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How Can I Decorate My Home on a Budget?

Updated on March 27, 2019
Stella Kaye profile image

As a property developer, Stella has written many articles on the home environment, decor and problems that arise in the home and garden.

Magnolia Magic

Neutral decor is best for the smaller room
Neutral decor is best for the smaller room

A Fresh New Look

When spring is on the way and your home is in dire need of a fresh new look to compliment the season, you can easily achieve this however restrictive your budget. Rest assured, home improvements don't necessarily mean vast expenditure. The interior décor in the accompanying photo was easily completed well within a limited budget. Paint is by far your best ally; you can achieve the same streamlined professional look with cheap paint as you can with brand names. You don't need to spend a lot. A few super-sized tubs of trade emulsion in neutral colours really can transform the entire look of any home for absolute peanuts. Low-key colour schemes can vastly improve the appearance of your home and whether you care to call these shades 'vanilla variations', 'ivory inventions' or 'cappuccino creations,' you'll find they give your home interior a relaxing atmosphere. Trade paint can cost next to nothing and provides a professional finish that's just as smooth as pricier products.

A Clean Slate!

With a clean slate to work on, you can achieve a perfectly coordinated look
With a clean slate to work on, you can achieve a perfectly coordinated look | Source

Browse Before You Buy

Before you do anything else, take a browse round your local home improvement centre or DIY outlet such as The Home Depot in the US or Home Base in the UK and you'll be pleasantly surprised by the choice and affordability of the products available. If you have no set ideas in mind, you may even find some inspiration! There are usually informative leaflets available to help your proposed project.

Make a list of all the essential items you'll need to carry out your improvements and only then once these have been purchased, should you think of incorporating a few luxuries into the equation.

If you're still stuck for ideas, watch a few home improvement programs and even view neighbouring properties to see what neighbours have done with the same amount of space. You won't be accused of being a copycat; you can still incorporate the ideas of others and adapt them to your own requirements.

Costs can be saved by buying end of range and clearance stock at greatly reduced prices.

A Neutral Nuance

A bright an airy stairwell always looks more spacious
A bright an airy stairwell always looks more spacious | Source

Preparation, Preparation, Preparation

Your home improvement schedule need not be daunting or entail any great upheaval in your household. You can always concentrate on one specific room or area at a time in order to keep the mess to a minimum and to stay within your budget.

The key to effective décor is preparation. Make sure all areas you want to change are clean and free of debris. Pack away all paraphernalia and unnecessary equipment that will cause an obstruction.

If you're unsure of anything always experiment with a smaller area first. Another skilful way to transform a room is with clever use of lighting; you'll find that paint and light can work together to achieve the harmonious look you want. Making the best use of natural light is always beneficial but where this isn't possible - particularly in dimly lit areas - you can use mirrors or light fitments made from reflective materials to maximise space and give a bright and airy feel to a previously dismal room. Clever use of stylish mirrors will also enhance the appeal of any newly decorated room and need not cost a fortune.

Altering things gradually is the way forward if money is tight and it may be an idea to save for a few expensive focal points to add to your central theme once alterations have been completed. The trick is to have an idea that you stick to and don't overspend or complicate things to the extent that you become overwhelmed. Simple ideas are often the most effective and can still provide the 'wow' factor that's needed to give your home the makeover it so badly needs.

View your interior walls as a showcase for a few interesting larger features rather than swamp them with smaller items that are mere dust-catchers.

Making best use of available space and giving every area in the home a designated purpose will also help in creating the atmosphere you desire. Storage spaces are much needed in every home nowadays with all the paraphernalia a modern family will accumulate. This or other household items should never be on permanent display so be careful when choosing an open plan design to your living space. Is there still somewhere to store things like your ironing board, vacuum cleaner and step-ladder etc?

A streamlined look is always the best idea especially in smaller spaces; you'll find it easier on the eye and on the pocket.

A Feature Wall Defines Your Personal Taste

 Your choice of wallpaper may not be to everyone's liking!
Your choice of wallpaper may not be to everyone's liking! | Source

Don't Forget the Exterior

Applying the same principles to your outside space will also work wonders. You can transform your home exterior with paint too and use products such as wood varnish and metal paints to enhance exterior fittings such as railings, fences and window frames. Improving and working with what's already there is always the solution when funds are low.

Never try to rush things. Home makeovers on TV may be done in the twinkling of an eye but when you consider the number of people who contribute their time and expertise to such projects, the single householder can only hope to complete things over a more realistic time scale.

Know when it's time to call in the professionals. However limited your budget, certain tasks must be left to the experts. These include painting in awkward areas that may require longer ladders or even scaffolding. Surfaces that need treatment for woodworm or other infestations must also be left to those who offer specialist treatments. If in doubt seek the advice from staff at your local DIY or paint store.

Go Potty on Your Patio!

Potted plants always look great on patios and can easily be shifted around when you fancy a change
Potted plants always look great on patios and can easily be shifted around when you fancy a change | Source

Do What it Says on the tin!

If the instructions on the can of paint you're about to slap on the walls tell you to use undercoat first, then don't ignore them. You'll just end up with a wall that looks like bubble wrap and you'll be cursing yourself for cutting corners.

Be careful when choosing silk emulsion or matt - it does make a difference; silk is not suitable for freshly plastered walls as it doesn't allow them to breathe.

Make sure you also have the correct brushes and plenty of dust sheets so that your work is made easier. Painting in daylight is advisable and bright sunny days are even better so freshly decorated rooms can dry out and be used again as soon as possible after decorating is completed.

It'a a good idea to keep things simple and paint all ceilings brilliant white as this tried and tested formula always shows a room to its best advantage. Some will say it's lacking in imagination but there's really no alternative that can improve on a plain white ceiling.

Know your limitations and keep things simple and effective especially if this is your first decorating project.You'll soon realise there's no real need to make things more complicated when decorating a room or sprucing up your home exterior

Home Decoration Tips

Can you really decorate an entire house on a tight budget?

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© 2015 Stella Kaye


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