Decorating on a Budget
Whether you have a few hundred dollars for a room makeover, or tens of thousands, you'll need to plan carefully and make tough choices to meet your bottom line. Decorating on a budget isn't about being cheap; it's about being smart, making informed decisions and getting the best value for your money.
Get creative and give your imagination free reign. Initially, pretend that money is no object. Write down everything you'd like to do and buy and be specific. Rather than listing "more storage and display space," think about whether that means adding built-ins or buying a free-standing unit. Although you're indulging in a bit of fantasy, don't forget to include the practical stuff that needs to be fixed. Your fabulous new furniture won't appreciate that ratty, old carpet and cracked plaster walls.
Start itemising your decorating wish list with real costs and your total budget. If you have a whole home to decorate, decide if you need to tackle the project by room or category: carpet, painting, furniture first, then window treatments, etc.
Chances are the budget you initially put together will only cover the 'stuff’. Often people forget to put money in the budget for upholstering, framing, painting and window treatments. If you're wallpapering, don't just factor in the cost of the paper itself - build in extra funds to pay the paper hanger, unless you're confident you can tackle that job yourself.
Put your design blueprint on paper. A plan (a detailed vision of what you want to accomplish with your decorating project) is the best tool you can have. List the work to be done and the items to be purchased along with all quotes obtained from any work to be contracted, as well as the amounts you plan to spend. Using a spreadsheet makes it easy to keep a running tally of what you've budgeted for each item, what you've actually spent and how that affects your bottom line. To help you stay organized and on track, order each item chronologically and set a timeline for getting it done (or bought, delivered and installed).
One of the cheapest ways to transform a room is with paint. It is amazing what you can achieve just with a little colour. Think about painting existing furniture if it is still in good condition, remembering preparation is key or buying second hand and refurbishing.
Then add maybe a rug and some colourful cushions.
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