If you’ve got the urge to give your space a fresh look but your cash flow is holding you back, there are lots of ways to redecorate on a budget. We polled some of Ottawa’s top designers and decorators for their tips on ways to save money when redecorating.
Rather than buying new furniture, consider re-upholstering, says interior designer Tanya Collins, especially if they are good quality construction, have good proportions and are comfortable. And to keep things economical, adds designer Anne-Marie Brunet, check out discount fabric stores for discontinued fabrics, which are often reduced by more than 50 per cent.
2. Re-purpose what you’ve got
Re-use your decor pillows, if they’re in good shape. New and fresh covers will spruce up your space, says decorator Kristi Blok. “You will be amazed at how much money that saves.”
Another way to re-purpose: Paint an old piece of furniture to give it new life in a fresh or vibrant colour, says Brunet. If you’re short on ideas for re-purposing what you already have, Brunet suggests checking out Pinterest, which is full of upcycling/re-purposing ideas.
3. Make it personal
Using items that have special meaning to your family adds to the comfort and enjoyment of your room, says designer Catherine Pulcine of CPI Interiors. Think collectables, photos and artwork — and move them around and into groupings.
4. Pick your shopping spots
Shop vintage or recycled furniture shops, says Brunet. “A lot of items end up here as a result of people making mistakes when purchasing, or moving/downsizing.”
Also check out scratch-and-dent or clearance spaces at retail stores as an opportunity to redecorate on a budget. A piece with a small blemish can often be easily and inexpensively repaired by an upholsterer or furniture refinisher and you’ll help the environment by saving these pieces from going to a landfill.
5. Be choosy
It’s much easier to redecorate on a budget and stick to the budget if you identify what you need to replace or upgrade and stick to those items only, notes Brunet.
6. Take your time
If your budget allows for only a few things, decorate over time, says Pulcine. But this means you need to have a plan of the overall look to work from.
7. Mix high and low
Spend more on pieces you will use more, like furnishings, suggests Collins. “Comfort is luxury; accessories, like cushions or throw blankets, can always be interchanged depending on the season.”
8. Move it around
Speaking of interchanging, move around the rugs within your home to give you a different look, assuming the size is right for your space, says Collins. Or rearrange your room’s furniture, if the space allows for another option.
“Sometimes we get bored of seeing the same stuff in the same way day after day,” adds Blok. She suggests you look around and “shop your home.” Take the art from one room and put it in a new room; create a wall gallery with some items you already have; switch your decorative items such as knick-knacks and pillows from room to room.
“You will still get a fresh look and maybe fall in love with your items again.”
9. Accessorize: A smart way to redecorate on a budget
An easy and inexpensive way to add some pop is to buy new throw cushions in a lively pattern to spruce up a tired space, says Collins.
10. Paint it
Or you can paint, Collins suggests. Paint is the go-to as a way to redecorate on a budget and transform a space. For a minimal cost, a fresh coat of paint on the walls can give a whole new look, even if you change nothing else in the room.
11. Light it up
Lighting makes an instant change, notes Pulcine. Add lamps with different wattage or dimming capability. And if you have basic builder ceiling fixtures, consider changing them out.
12. Think of the details
Small changes can make a big difference, says Blok. For a minimal cost and easy install, try replacing and updating your cabinetry hardware (so pulls and knobs) in your kitchen and bathroom.
13. Don’t be afraid of DIY
“There are some small projects around the home that you could probably tackle yourself and you would save tons by not involving a professional,” says Blok. Painting a small space like a bathroom or home office or re-upholstering seats on a dining chair or bench: “There are lots of how-to videos on YouTube and Pinterest pins that can walk you through this and it really updates the space.”
14. Bring the outdoors in
Rooms always look fresh and bright with a touch of nature, Blok adds. But fresh cut flowers get expensive and they don’t last, so opt for potted plants instead. Some varieties will also do double duty improving the air quality. A fresh herb garden in the kitchen is also a great idea when your goal is to redecorate on a budget.
15. A final note
Hiring a professional will save you money and time, says Pulcine. “It is a good investment.” A pro will be able to make sure that the items chosen fit and work well together.
If you don’t know where to start when it comes to redecorating, begin by collecting photos of rooms you like. As you do, a vision of a style will emerge that your designer or decorator can help translate into a space that works for you.
Originally published July 2017.