Are you tired of watching home design shows on TV and then looking around at a home that just doesn’t satisfy you anymore? If you’re getting by on a tight budget, you may think that doing something about it is beyond your means, but there are actually some highly affordable ways that you can make that home look very different – and even achieve some of the striking effects that you see in those shows. This article explains how to get started.
Principles of design
Some people are naturally creative and can make any space look good. If you don’t have the eye for it, there are some tricks that you can use to make your designs work regardless. In the home, a good place to start is with themes. Choose two or three themes, such as birds or vines or the sea, which you can use in different ways throughout your home. Then choose a main color and one or two complementary colors for each room, and plan everything else that you do around this. Now, think about which way the windows in each room face and what the light looks like when it’s shining through them. Plan the arrangement of your furniture accordingly.
Fix up your furniture
Don’t have the money for new furniture? Then check out your local thrift stores, Craigslist, eBay, and Freecycle. Often, people who are themselves redecorating will be only too happy for you to take their old furniture away, even if it’s still in great shape. Well-made furniture that’s a little the worse for wear can often be made to look great again with wood stain, paint, or simply varnish. Soft furniture items such as sofas and easy chairs can be recovered with new fabric so that they look like new, and this makes it easy to fit them in with your themes.
Create fabulous floors
If you want new carpets, they’re sometimes available from the same places as furniture, or through specialist charities dedicated to helping those who are struggling. An alternative approach is to strip your floor right down to the boards, use an expanding wood filler to fill in gaps, and then either paint them (with specialist hard-wearing floor paint, which doesn’t cost much) or wax them to a high shine. If you choose the painting option, you can use stencils for a more exotic look. Even concrete floors can be fixed up with paint.
Open up your windows
Every room looks better with more light. Try doing away with your tired old curtains and fitting DIY shutters that won’t block light at the sides. You can paint, stain, or varnish them to suit your themes, and they actually provide very good insulation, potentially helping to reduce your fuel costs. If you want a bit of privacy when they’re open, it’s cheap to buy voile, and you can hem the edges and fit curtain hooks or rings yourself. You can also improve the appearance of your windows by stripping old paint from the frames and fixing them up, and by using newspaper soaked in vinegar to thoroughly clean the panes.
Rework your walls
Creating attractive walls can seem like the biggest challenge when your funds are low, but there are tricks that you can use to make them look amazing. While wallpaper can be expensive, it is possible to find good-quality stuff at affordable prices if you’re patient and spend a lot of time checking special offer sections online. You can pick up remnants of expensive wallpaper at very low prices and use them to decorate small niches around your home. Alternatively, you can use paint, which is much cheaper today than it used to be and is available in many more varieties. Techniques such as color-washing, ragging, and dragging make it possible to create expensive-looking finishes without the need to bring in professionals.
When you’ve finished working on the basics, it will be time to start thinking about the little touches that will bring your new-look home to life. Picking up old paintings from thrift stores is a great way to get hold of frames that you can use for the art that you want on your walls, and you can print out any image that you want from the internet as long as you respect copyright. Little things such as cushions and rugs can add vibrancy to a room and help you develop your color scheme. Carefully positioned lights can help you highlight your home’s best features.
People with bigger budgets may have a wider choice of materials and may be able to bring in experts to decorate their homes, but they’ll never know the satisfaction that comes from creating your own design and bringing it to life. Your budget home will make you proud.