I probably don’t do enough posts on home style and interior design, its actually a real passion of mine! I’m not writing this post claiming that I have the most stylish home in the world because I certainly don’t, but I am happy with the little touches I have made to make our home more ‘us’, and by ‘us’ I mean ‘me’ ;-) Of course all of these little touches have been made on a budget!
Just to give you a bit of background, we live in a one bedroom flat that we own. We’d love to move somewhere bigger, but due to the housing market being rubbish we are happy to stay here for now. I actually adore our little piece of the world :-) Since we moved in 5 years ago I’ve picked up some great tips which I think have helped us to create what I think is a pretty stylish yet functional home on a budget.
Think outside of the box
I actually owe this tip to James! He is excellent at seeing how things can be used in a way different to their intended purpose. Here’s a great example:
This is a wooden shoe rack that you can pick up very cheaply in any DIY store. Here it is after its had the James and Laura treatment:
I wanted some shelving in my kitchen and it was James who suggested using these. It was only recently that I decided to paint them a bright yellow. We have two of these on our kitchen counter tops – one is a bit of a tea making area and the other has jars with flours and grains in them. I think they provide excellent stylish storage extremely cheaply. I just used two little tester pots of emulsion paint for less than £5 to brighten them up.
We also have a small wood dinning table and chairs in our living room that’s really an outdoor dinning set that we picked up for £30. We also use a free standing kitchen unit as additional storage under our counter:
We got that from Argos in a sale half price, its the best thing in the kitchen! That’s an old pic – now I use it to store my dehydrator too.
Look every where for inspiration
Like with fashion, I do love some inspiration! My favourite interiors magazines are Living Etc and Elle Decoration although to save some cash you can check out their websites instead of buying the magazines. Of course Pinterest is pretty amazing when it comes to affordable ideas to add some style and personality to your space. Here’s just a couple of my favourites:
Cork board used to store and display necklaces and jewellery
embroidery hoops with printed fabric as art work
I’ve even been inspired when I’ve been out and about in shops and cafe’s. Here’s a photo I took in Tic Toc cafe in Brighton:
I loved the patch work prints of wall paper and decided to recreate that style very cheaply with our screen (which hides our workout equipment). Those are just wall paper samples I picked up from a DIY shop for free!
Embrace a mix and match style
As much as I like certain decorating styles I don’t have the budget or the space to recreate them. What I have done is embrace a mix and match style. Instead of wishing that we could afford matching furniture and accessories we’ve just gone all out mix and match!
If your prepared to get a bit creative there’s loads of things you can make to add a little something special to your space. Canvases like these are easy to find and very cheap. You can create a wonderful piece of art work on a budget with a canvas and some paint. If your not sure on what to paint look at other prints and designs online and in magazines. I painted this canvas for our kitchen based on a tea towel design!
I just used a tester pot of emulsion for the base and some acrylic paints for the design. I love the individuality it adds to our kitchen! I also made some affordable art work for our living room using free wallpaper samples from a DIY store:
I really liked the style of the ‘feature wall’ where one wall is papered but it wouldn’t really work in our space, nor could we have afforded it. Instead I framed this scrap of wallpaper to create a piece of very cheap art work. You could make a display with even more impact by grouping together several frames in different styles with the same paper or frames of the same style with different prints in them.
Go for a neutral background if possible
When decorating the fixed features of a home and your on a budget I think its worth sticking to a neutral scheme. Firstly, because you can pick up white or beige paint cheaper than other colours but also because it gives you more freedom when it comes to the other components of your room. You can add lots of colour and texture using accessories which you can change fairly cheaply when you want a different style.
Work with what you have
When we moved into the flat the two things I disliked were the green carpet in the bedroom and the light blue bathroom suite. We couldn’t afford to change them at the time, so I tried to work with them.
Old pic of the bedroom before we redecorated and got rid of the horrible carpet!
In the bedroom I used some green cushions in different shades to complement the carpet and in the bathroom we tried to keep all other features as neutral as possible. We’ve since been able to change the bedroom carpet but we can’t afford to have the bathroom done, however now that we have painted some of the wood work white and added nice accessories the room doesn’t feel dated at all! A few accessories that pull together existing features is much cheaper than having to completely redecorate the whole room.
Use accessories well
Leading on from the last tip, you really can transform the feel of a room depending on how you accessorize it. Cushions, rugs, curtains and art work can add a lot of colour and texture. In the kitchen, tea towels, magnets on your fridge or crockery on display can make an impact.
I love how the miss matched printed crockery and recipe books on display here adds style
In the bathroom a change of shower curtain if you have one, towels and bath mat can also change the feel of the room.
Shop smart – and a word on Ikea
I think you can get some very affordable yet stylish home ware from a lot of high street shops as well as the supermarkets like Tesco, Sainsbury’s and Asda. My favourite shops for house hold stuff are TK Maxx (I love that place!), Urban Outfitters home ware, Matalan, Next, BHS and Argos. The right cheaper pieces mixed in with more expensive items can look amazing.
Of course, Ikea is unbeatable for stylish affordable home ware. I’ve never walked in that place and not came out with bag full of stuff. However, I think its possible to go a bit over board on the ‘Ikea look’ so try and mix and match with pieces from other stores and perhaps some things you’ve picked up from charity shops so that it doesn’t look too much. Lots of Ikea items can easily be customised with a lick of paint as well!
Emulate more expensive designer products
Although its definitely not the same, this duvet cover from BHS has that similar vintage floral style and costs just £24.50:
But you can get these two similar style towels from H&M for just £3.99:
I definitely think its worth splashing out on the real deal sometimes, but depending on your priorities and budget you can pick up cheaper designer style pieces that will give you a more affordable but similar look.
Make a display of things you love
An easy way to add some impact and style to a room is to display collections of objects together. I have grouped my collection of Matryoshka Dolls that I have picked up on my travels as a feature on our side board:
We’ve also made a display of the little snow globes we’ve started collecting every time we travel to a new place:
I have also like to have a few of my books and note books on display as well! I love the personality it adds to a space.
Check out charity shops, EBay and car boot sales
I guess this is a bit of a no brainer for on a budget interior design but it took me ages before I was happy to venture into a charity shop and be confident that I wasn’t buying crap. You can really find some amazing things if you know what you are looking for. Right now I love vintage style accessories and when our tooth brush holder broke I made use of this unusual vintage style vase as an alternative:
I think it just adds a little something extra to the room! Charity shops can also be great for kitchenware, I found this ceramic oven dish for just £2:
I’m currently on the look out for a vintage tea pot and tea cup set to add to that yellow shelving unit in the kitchen! EBay is also fantastic for getting hold of all sorts of stuff such as scraps of vintage fabric, wall paper samples, cheap craft materials and of course second hand furniture.
In a similar way to how I think about fashion, I’d say that the main thing for being able to decorate on a budget is about being confident in your own individual style. I love homes that are filled with personality – that to me makes them stylish :-)
I hope you’ve enjoyed this On the cheap blog series! You can find the other posts here:
What are your home decorating on a budget tips? Have you enjoyed my ‘On the cheap’ blog posts?