Design on a Budget

WRITER | ANDREA NEWTON
PHOTO| BUDGET BLINDS

Whenever you start thinking about redecorating your home, the first thing that comes to mind is budget. You may have only a couple hundred dollars to spend on a room makeover or tens of thousands. Regardless, you’ll need to plan carefully and make smart budgeting choices along the way. Decorating on a budget isn’t about being cheap, it’s about being smart. Make the right decisions that will give you the best value for your money using these simple tips.

Establish a Wish List
Let your inner designer run free with a wish list of items you would like to have when redecorating your home or a specific room. Think about paint color, furniture, fixtures, storage space, etc. This is the first step in establishing all the things you wish to have after you’re done decorating. The sky’s the limit in this step, so have fun with it!

Understand Price Tags
Now that you have determined items you hope to have in your home, it is time to familiarize yourself with cost. Do your research and look at multiple stores, catalogs, and the internet to find the best price for what you love. Don’t allow yourself to impulse buy right off the bat; you will want to track sales and make sure you’re getting your money’s worth on every single item. Also, take advantage of free in-home consultations to familiarize yourself with costs.

Prioritize Purchases
Keep a running list of your wish list and the cost for each item, then subtract them from your total budget as they are purchased. Make sure to keep this list in front of you at all times so you don’t go off track or splurge. Prioritize “need” over “want” to make sure you are making smart purchases. You may have been eyeing a chic, colorful wallpaper for an accent wall, but realize a pop of painted color will be more budget friendly and could be just as beautiful in your space. Tackle each item one by one and prioritize which are most important. For example, you need new window treatments now but can wait on that new sofa for a later time.

Keep a Timeline
The best advice when redecorating your home is to stay organized and on track! Order each item based on what you need first in order to keep going with your design. Take into consideration the timeframe for buying your items, delivery, and installation. By chronologically purchasing your items, you are also able to spread out your budget, so it doesn’t all hit at once.

Splurge Here and There
Okay, this may sound insane when you are thinking of a budget guide, but allow yourself to splurge on important features that are “wow” items— things you first notice in a space. This could be new flooring, custom window treatments, cabinets, or well-made furniture or art. Make sure these items are worth what you are spending and will serve you well over time. As long as these items are things you can see yourself loving for a long time and won’t want to replace in the near future, then it’s okay to allow yourself to splurge a little.

Trendy Accessories
We all know trends come and go, so don’t make anything too permanent when redecorating. Allow yourself to get trendy new items on a budget that aren’t big-ticket items. Custom throw pillows are a great way to stay on trend, making your room look like a million bucks (our little secret). They make an impact and add comfort— win, win! Another great budget-friendly option is an area rug. If you don’t have the budget to tackle new hardwood floors, an area rug will add texture and design to your space.

Unexpected Expenses and Phases
Keep in mind that unexpected expenses can occur when you are decorating your home. Set aside a percentage of your overall budget (10-15 percent) for unforeseen expenses so you aren’t scrambling at the last minute. Sometimes the labor costs more than you initially thought or a DIY project didn’t turn out as expected so you have to make a more expensive purchase. With that in mind, you also don’t have to do all of your redecorating right away. Allow yourself to spread out expenses and implement your design in phases.

Take Your Time and Do it Right!
Decorating your home or a specific space is a lot of fun but can take a toll on your wallet. Make smart decisions and stay within your budget to make it a more enjoyable and stress-free process. Time to get decorating— can’t wait to see how it turns out!