Interior Design Ideas: Designing on a Budget


Turning your home or apartment into a beautiful living space, even one with an expensive look, doesn’t need to be expensive. The first step, though, is to make a firm decision about your color scheme and the look you want. That will help you stay on budget when you find something appealing that won’t fit your plan.

Become an at Home Browser

Browse the rooms of your home and imagine how you might use things in different ways. A wide pashmina scarf could become a table runner or a window swag. Swapping nightstands and end tables could bring needed storage to the living room.

Become a Garage Sale and Thrift Store Browser

Browsing garage sales, thrift stores, and second-hand stores as you did your home leads to many useful discoveries from furniture to decorative accent pieces. A decorative teacup could hold potpourri or a small dried flower arrangement. An interesting plate could be mounted and framed as wall art. In a small apartment, an occasional table could become a dining table, or a small cabinet could extend kitchen cupboard space.

Become a Do-It-Yourselfer

Another way to save money is to learn how to refinish and reupholster furniture, rewire lamps, and sew your own drapes, curtains, throw pillows, and slipcovers. Many fabric stores sell upholstery fabrics, drapery fabrics, lace panels, and drapery lining fabrics. Upholstery fabrics and heavier drapery fabrics can be used for throw pillows, and drapery fabrics and some heavier clothing fabrics can be used for tablecloths.

The cord trims in the home decor fabric department give the edges of a pillow a more refined, finished look, and the fringes are good edgings for throws. A larger, 22″ pillow filled with a 24″ pillow form with a large covered-button made with a kit from the notion department will look fuller and more luxurious than standard throw pillows.

Those same stores will have how-to books, and they may offer classes. You can also purchase how-to books online or find free instructions on Web sites and YouTube.

Become a Painter, or Even a Remodeler (Sort of)

If you own your own home or if your landlord gives permission, painting is one of the least expensive ways to create a new look. While apartment dwellers may have had enough of all white walls, homeowners may find the look elegant. Another option is to choose a rich, neutral shade and add each season’s new, trendy colors with inexpensive accent pieces. For an even more luxurious look, purchase a wide crown molding from a home remodeling store to provide a finished connection between the walls and the ceiling.

When it comes to creating a new look for your home, a budget is no limit.