Condo design on a budget

Clever ideas for decorating your space affordably

There’s this misguided idea that we need to spend a small fortune to add high style and personality to our homes. While that is true in some instances, with investment pieces like a quality living room couch or a bed, you don’t have to go over budget to elevate your home design. Some foolproof design ideas will instantly add a wow factor.

Create your vision board

The essential step in decorating is starting with your vision or master plan before you buy anything. It takes restraint, but you don’t want to go shopping first for pieces you’re not confident will fit in your home – it can be a costly mistake. Pull together paint colour and fabric swatches, images you find inspiring online (Pinterest is the best for this), and magazine clippings from your favourite decor publications. From there, you will gravitate towards an overall look and feel that you like best and want to achieve in your home.

Don’t do everything all at once

Thinking about every room in your home and what you want to do can be overwhelming, so take it slow, stay patient, and start with one room at a time. It will eliminate that anxiety about trying to tackle a massive project all at once. If you’re looking to purchase big items (a new couch, bed, dining room table, etc.), try to stay as neutral as possible with the colour, style, and fabric choices. You don’t want to tire of these big-ticket items quickly and eventually replace them – they should last years. By staying neutral (and not falling victim to a trend), you won’t get tired of your pieces, and you can always change up your look with soft furnishings (like pillows, throws, and accents), which are much less expensive.

Keep scale in mind

When designing a new space or revamping an existing one, it’s very easy to get caught in the moment and want to splurge and buy all the (new) things. That’s why the scale is essential – not only does it curb our impulses, but it gives us a literal translation of what can fit into our space and what we actually need. Take measurements of your space or new pieces you’re looking to purchase and assess whether they’ll work or contribute to “over-stuffing” our space (which happens more times than you realize!). Think about the purpose, too: How will you use these pieces in your home, and do they matter to the overall quality of living in your home.

Stick with the essentials first

Remind yourself that designing or redesigning your home is a process. Stick with the essentials first – the “must-haves” and can’t-live-without — then gradually incorporate the remainder items, accessories, and artwork over time. Enjoy the time spent! It can be a lot of fun sourcing antique markets, road-tripping to vintage shops, or perusing a gallery for that piece of art on your next vacation. You will appreciate what you’ve found and the journey you’ve taken to get there by taking your time.

Fresh paint

Paint is one of the easiest and least expensive ways to transform your rooms. A fresh coat can immediately refresh your space and give it new life. If you’re not thrilled about painting an entire room, think about an accent wall or even painting the trim – it can still create an exciting new visual appeal.

Make the most of what you have

Take stock of your existing pieces and move things around or to another room. It’s surprising how pieces can feel born anew once you move them into a different space. It’s also a great exercise in seeing what you don’t need and already have.

Change accents and fixtures

Another budget-friendly hack is swapping out your existing fixtures in your kitchen and bathrooms with new knobs or handles or your lighting fixtures with unique lamp shades. New throw pillows can update a space and consider bringing in fresh linens for our change in seasons, too.