You don’t have to spend a million bucks for your home to look like it. A small budget, when spent creatively, can give your home a luxurious designer appeal. Begin by scanning the Internet and browsing through magazines for design ideas. Collect pictures that you like and see how well the different elements you like can complement each other. Look at the effect you want to achieve as a whole instead of focusing on individual elements. While short listing ideas, keep in mind your style of living, the time you can devote to maintaining the look of your house, the needs of your family, and the area that you live in. For example, you may be in love with a white upholstered sofa but a white sofa would be very impractical if you have a furry pet or if you live in a country like India, unless you could seal the room against dust.
The first rule for designing a home on a low budget is to plan things properly so that you do not need to redo or undo anything later. Not only does this require double the effort, it also means added expenses. While measuring your home don’t forget to measure the doorways. It would be extremely painful to have to return a piece of furniture just because it wouldn’t go through the entrance. With inspiration and measurements in hand, take an honest look at your finances and decide on how much you can spend on decorating your home. Here are a few tips to get you going.
Shades of white, cream, beige, and taupe are primary colors in every luxury home color palette. Contrary to what you may think, neutral décor isn’t ‘old’ or ‘boring’. Neutral colours are naturally warm colours that make a room feel inviting and help balance the décor like in this picture, where the living room has been designed by Lisbon-based interior designers Traco Magenta. Neutrals showcase the natural beauty of a room and are ideal for walls, flooring, and even upholstery. When decorating with neutrals, avoid using a single colour throughout the house to keep your home décor from looking bland. Layer neutral shades against each other or let pops of colour come through via wall art, cushions, curios etc. Along with layering neutral colours against each other, also keep in mind textures that can add excitement to your décor.
When decorating a home on a low budget, investments in terms of furniture and accessories need to be made carefully. Prioritize expenditures but always value quality over price. Consider breaking sets and instead of buying a new sofa set consider a statement armchair that pairs with the existing furniture and yet speaks of your style. Avoid scattering a lot of curios across the living room and alternatively invest in a single large sculptural piece or decorative element that can act as conversation pieces. Take a look at what you already own and think of ways of repurposing it or upcycling it before replacing it with something new. Some investments that can make a space look stylish without costing too much are a woven carpet, a framed mirror, a beautiful clock, and faux flowers.
Minimalist design is not only budget-friendly, but trendy as well. The first step to minimal design is to clear clutter from table tops etc. Concealed storage is essential for minimal décor. Minimal design is all about having a few pieces that make a big impact. Be picky with the number of colors accenting the room, the décor accessories you would like to put out, the number of cushions your sofa needs etc. To go a step further along the lines of minimal design, let your lighting be bright, but unobtrusive.
For decorators on a low budget, flea markets and garage sales are treasure chests. Online auctions are some other places you can find interesting décor pieces at throwaway prices. Vintage is chic and never goes out of style. Visit your local flea market to find antique tea sets, decorative plates, crystal-ware etc. to accentuate your decor. Don’t pick up everything you like but choose a piece or two that complements your design style and at the same time, can make a statement on their own. A vintage helmet may not be exactly what you had in mind for your living room décor, but if you have an interest in aviation this could become an interesting conversation piece.
When you are selective about your décor, each piece needs to be perfect. Unusual drawer pulls and handles are interesting ways to take regular furniture pieces like a chest of drawers, side table etc to a whole new level. Put away décor artifacts that are chipped or need repairing. If your curtains or upholstery have faded, consider getting new curtains and reupholstering your sofas. Customize existing pieces by adding details like fringe trims for curtains, gold painted edges for end tables, or wallpapered interiors for bookcases and open cabinets.
Nobody likes walking into a room that doesn’t smell good. The first step to making a room aromatic is to remove anything that may be setting off a bad odor, such as wilted flowers, and to keep the room clean. Scatter a few aromatic candles and oil dispensers around the room and light these when you are expecting guests. Reed diffusers are efficient ways of spreading a subtle fragrance around the room and once installed, these are constantly at work. Scents, such as lemon grass and lavender, are subtle and soothing, while others such as rose or orange blossoms are more aggressive. Vanilla is an all-time favorite for most people.
Lastly, asking someone with design experience for guidance is a good idea, but getting an interior designer is out of the question. Try enlisting a design student to help you out, in return for letting your home be part of their portfolio. For all you know, in a few years, you may end up being able to boast of your home being a famous interior designer’s first project!