Updated: Sep 11, 2020
As an Interior Designer, there’s no greater joy than landing a project with a very generous budget to source beautiful, high-end and on trend furnishings. But the reality is that most projects are for average, working class families who desire a beautiful and stylish home, without spending their kids’ college savings.
There is a fine line, however, between what’s a reasonable budget and the HGTV culture of redesigning a whole house on a $1000 budget! One of the things I do at every consultation is talk about a client’s budget and their expectations for what it will get them. Clients are usually hesitant to discuss that with their designer, but it is very necessary to set expectations from the very beginning. Sometimes clients just don’t know what designing a room will cost, so it is my job to educate them. It sometimes comes as a shock that a living room design, for example will start at around $20,000. But let’s just say you don’t have $20,000 to redo a room. Should you give up and live with a less than perfect space? Absolutely not! A well designed room has the power to change lives, so why rob yourself of that. Here are a few things you can do to keep your decorating budget in check and still achieve high style!
Repurpose or refresh items that you already have. If you decide to do this, take a very honest look at the piece you wish to repurpose. Please ensure that the piece is the proper scale for the room. Repurposing could mean painting, refinishing, reupholstering, but if the scale is wrong for the room, it won’t work!
Shop flea markets, estate sales, eBay etc.- This is not your ticket to go out and purchase a bunch of second-hand furniture just to fill the space. There should be thought put into whatever you choose, and items should complement the overall design scheme
Mixing high-end with not-so-high-end – I highly encourage doing this anyway, whether I am working with a big budget or not. Invest in quality high-end, high quality pieces that will be used quite a bit, like your upholstery, beds, dressers. Other items such as pillows, and accessories can be on the lower end.
Get it done right the first time – Hire a designer to help you if you are not confident in your decorating skills. Even if it is just for a consultation or to help you come up with a design plan that you can then take and do yourself. I have seen so many people spend good money on furnishings and paint etc, and then two years later hate it so much that they decide to call in an Interior Designer to fix it. It is much better to get it done right the first time. You’re going to spend the money anyway; spend it right. We are developing and will be offering soon a new service called “Mail Order Decorator” where clients can order a full design plan for a room from us and implement it themselves. Details available on my online store.
Decorate in phases. It is overwhelming when you have an entire house to decorate. the best approach is to prioritize and work in phases. Decide if you’d like to start with the public areas like living room, dining room and kitchens first or the private areas such as bedrooms. Getting one room at a time done will give you a sense of order and accomplishment and gets you excited to moving along. Many of my clients do it this way.
Here are a few of my favorite furnishings that will not break the bank, but will definitely give you the look of high style in your home.
This serpentine chest from Steinworld retails for around $750.00
This bed from Wholesale Interiors retails for around $1000.00
This versatile piece from Stanley Furniture can be used as a desk or console or even a small dining room table. It retails for around $1600.00
A beautiful credenza from Steinworld
Nesting tables from Stanley Furniture
Bench/Banquette from Wholesale Interiors. This retails for around $600.00
This bedding and others available on my online store and retails for under $500.00 for the entire set
Or this gorgeous sofa from Ballard Designs that retails for under $2000.00
My advice to you if you decide to take on your decorating project without the help of an Interior Designer, is to plan your purchases carefully, do a furniture layout using either graph paper or by doing a google search for a consumer version of a space plan software.
Look for the best quality and value you can find. Look for pieces that have a feel of timelessness….ask yourself “will I still like this item many years from now?” Try not to buy an entire set of furniture that all matches. Most furniture retailers show a set of furniture to get you to buy more items than you need.
Don’t skimp on your window treatments; they are one of the focal points in a room, and if badly done, can bring the whole room down!
And the most important advice I can give you is to have fun with decorating. Nothing sucks the life and energy out of you faster than a decorating project that leaves you frustrated and overwhelmed. I’m here for you if you need help!