It doesn’t matter how perfect the house, apartment or unit of our dreams feels when we buy it – whether it’s a home or an investment – we always want to make some changes to make it our own.
It’s just human nature. We like to feel that sense of connection that comes with ownership and, with that, we want to make our own individual mark.
Sadly, most of our interior design budgets just never feel like enough.
Perhaps it’s a big-ticket item like painting walls, changing the flooring or renovating a bathroom that’s overwhelming to the back pocket. Or perhaps your concern is all the smaller, finishing touches – those subtle yet high impact decorative additions that transform a house into a home.
Find some calm in your personal financial storm with these six simple design tips to decorate your home on a tight budget.
1. Don’t rush it.
As soon as you sign a contract, it can be tempting to go shopping for all the new items you want to buy. As soon as you pick up the key, it can be enticing to schedule all the renovations into the first week you move in.
Take a breath.
If you’re on a budget, the best strategy is to wait until you get to know the place a bit better. Take the time to get multiple quotes, understand the size of the space available to you, and see how it all flows and fits together with your existing furniture.
Taking it slow will ensure you avoid making big design mistakes and big financial mistakes that you might regret later.
2. Ask for help.
If you’re a DIY kind of person, more power to you. All you need is a bit of time, a few tools, know-how and access to YouTube. If not, remember it’s OK to ask for help from DIY savvy family and friends. Organise a working bee or a craft-a-noon as a fun housewarming event.
Don’t be shy about asking for help when you need it. You’ll be surprised who puts their hands up.
If you’re after a specific skill set or trade professional, there’s no need to go it alone. To avoid taking a risk, ask your local community for help with referrals. Local community Facebook groups are a fount of knowledge for the who’s who in the local trade industry. It’s also a good idea to always check out customer reviews online before hiring a tradie.
3. Mix, don’t match.
In theory, there’s nothing wrong with ‘matchy-matchy’. It’s just that doing it well requires a big budget. When you’re on a small budget, avoid any desire to match at all costs.
The key to creating a top-notch interior on a small budget is embracing the mixing of colours, textures and tones. You can still give a room a theme, but you’re not restricted to making sure everything is perfectly paired.
There’s method to the madness, so unashamedly mix things up using complementary or contrasting colours and materials. Think chairs of a different colour or style around a table or a luxe shiny copper ornament on a rustic timber sideboard.
Image: Wall Art Prints
4. Bring the outdoors in.
Greenery is the Pantone Colour of The Year and nothing is simpler than bringing some of that colour of nature inside from the great outdoors.
Not keen to spend up big at the nursery? Take a trip to the op shop for some cheap plant pots that you can inexpensively makeover. Then visit a friend or family member and pinch some cuttings from their best plants (geraniums and succulents are some of the best options for rookie gardeners). Add some soil, the occasional water and voila you’ll have a lush cost-effective indoor garden in time!
If you could kill a cactus, there are also great life-like artificial plant options worth considering as a low maintenance alternative to fill up your plant pots and introduce greenery into your home decor.
5. Brighten up with affordable art.
When all else fails, affordable wall art is your decor saviour. It is the one key design element that will give your home a fresh look and personality – something that’ll make it exclusively yours.
Today, with the onset of technological and online innovation, stylish wall art is more affordable than ever. Before choosing a work of art, have a think about what you want to feel when you walk into a room. Happy? Calm? Energised?
Be sure to leave plenty of white space around your art, but not too much – it’s better to super-size your canvas prints than let it get lost in the expanse.
Image: Wall Art Prints
6. Pump up the colour.
Painting your walls is relatively affordable if you do it yourself. But if you’re not into DIY or can’t afford to paint the entire home, consider painting some elements of the home in bold, bright colours.
It could be your front door, a table, a desk or a bookshelf. The key to making an impact is to bring the home alive through selective use of colour. It’s your secret to design success.
As much as we might fantasise about it, not everyone can afford to live in millionaire’s row which means few of us can afford a millionaire’s interior stylist or design budget. But with these tricks of the trade, at least you now know that’s AOK.