Reinventing the look of your home is a massive project, and one that can easily run up a substantial bill as you splash out on furniture, art, lighting, and installations. There are a number of ways you can transform your space and exercise your creativity without breaking the bank.
Decluttering for a minimalist home
Perhaps it sounds obvious, but the very first thing you can do to revitalise your room and give it a breath of fresh air is simply to clear out all the clutter. Whether you merely tidy it away out of sight, sell it, give it away to friends, family, or charity, or simply throw it away, it’s hard to design anything elegant when every visible surface is covered in mess. You might do it all in one go, or chip away at the jumble over a period of weeks and months, but ensuring that everything on display is truly meaningful will quickly give your home a fresh, clean look, even before you’ve added anything new. Not only does this rejuvenate your space without costing you a penny, it may even make you some money, as you could list some of your unwanted items on eBay.
Before you hit the shops for new acquisitions, why not raid your own house first? Some of the things you remove from a given room could be repurposed elsewhere in the house. Transposing a chair, side table, lamp or other item that doesn’t quite work in one room to another will instantly change the feel of both rooms. Casting a critical eye over everything you own and assessing whether it is truly in the best location can work wonders for shaking things up in your home, and taking photos of all your furniture can save you time as you move from room to room, looking for new locations.
Customising the items you own
So, you’ve identified that your coffee table doesn’t quite work in your room. Perhaps it’s the wrong colour, the wrong size, or the wrong shape; it may be tempting to discard it and go shopping for a more appropriate replacement, but it’s useful to remember that it may be possible to customise that existing furniture and bring it more in line with your vision.
It would be simple enough to give it a lick of paint (perhaps even just around the edges), or further tailor it by attaching some glass to the top or shortening the legs a little to tweak its proportions. This thinking can apply to anything in the room; if you’re comfortable with fabric you could sew a new trim onto the curtains, or create a new tablecloth. With a little creativity and craft you may be able create the perfect furniture and accessories for your home by simply redressing and adjusting the items you already own.
Redesigning your home with new accessories
Another way to transform existing items of furniture is by acquiring new embellishments for them. Why not get a colourful throw for your old sofa, or some bold new cushions? You can transform a tired old lamp with a new lampshade, or change the character of the floor with a well-chosen rug.
Even changing the pictures on the walls in favour of something new can breathe fresh life into a room. Before you abandon an item for not fitting the new vision of what the room should be, you can consider if there’s something you could put on or in it that would change its personality.
Reupholstering your furniture
Before you abandon your existing sofa for being covered with the wrong colour or fabric, it may be cheaper to reupholster it than to replace it with an all-new couch. Try to think about the sofa from a structural point of view – if it is the right shape and size already, then refitting it with new material may make more sense than shopping around for another perfectly-proportioned chair. Reupholsterers often use better fabrics than those utilised in the original manufacture of a sofa, and it may be the case that the old couch in your house is structurally a better quality product than the mass produced ones often sold today.
Painting your house on the cheap
If you’re looking to revamp a room while funds are tight, there are much worse investments than a pot of paint. Painting the walls a fresh, light colour can make the space seem bigger and brighter; on the other hand, opting for a strong, saturated colour can give a room a bold new personality.
Even if you lack the means to paint the entire room, picking one end and turning it into a striking accent wall can completely transform the feel of a space. Alternatively, simply painting the trim around the base of the room with an arresting colour is another way to change things up without using gallons of paint.
Using greenery to bring life into a room
Minimalist, modern living spaces can look clean and elegant, but there is always a danger of them seeming just a little lifeless. The good news is that just about any room can be made more appealing with the addition of greenery. It doesn’t even have to be real; good quality faux plants will create the illusion of life and verdancy, and don’t require any maintenance at all.
On the other hand, natural plants can offer additional benefits, releasing oxygen into the air and absorbing harmful compounds from cigarette smoke. In fact, leafy green plants can also help to muffle sound, which might be useful for those who live in a noisy building or a loud city.
Designing your home around second-hand chic
Acquiring new things for your home doesn’t mean they have to be new; hitting the second-hand shops, markets, garage sales, charity shops, eBay and Gumtree can be a great way to find stylish items on the cheap, especially if your interior design vision can hinge on rustic items with personality. Second-hand furniture can either be deployed as-is, or with a lick of paint and some creativity it can be upcycled into something new and seemingly tailor-made for your home.
Art, too, doesn’t have to be brand-new; it’s luck of the draw what you can find, but every so often something can turn up, and an eagle-eyed interior designer can snap up the perfect painting or print for a wallet-friendly price. Small works of art can be given more presence by mounting them in an oversize frame, too, to create an art gallery look.
Transforming your home with lighting
A good way to completely transform the vibe and character of a room is to change the lighting. By placing lamps with care, you can throw light into new areas and create interesting shadows, altering the way you perceive the space and modifying the mood. Warm, diffused lighting in an otherwise dim space can create an intimate feeling; bright, cool lighting can create a focused environment for work.
Getting the most from natural lighting is also an important consideration, with lightly coloured walls and careful mirror placement working wonders for reflecting sunlight back into the room.
Finding great deals for home renovation
Sometimes it can’t be avoided – you simply need a new kitchen, a new bathroom, or a loft or garage conversion. While projects of this nature can potentially stretch a budget, there’s still room to economise, whether by doing some of the work yourself, calling in favours, or waiting for sales and discounts on the things you need. For some jobs it’s unavoidable to have to hire professionals, but it can help to use a service like Trust A Trader or Check A Trade to see if their previous clients have been happy with the value offered and to ensure you get a good deal, or otherwise select a company with an excellent reputation and track record.
Using a focal point in your interior design
An inexpensive way to create a room with impact is to pick one key item and design the space around it – a ‘focal point’. Whether it’s a striking art piece, antique clock, or stylish coffee table, you can design the room to ensure the viewer’s eye is drawn to the chosen item by being mindful of lines, symmetry, balance, contrast, colour and lighting. It can be something that is innately part of the room, too – an elegant door, perhaps, or a beautiful fireplace. Making sure the visitor’s attention is drawn to something attractive is a great way of making your room more appealing.
In the example image above, the bookcases and the drawer unit create a symmetrical context for the painting, which has been placed on a blue wall – orange and blue are complementary colours, and the result is a striking ‘pop’ of colour in the centre of the room.
Ultimately, there are many ways to breathe new life into your living space without spending a fortune. From getting the most out of the things you already own, to shopping carefully and finding the best deals, a little creativity and patience can go a long way towards helping you shape your dream home.
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