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Designing on a Budget

June 16, 2014
Designing on a Budget

If you think design and budget make for strange bedfellows, think again!

The reality is that most of us need to decorate our homes within a certain dollar amount. Working to a budget need not be a creative killjoy – on the contrary it can still be every bit as fun, but without the financial hangover that lingers when we get a little too ‘relaxed’ with our credit card.

So how can we design on a budget but still love the process as well as the result?

A plan is king.

As Benjamin Franklin said, ‘by failing to prepare you are preparing to fail’. That’s a fairly dramatic way of putting things, but he has a valid point! A plan is the first tool in your bag of tricks to stay on budget. Ask yourself:

What do I want to achieve with the designing?

What is mandatory and must be done ASAP, and what can afford to wait another time?

What furniture can help the design process by simply being moved into another position or another room, or just re-upholstered, re-stitched, re-freshed versus entirely replaced?

What are the wow-factor items that require a considerable portion of the budget, and what are the items that can be achieved with less spend? When considering the answer, don’t just think of visual impact but also frequency of use – e.g. a couch is not only a major furniture piece (and therefore sure to catch the eye), but it is traditionally one of the most used and loved pieces in a lounge room. As such, it requires an investment that reflects its status versus, for example, a lamp that isn’t used much but is nice to have as pleasant accessory.

Consider creating a mood diary, a Pinterest board or a notebook. Fill it with your inspirations and watch over time the styles and looks that keep reappearing. These are where your design heart and head lie, and these will help shape answers to some of your questions.

Hero Davin1

Make a statement with the Berkowitz Furniture Davin Chaise Sofa


Given you’re on House of Home, there’s a good chance you’re already well underway with some quality research! We have literally tens of thousands of new and pre-loved furniture, homewares, bedding and antiques from retailers and private sellers Australia-wide. Our easy search function means you can look for products via their category and location. Additionally you can run far more detailed searches including via brand and price point. By refining your search to a few select sellers, you can contact each of them, find out more about the product and see what deals can be done!

Working bee.

Schools and community groups have been on this winning wicket for years, and the value of a working bee should never be underestimated! By eliminating or reducing paid labour services you can either keep your budget on track, or perhaps even enable you to spend more on products. Big home DIY jobs like painting, tiling and some carpentry doesn’t always have to be done by a professional to look professional! Rallying family and friends not only gets the job done for less, but often at a much faster speed. And it’s so social! Organise a thank-you BBQ and turn it into a bit of fun – you’ll probably be talking about this day at many a future dinner party!

Designing for today…. and tomorrow.

Yves Saint-Laurent used to say that fashion fades but style is eternal. That’s quite a nugget to keep in mind when designing on a budget. Buying an end-of-season deal might seem like a savvy move now, but will it be quite as smart this time next year? By their very nature fads are not intended to last. So look for deals, but ones that will endure with time. If you have to pay that little bit extra for a colour or a texture you know will transcend fashion and remain timeless, then that’s likely to be a sensible long-term budget decision. Yves would approve, we’re sure.

Did someone say accessories?

These homely add-ons are the creative gateway to a successful budget design! Think cushions, throws, vases, book-ends, frames, keepsakes, rugs, mats, ornaments, lamps… the list goes on (and don’t we love it!). Sure, none of these items are truly essential but when it comes to creating a home, layering it with personality and charm, and delivering on-budget, these add-ons pack a punch.
Be creative, be savvy, have fun and deliver on budget. Your home will thank you, your bank balance will thank you, and you will no doubt have acquired many more budget-saving ideas that will come in handy next time (which, with a little planning, is hopefully just around the corner!).

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