How do I Design on a Budget?

Sheri Cyprus

To design on a budget, you may have to go through several drafts of what items and features you'd like. For instance, your initial list of the design projects, furniture and supplies you want may be way over budget. Taking another look and eliminating items that aren't essential can keep your design on a budget. It's often a lot better to buy the basics first rather than too many design elements at once, as this approach tends to overwhelm, rather than enhance, the home's decor.

Creating your own crocheted afghan can saved money while displaying your own unique design.
Creating your own crocheted afghan can saved money while displaying your own unique design.

The first thing to think about when designing or making over the decor of any room, is what the greatest needs are. These priority items should be what you really must have and where the money in your budget should be spent on first. Once you've determined what these key items and costs are, you can then decide how the remainder of the budget should be spent. Of course, if you can reduce the cost of your priority pieces when planning your design on a budget, the more cash you'll have remaining.

Use swatches or samples to assist with color decisions.
Use swatches or samples to assist with color decisions.

A good way to stretch your design budget is to make some smaller items yourself instead of purchasing them. Not only can creating items such as throw pillows, decoupaged trays, paintings and knitted or crocheted afghans save you money, they'll also add your unique personality to your home. Accessorizing your rooms with things, colors and styles you love is absolutely essential to creating a pleasing design on a budget.

Shopping at thrift stores, garage sales and flea markets can save you money. It's important to have a design plan though or you may end up with a mishmash of items that don't coordinate well. Another mistake that's easy to make when shopping for secondhand home furnishings is to buy a lot of small pieces. For instance, too many knickknacks and small occasional tables in a home can appear dated and make rooms seem cluttered.

To keep on track with a cohesive design plan, create a board in which you include fabric swatches, paint chips, magazine cutouts and any other elements that represent the decor items your budget allows. On the back of the piece of white cardboard, or other type of board, list everything you need to buy with columns for the estimated and the actual costs. By keeping to this plan as you go, you can design on a budget while also staying within your color scheme and overall mood of the room you want to create.

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