When it comes to creating the rooms that will make your home look like the glossy pages of an interior design magazine, you may have come to the depressing conclusion that you simply can’t afford to deck your halls in the same fashion as designers do. Even without the cost of labor to consider, you still have to shell out major money for the renovations, furnishings, and finishing touches to make your room look like it was created by a pro. Or do you? Is it possible to create a reasonable facsimile of the high-end rooms you see featured in magazines when you’re operating on a limited budget? In truth, understanding the principles behind the design is all you need to find the right options without breaking the bank. So here are just a few tips for the budget-minded interior designer when it comes to selecting stylish home furnishings for less.
Start by looking at the layout of the rooms you admire. Are they cluttered or does there seem to be quite a bit of airiness? Are the furniture groupings featured possible for your space? Will you need to buy new pieces or can you make over the ones you’ve got? And what is it, exactly, that you like about particular pieces (the color, texture, size, shape, and so on)? These are all questions you can ask in an effort to figure out what you’ve got to work with and how you can modify the items you love to get the feeling you want without having to purchase the uber-expensive samples shown.
Once you have figured out whether or not the items currently in your home can be transformed, it’s time to determine how. If you have a comfortable sofa that is the basic size and style you want you can simply have it reupholstered in a fabric similar to the one you like in the magazine. And if the overstuffed loveseat and chair that go with it are simply too much for your small space, sell them on Craigslist and use the money to buy yourself a matching set of smaller chairs to go with your new sofa. The trick here is using what you have as a basis for redesigning your room and then making small changes for maximum impact.
Along those lines, you’ll need to prioritize. Consider picking one nice item that you just love and then building the rest of the room around it with compromise pieces that approximate the other items in your inspirational photos. You can probably afford to splurge a bit in one area if you save everywhere else. And keep in mind that estate sales and other second-hand options are available to help you find a wide variety of cool and kitschy pieces at drastically reduced costs. You have to see the potential in a piece and then put in a little TLC to make it your own. This is especially true for non-essential extras like tables, lamps, and room dressings (frames, candlesticks, plants, etc.). There’s no good reason to overspend in these areas.
And don’t be afraid to ask for help. Whether you’re wondering about how to mix color and pattern effectively, you’re seeking a piece of furniture that is as close to your inspiration as possible, or you’re interested in learning about the most modern materials on the market (what is Ipe?), your family and friends can give advice, opinions, and possibly even a line on less expensive ways to furnish the designer home you’ve always dreamed of.