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Budget Decorating Tips
You have built a new home and you are proud of it. It is your dream to make it look like a well-decorated designer home. But there is a problem. Between your new house payment and other living expenses, it just isn’t in the budget to hire an interior decorator or to buy all new furniture and accessories. Instead, you will need to use your imagination and creativity to decorate your entire house within your available budget. If you think like an artistic crafter and seek inventive ways to decorate, you will be doubly satisfied when you are finished knowing YOU created a home décor that truly reflects your lifestyle and personality while staying within your budget. With these tips from the online article, Decorating On a Budget, and suggestions from three creative interior decorators, you will be well on your way to decorating your new home.
While You Are Building Your New Home
Long before construction of your new house is finished, begin collecting ideas. “Get a notebook or an accordion file and make a section for each room in the house,” remarked, Debbie, one crafty decorator. Now, start looking for color schemes and decorative accent that you like in magazines and home decorating stores. Pay close attention to wall texture, furniture prints and other fabrics such as curtains and tablecloths. When you see something you like, write it in your notebook or put a magazine clipping, paint sample, etc. in the appropriate file. Think about how you can achieve the same look. What materials are inexpensive or readily available? Do you have a piece of furniture that you can refurbish that will serve the same function? Do you have something stored in your basement that will work as a substitute? What things can you make yourself? Perhaps you sew. Making your own dining room tablecloth and runner will save you money over buying from an expensive decorating store. After you have collected ideas and you know the general look and feel for each room in your house, it is time to start decorating your new home.
Walls and Ceiling
It is no secret that painting is the quickest and most inexpensive way to change the look of a room. You can add pizzazz to any room in the house with just a couple gallons of paint. Character is easily added using some of the more common painting techniques such as sponging or rag rolling. By purchasing just a few inexpensive paint supplies available at a local paint or home improvement store, you can add depth to your walls or ceiling. More information about these techniques is available at either type of store and online. Barb, a remodel-decorator who specializes in budget decorating, recommends trying out these techniques to discover what look works best in a particular space. She suggests contacting your local home improvement store. Some offer free hands-on classes on weekends an in the evenings to learn about and try your hand at various painting styles and techniques. You can check out all the different types of faux finishes. Consider different types of paint for extra flair such as sponging with metallic paint over flat paint. The right combination can really make a room explode with personality. You can get advice about everything from flat paint to satin or high gloss paints as well as metallic varieties and glazes.
The lighting in a room greatly affects the mood, atmosphere, use and functionality of any given space. Instead of using overhead lighting in every room, consider using floor or table lamps to highlight specific areas. Not only will you draw attention to that area, but you can add your own personal touch with a colorful or stylish lampshade that reflects your personality suggests Debbie. Also consider installing dimmer switches for those rooms with overhead lighting allowing you to control or set the mood for the task at hand. This works especially well for recessed lighting. Consider adding a ceiling fan where use of the fan seems practical and functional such as in the family room or upstairs bedrooms. If you want to accent a particular color themed room, do it with lighting. A bold colored hanging lamp may do the trick.
Decorating Your Windows
Stylish window treatments will add to the décor of any room. Prints or stripes will accent solid colored walls while solid fabric curtains will make a textured wall pop. Perhaps sewing a strip of colorful trim across the top of a neutral color drape will give your room just the right touch. The author of Decorating On a Budget recommends another simple idea that doesn’t even requiring sewing. Drape yards of fabric over inexpensive curtain rods or scarf hooks and accent it with dinner napkins hung across the top at an angle and complement them with curtain jewelry.
Choosing Furniture Pieces
Creativity is essential when getting buy on a budget. “Almost any item can be used for something other than what it was intended,” comments the author of Decorating On a Budget. An old storage chest may be just right if used as a bench in the foyer or an old trunk may be the perfect coffee table in the family room. Before you begin shopping for furniture, consider what you already have stored in the basement or attic that you have not used in years. You may find the ideal piece of furniture to design and decorate a room around.
