Decorating on a budget: homify’s top 8 tips

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Decorating on a budget: homify’s top 8 tips

Johannes van Graan Johannes van Graan
Art Deco Inspired Riverside Flat : Bermondsey:  Living room by Cassidy Hughes Interior Design
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You may very well wonder, while scanning through our multitude of photos here on homify, how other people manage to get their homes to look so elegant and stylish. And while a big budget definitely goes a long way to achieving interior (and exterior) excellence, the great news is that you do not need to sell a kidney to give your living room, bedroom, study, or entire house a new look.

That’s why we get extra excited when talking about decorating on a budget, as there are so many possibilities. However, these 8 tips (as agreed upon by professional interior designers and decorators) are our favourite…

1. Decorating on a budget: Rethink what you have

Living Room in Holiday Home :  Living room by Dupere Interior Design
Dupere Interior Design

Living Room in Holiday Home

Dupere Interior Design

Before you buy so much as a couch cushion, first reassess what you currently have in your home. Why not move a few pieces around to give it a fresh look? Perhaps you can even do a proper spring cleaning to get rid of unnecessary elements adding to clutter. There’s always somebody who can make use of your unwanted pieces, which is why we are cheerleaders for donating. 

homify hint: Dated, worn, and damaged items could be pulling your home’s look down. And one of the worst offenders in rental apartments is vertical blinds. We bet switching out just that one piece is sure to give the entire room a fresh new style.

2. Decorating on a budget: Wow your walls with colour

Smiling Spirit:  Living room by Pixers

Smiling Spirit


One of the easiest and quickest ways for decorating on a budget is by adding new colours to a room’s walls. After all, there’s so much more to colour palettes than whites, greys and beiges. 

We are especially fond of the two-tone scheme, which is guaranteed to give a striking new look, regardless of the room.  

homify hint: A shoestring budget will mean that you have to cut down on your painting costs. Thus, if you can’t afford two (or more) buckets of paint, how about buying just one and painting an accent wall instead? Pick the wall that attracts the most attention in a room (the one with the television in the living room, the one against which the bed stands in a bedroom, etc.) and splash a bold/bright new hue across it!

3. Decorating on a budget: Choose your lighting wisely

We’re all for switching over to LEDs (it’ll save you heaps in the long run), but sometimes those lampshades could also do with a touch-up. 

In addition, try replacing mismatched table lamps, with stylish matching ones. Place one on either side of your sofa or bed, and see how the entire room’s style suddenly comes together. 

homify hint: Play with contrast. Pared back, industrial style pendants can look fabulous in a boldly coloured room, while a chandelier in a kitchen ensures a surprising touch of glamour. And we just love Nigella Lawson’s example of draping fairy lights all year-round along mirrors, fireplaces and shelves – they only cost a few pounds, yet the charm and brightness they bring to a room is priceless.

4. Decorating on a budget: Add more light with mirrors

Any budget needs to make room for an extra mirror – it adds visual space, plus helps to reflect light around the room, effectively brightening it up. 

And things really start getting interesting (and more stylish) once we start playing with different colours and designs for those mirror frames.

5. Decorating on a budget: Focus on your floor

Nothing brings a room down like a frayed and stained carpet. If the floorboards beneath are still good, the better option would be to sand them down and paint or stain the wood. 

Your stairs and hallways can be laid with a runner for an extra dose of colour, plus that soft underfoot sensation.

6. Decorating on a budget: Update your pillows

Complex Conservatory on Victorian Rectory:  Conservatory by Vale Garden Houses
Vale Garden Houses

Complex Conservatory on Victorian Rectory

Vale Garden Houses

No money to purchase a new sofa/bed? Then zoom in on those scatter cushions / pillows instead. Find bargain designs at furniture stores (IKEA remains one of our favourites) and experiment with different colours and patterns – be sure to take inspiration from the palette of your walls and floor.

7. Decorating on a budget: Change your window dressing

Maybe your curtains just need to be longer? Curtains and drapes that drop generously to the floor bring an opulent feel to a room. And have you ever considered upcycling linen sheets and throws as window treatment? 

homify hint: Create a focal point in your room by simply updating your window(s). A roller blind is a great low-effort, high-impact idea. Whether you opt for a subtle floral pattern or striking stripes, it’s bound to give your room the bargain boost it needs.

8. Decorating on a budget: Cut even more costs

Art Deco Inspired Riverside Flat : Bermondsey:  Living room by Cassidy Hughes Interior Design
Cassidy Hughes Interior Design

Art Deco Inspired Riverside Flat : Bermondsey

Cassidy Hughes Interior Design

• Did you know that some further education colleges run schemes to give apprentice decorators and builders experience in the community? Usually, this is done for free or at reduced rates – enquire in your area to see if it’s possible for your home’s new look.  

• How about a 'skills swap'? Could you babysit, garden or write a CV for a friend who’s better at painting walls or sanding floors than you? Why not use social media to ask who’s capable of what? 

• YouTube is chock-a-block with online tutorials in everything from painting and tiling to upholstery. 

• When bargaining for items such as furniture and décor pieces, always offer to pay cash. 

• Ask a friend or neighbour to share materials such as paint and fabric, allowing you to negotiate a bulk-buy discount.

Of course there’s a right and a wrong way to do anything. So, let’s take a look at these Small living room decorating mistakes to avoid style blunders.

What other tips do you have for decorating on a budget?
Whitton Drive:  Terrace house by GK Architects Ltd

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