Decorating on a Budget
Creating a living space that is comfortable, practical, well designed and a channel for your own unique style while staying within a budget is achievable
There are times when we get tired of the décor in our homes and wish we could change it or make it more dramatic. Then we sigh and put the thought aside because we immediately think of the expenses involved. Well, when decorating, imagination is always more important than money. It requires time, commitment and, naturally, some expense, but you can achieve a spectacular new look, even on a limited budget.
Given below are some tips to redecorate your home economically.
Innovation is the key! Look at the furniture and accessories you own and try to see their uses in a different way. Consider how you can take things and how you can mold or manipulate them into what you want or need them to be. Make the things you already possess more attractive. For example, put a glass cover on a stack of hardcover books and use it as a coffee table. Or use terracotta pots as a base with a sheet of glass on top. The room will get transformed with that one piece of furniture.
Rearrange the furniture: This is one decorating idea that won’t cost anything! Sometimes artful rearrangement can transform a room completely. Plan the arrangement carefully. Maybe right now your sofa or bed is in a position where easy movement around the room is hindered. Maybe that sideboard could be shifted from the living room to the dining room. Try positioning some of the furniture at interesting angles. For example, you could arrange the sofa at a diagonal angle.
Paint away monotony: Paint is a cheap and instantaneous decorating tool. Painting walls can create a striking effect. Or get imaginative; instead of painting the walls, why not paint the windows and doors. Most of us tend to paint the window frames white, off-white or brown. Why not try some bright colors that go with your décor? It will instantly brighten up a room. Another option is to repaint the furniture. From light to dark or vice versa, it will make a difference. Maybe your furniture just looks dowdy and old. Nothing like a fresh coat of polish and paint to have it shiny new!
Second-hand goods are not tacky! If you’re decorating on a budget, buying second-hand is to be expected. Scour auctions, antique shops and sales people have when they are leaving town. You can pick up some beautiful and unique items for a song. All antique items are not necessarily expensive. You can buy lovely furniture, knick-knacks, lamps…the list is endless.
Light up your home: Typically, most Indian homes use the ubiquitous tube-light which throws a fluorescent, harsh glow on the entire room. Go for yellow CFL bulbs. They make the room so much cozier and warmer. They are expensive compared to the normal bulbs, but the advantages are that they use less electricity, giving you huge savings on your electricity bill, and they last much longer.
Floor lamps and table lamps can alter an ordinary room into a thing of beauty. If you cannot afford to invest in more than one or two at a time, buy them as when your budget permits. Explore the option of hanging terracotta, bamboo or paper lanterns. They are reasonably priced and look exceptionally beautiful.
Go green: Plants are another inexpensive decorating tool. They will enliven any room. Place potted plants in corners, at the entrance of your home, in your veranda, on your kitchen windowsill – and see the difference for yourself. Have vases in every room in the home and arrange flowers on special occasions. Flowers brighten up and beautify any living space.
Fabric fantasy: Fabric can be an exciting decorating tool. For instance, buying new furniture can be expensive. If you are planning to invest in a sofa set, buy the wooden varieties that come with cushions with slipcovers. This way, you can have two to three sets of slipcovers to change the appearance of the room. If you have a divan in your living room, buy cushions in assorted shapes and sizes. Brighten up the room with cushion covers in vibrant colors and designs.
Visual focus: Sometimes, all it takes is one piece – be it furniture, a painting, a lamp or a vase – that could make a difference to a room. It makes sense then to buy one piece instead of ten cheap items. When scouring antique shops or auctions, keep a lookout for such pieces. Or even invest in one large painting. The entire visual focus of the room will be this one dramatic piece; believe me, it is a worthwhile investment.
Look and keep looking: One does not have to start and finish the entire redecorating process in a fixed time frame. Always keep your eyes open when you go shopping or even while driving. You can pick up some lovely stuff on the pavement. Sometimes you walk into a shop and see something that will look good on your side table or your bedroom wall. Decorating the house is an endless, but enjoyable process!
Don’t be impatient. It may take a while to get things the way you want them to be. Take it one step at a time, or even better, one room at a time. Lavish attention on the decorating process and the results will have you jumping for joy!