When the time comes do start shopping for furniture, remember your budget. Let your imagination go as you check flee markets, thrift stores and garage sales for usable and functional pieces of furniture. It may not be exactly the perfect fit, but often with a little work on your part you can wash, sand, polish, or paint it until it is just the way you like it. Try spray paint. It is very inexpensive and easy to use. In a matter of a few minutes, you can give almost any piece of furniture a brand new look. Slipcovers also offer an easy alternative for large pieces of upholstered furniture. They come in a variety of styles, colors and textures and are widely available. “You may find that ugly print couch from your first apartment no longer has to stay in the basement”, remarks Barb. That inexpensive slipcover you just bought may give it a classic look, just right for the den. If you sew, consider reupholstering couch cushions, pillows and seat cushions of wooden chairs to give them a more tailored and new look.
You might have all the right colors and furniture pieces to decorate a particular room in your new home, but the room is far from complete. “Arrange the furniture in the room the way you think it will work and look best,” suggests Debbie. Live with it for a few days before deciding if this will be your permanent arrangement. Is it functional? Does traffic flow smoothly? Does the seating arrangement work well for conversation? Watching TV? Family activities? If you aren’t satisfied, rearrange and try again. You may discover you have too many pieces of furniture in a particular room. For instance, maybe you only need one end table in the family room. Moving it into the den allows traffic to flow better in the great room and adds functionality in the den. Continue to make adjustments until each room functions the way you want it to while blending with your family’s lifestyle.
Hanging Pictures and Adding Accents
Once the furniture is in place, it is time to hang pictures and add other decorative accents. Decorating On a Budget provides a couple of low-cost tips. Hanging photos, prints and mirrors will add a personal touch to any room in your new home. Mix framed photos with keepsakes, knick-knacks and other family treasures that have personal significance and place them on end tables, sofa tables, bookshelves, nightstands and kitchen counters. Barb recommends going one step further. Have your children create inexpensive yet priceless artwork by purchasing washable craft paint that will enrich or complement your color scheme. Let them paint anything they want on poster board using the colors you provide. Frame their masterpieces and hang them on the walls in the halls, foyer, bathrooms and along the stairs complementing the décor in surrounding rooms.
Barb also likes to spice each room up with a few other decorative accents. Throw pillows, vases, colorful picture frames, candles, lamps, baskets, artwork and pottery work well in most rooms. In the breakfast nook or dining room, try placemats or a handcrafted piece of china. Used embellished hand towels in the bathroom. No matter what accent piece you use be sure it adds a splash of color to each room. If your great room décor is based upon a neutral color pallet, try pumpkin colored candles on the mantle or a bright blue vase on the sofa table. If your bedroom is colored with tones of gray, hang a piece of artwork on the wall in a bold red frame. These colors generate extra visual interest in a room and provide a burst of character.
Bring the Room to Life
Becky is passionate about interior decorating. She insists the rooms of your new home will come to life if you put something living in them. Plants and animals will brighten your home with natural beauty. Potted plants and trees are great for starters and they will pull double duty if they are planted in a decorative pot that works well with your color scheme. She recommends checking garage sales, discount stores and the clearance isle at home improvement stores at the end of the planting season for colorful pots and containers that will complement your décor. Also, consider a terrarium. With just a few plants, potting soil, a clear glass container and some sort of cover or top, you can create a self-watering plant that is interesting to look at and requires no maintenance. Next consider a stylish vase that you can fill with fresh flowers from your garden to serve as the center piece of your dining room table or to accent the vanity in your bathroom. The cheery splash of color will liven any room. Consider your pets. Put the dog’s or cat’s bed in the corner of the family room or den. Believe it or not, a sleeping pet creates a relaxed and comfortable feel in any room. Another idea Becky suggested is to add a fish aquarium to a room. “Colorful fish, colorful rocks, colorful sand and aquatic plants offer a soothing effect.” An aquarium, large or small, creates visual interest and serves as a conversation piece while providing a touch of life to any room. And if you have kids, Becky reveals a hidden bonus, “It is a perfect form of entertainment as they stand at the glass and watch the fish swim for hours.”
No matter how you choose to decorate your new home, remember this is a process that happens over time. Don’t expect to have every room completed in a day or two. Have fun with it and let your imagination run wild. Be resourceful and use a little of your own elbow grease to make things happen. Most of all, remember to stay within your budget. For more decorating ideas, be sure to read Themed Decorating – Rooms in your New House.
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