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Design Tips for Homeowners on a Budget

Written by Carla Hill on Wednesday, 13 July 2011 7:00 pm
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Having your home look like a million bucks doesn't have to cost you big. Following a few simple design tips and researching the latest styles can help you can transform your dull space into divine living.

The first rule of budget design is to have a clear focus. Work on one room and one design at a time. The reasoning behind this is simple. It's too easy to go over budget if you are shopping for multiple projects at the same time. By focusing on one room, you can be clear on what items you really need.

To know what items you need, come up with a design plan. You might have a great design mind and can plan a room from scratch, but most of us need guidance. Where are good places to get inspiration?

  • Friends and family who have enlisted the help of professional decorators in the past may have rooms you'd like to emulate. Take tips from their rooms, but personalize them to your taste. After all, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.

  • Design magazines show you a range of styles. Pick an inspiration room and copy it.

  • Furniture showrooms have really stepped up their game in the past few years. They can be full of great new ideas for color schemes, bedding, and more!

  • Celebrities can afford to pay top dollar for the industry's leading interior designers. A simple online image search will show you top celebrity homes that have been featured in magazines.

Now that you're inspired, develop a solid design plan. In a notebook or on your computer, draw out your future room. Choose colors and patterns. The clearer the design in your head, the more closely you'll be able to create it. Use this drawing to create a shopping list of items.

Don't do any shopping, though, until you calculate a budget. How much can you afford to spend? Even $100 can make a huge difference in a room. New paint, throw pillows, and curtains can be inexpensive changes, especially if you know the tricks of budget shopping.

Budget design means going outside of retail shopping. Garage and estate sales can be wonderful shopping grounds, especially if you already have an idea of what you need. However, don't compromise style for cost. The last thing you want to do is spend money on something that doesn't' really work.

Clearance is your best friend. Shop sales, use coupons, and always take a look at clearance racks. Don't forget about online clearance as well. Many stores have fabulous deals and minimal shipping costs.

You can do anything you set your mind to. A great way to save money is to do projects yourself. An upholstered headboard, for example, can cost upwards of $500, but building one yourself can cost less than $100. Headboards, shelving, pillows, and artwork are all within the reach of any amateur. YouTube is a wonderful resource for how-to videos. Plus, it's free!

Another money saving tip is to use faux instead of luxury goods. This means faux silk curtains instead of real silk. Choose laminate floors over hardwoods. Use faux fur instead of real fur, which looks just as great and is also cruelty free.

Finally, reuse what you already have. You may have items in others areas of your home that will now work for your newly designed space.

The key to budget designing is to have a clear plan and to stick to you. Do this and you're sure to have a room of which you're proud.

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Individual news stories are based upon the opinions of the writer and does not reflect the opinion of Realty Times.
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