Decorating on a budget requires imagination and creativity, because if money wasn’t a factor, we’d all go out and buy whatever we liked.
BUT for many of us, budget is one of the main factors that dictates your interior style.
Your home should tell your story, and be filled with the things you love. A great way to begin this process is by introducing ambiance, personality and character to your living space.
With a little thought, your home can tell your story and doesn’t have to break the bank. Practice blending styles, or mixing and matching old, upcycled goods with more contemporary pieces. Here are some simple, budget-friendly ideas you can inject into your living room.
Learn to mix and match
When decorating on a budget, a little creativity goes a long way and stretches your dollar further. Integrating second-hand finds with new pieces gives you an eclectic and individual look, and means you can purchase a few extra things if you’re a little savvy.
Check out local op shops and places like Gumtree and eBay to find key pieces such as side tables, magazine racks or floor rugs. You’d be surprised at how much you can save. The key is to choose wisely and know what you want. This helps you keep on track and ensures you don’t purchase something you might regret later.
Create a cactus-scape
Cactus and succulents are the perfect way to get greenery all year round when you’re on a budget, and are simple to look after as they don’t require much watering or attention. The great thing is most varieties can be propagated, so one cactus or succulent can potentially turn into many plants. These can be picked up cheap at local markets, school fetes or hardware stores.
Be creative with how you pot them and arrange them in your home. Use a mixture of shapes and sizes of cacti and succulents in teacups, big pots, little pots … you name it, and make your very own tablescape.
Budget-friendly coffee table ideas
Pallets are versatile and can be found for very cheap, or for free – check your local classifieds like Gumtree, eBay or make an enquiry at local storage yards or warehouses. We really like this idea of placing castor wheels so the table is moveable. You can either leave the pallet raw or sand it back and paint it a co-ordinating colour to your interior. This look goes great in vintage, industrial and eclectic homes. A fantastic weekend project!
Another cool idea for a coffee table is using a vintage suitcase. You can store things inside the case when not in use – extra storage is always a bonus – and rest your drinks and magazines on top.
You can get glass cut to size to place on top, or just leave it without. It’s a fantastic idea for renters and for people living in small spaces that need multi-functional pieces.
Try a washi tape art wall
A budget-friendly way of getting the same effect as an art wall that won’t cost you a fortune is to gather a series of prints, photographs, or postcards (anything you love, have collected or tells your story) and create a mural on your wall. Washi tape is an incredible tool to fix photographs and prints to your wall as it peels off without marking or removing the paint, and won’t damage your precious photos or artwork. It makes photo wall art easy to switch up, and also means you don’t have to spend extra on framing. This look is great in office spaces, kids’ bedrooms, hallways and kitchens.
Framing your little keepsakes and trinkets in shadow box frames is a fabulous way to show off your smaller items while keeping them safe and sound. You can pick up shadow box frames for just a few dollars.
This idea is great for all the bowerbirds who love collecting. Smaller items present well when grouped together in a series or a collection – it makes a stronger statement, and tells an interesting story. This would be a terrific project to involve your children in.
Collection of candles
Oh, the humble pillar candle! Yes, these can be a great way of making impact with your spare change. Ambiance in a room is instantly created with the flickering of a candle or two, and when grouped together, using various heights and sizes, these candles can create a dazzling feature. In our opinion, sticking to plain white is a good idea as they look simple, effortless and classic.
TIP: It’s best to choose natural, eco-friendly candles such as biodegradable soy wax with cotton wicks and premium fragrance oils, as the common and cheaper Paraffin-based candles are known to release carcinogenic toxic chemicals into the environment (and your home!).
Double your space
You can make a room feel bigger and brighter instantly just by adding a mirror, thanks to its reflecting light. Mirrors can be upcycled and used in a variety of ways, such as being placed on a mantle, hung on a wall or fixed to a wardrobe or the inside of a door.
Add some twinkle
Fairy lights don’t just have to be used outdoors or during the festive season – bring them inside, and in your living room. A simple string of lights can liven up an old book shelf or room, especially at night, and add a little twinkle during the daylight hours. The lights give a warming glow and can make a room feel lived in and loved. To keep it classy, stick with white and, depending on your interior, choose either warm or cool bulbs so they blend in, rather than stick out. Also try not to have them on flashing mode – the intention is to add some peaceful ambiance. It’s another story if you’re having a party, though!