretty hats to cover a window in a little girls room, or houseplants in an office space? Think outside the box and you’ll be rewarded with a unique design that is truly ‘you’.
- Rugs are cheaper and more versatile than carpeting. They can sometimes be switched from room to room and used seasonally.
- Shop on line! Sign up with some of your favorite stores and they’ll send you notices of sales and coupons. If you combine those with other coupons (check out retailmenot) you can score some pretty good deals.
- Decorate from the heart, don’t be afraid to make mistakes and DON’T play it safe.
Now that we’ve gotten some tips for budget shopping out of the way, let’s talk about ways to bring a room to life. Have you ever entered a room and immediately felt comfortable and relaxed? You probably didn’t sit there and analyze why you felt this way, but it’s a safe bet that the room was well laid out with correct balance and the right amount of accessories. It doesn’t matter if you spend a king’s ransom decorating a space. If it isn’t well balanced, it won’t ‘feel’ right. Here are a few examples of rooms that can help you visualize what I mean:
This room has it all…balance, color, texture. The major pieces such as the sofa and chairs are neutral, but the room is far from boring. Bright, bold colors of turquoise and coral are used boldly in the draperies and table, as well as pillows and accessories. The use of two rugs, a sisal and an animal print, add a really cool textural element that I love!
When picking out sofas, tables, dressers, etc., determine what shapes dominate the room. If most of the lines are squares or rectangles, bring in some accessories that are circular in shape. In this room, the draperies, moldings and fireplace introduce a linear feel, but the rug and most of the accessories bring in a curved element that helps make the room more balanced. This is something you might not have thought of before, but it definitely adds to a rooms appeal.
Not afraid of color? This room is for you! The use of a neutral rug, walls, sofa and drapes was a wise choice. It helps anchor the space and ‘calms’ the room a bit. The use of symmetry, such as the lamps and plates on the wall, also add to a sense of balance.
I pretty much love everything about this bedroom. Not only is it serene and sophisticated, but practical. Neutral colors combined with beautiful fabrics and feminine accessories create a space anyone would love to fall asleep in. It’s a great idea to eliminate table lamps next to the bed in favor of sconces, especially if you like to read in bed. I’ve never understood the practicality of teeny, tiny lamps on a nightstand. If you do have lamps on your nightstand, try to make them tall enough so that they are practical. If you add a mirror to your space, it’s nice if it can reflect something pretty, such as a nice window or a beautiful painting. And the window seat?! Luuuuuvvvvv it!
Color, balance and texture are three of the most important elements when decorating, but NOT at the expense of comfort. Always choose pieces that you love and that are comfortable, and you’ll be rewarded with a space you will be happy with for years.