Seven Tips for Designing on a Budget / by Kevin Twitty

It's no secret, if you want that high-end designer look for your home you will pay for it. Truth be told, we do not all have the budget to start from scratch and do everything brand new with the nicest the design world has to offer right now. Even my highest end of clients have rooms in their home they do not want to break the bank on. So, how do you design on a budget? Well, here are my tips that will help budget conscious connoisseurs design on a dime (or two). 

1. Become a "bargainista"

This may be the best advise for anyone who is wanting to save money. Nearly every store has their "scratch and dent" area. Many times the things may not even be damaged, rather discontinued or returned because someone else didn't love it as much as you will. If you are working with a designer, ask them if any of the manufactures they are sourcing from has discontinued and discounted products. 

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2. Mix in Ikea and other budget friendly stores

Ikea has this reputation of "disposable furniture," which is not entirely incorrect, however, their product serves a purpose! Doing an entire home is not going to give you that designer feel, however, mixing in a piece here or their is a great way to save a few dollars while still looking great. My suggestion is to use some of their pictures frames, vases, indoor plants (click here to see how to keep them alive), and even a side table or dresser for a guest bedroom. I even have some Ikea pieces throughout my own home and it doesn't feel cheap because I have mixed it in with other quality designer selections.

Ikea Desk and Chair in a girls bedroom.

Ikea Desk and Chair in a girls bedroom.

These Ikea dining chairs are stunning in the high end home design.

These Ikea dining chairs are stunning in the high end home design.

3. Pop in pillows that show your personality

Ask my clients, I am addicted to fun pillows! While some pillows are jaw droppingly gorgeous and will set you back $500 a piece, for my bargainistas out there, we like a pillow that is $40-$80. By adding in a pillow that shows your personality, you can create the story you want your home to tell guests when they come over. Here are some of my favorite pillows under $80

Stylish pillows Under $80

Stylish pillows Under $80

4. Create your own art

The cardinal sin in my designer book is ignoring your walls. They need just as much, if not more, love then the rest of your house. It is THE way to make a house feel like a completed home. Wall art can be very costly to your design budget, so I say, create your own! You may be thinking, "Kevin, I'm no artist," to which I reply, "hogwash." You do not have to be an artist to create art for your home. If you are scared to take on painting a canvas my suggestion is to take photos from your travels or take photos around your city, and have them developed (yes, that is still a thing). Grab some great, inexpensive picture frames from Target or Ikea, and create a collage. This is such a cost effective way to make a statement and give your walls some love! (click here for how to create a college properly) 

Created a series of art in a home office from my client's travel photos.

Created a series of art in a home office from my client's travel photos.

5. Flea market finds

Confession: I am addicted to the show Flea Market Flip and while you and I may not have an expert team of carpenters willing to give me their services for free, I feel like it has highlighted how upcycling is a great way to not break the bank. An added bonus is you get to bring new life to something that may have been discarded and forgotten. Of course a few things you find may need a little TLC, this is well worth it to have the satisfaction of having a unique piece for your interior design. (click here for more upcycling tips)

Summer Flea Market. Can't wait to see what goodies I can find!

Summer Flea Market. Can't wait to see what goodies I can find!

Fabric scraps can be used to sew fun throw pillows or even as edging on drapes.

Fabric scraps can be used to sew fun throw pillows or even as edging on drapes.

Old Japanese wooden figured could make fantastic bookshelf accessories.

Old Japanese wooden figured could make fantastic bookshelf accessories.

6. Give a new life to things you already have

Similar to a lot of upcycling principals but you already own it! Sometimes you may have things in your house that are underutilized because you stick them in the wrong spot, or even ry to hide them because you don't think they can fit into the designer style you are trying to accomplish. I say to you, think outside of the box! One way I have had friends and clients update something they already had was with a DIY paint party! It's the quickest and easiest way to bring new life into something you already have!

Turning old furniture into something new

Turning old furniture into something new

Before and after furniture transformation

Before and after furniture transformation

7. Declutter 

Sounds easy enough right? Well then, just do it, declutter. The moment you organize your home's interior is the moment you uncover the beauty right in front of you. It will allow you and your guests to see the style you have created. 

Before: cluttered & no focus

Before: cluttered & no focus

After: organized and stunning

After: organized and stunning