Creating and styling a space that is unique to you doesn’t have to be a task that deflates your bank account. The potential for savings are all around you, you just have to do a little digging around, brush up on your furniture knowledge and fully explore the possibilities that exist when you take creation into your own hands.
After factoring out the costs of our homes and vehicles, the furniture and decor that populates our houses is easily one of the next largest expenses that we have. While many high end furniture shops offer some pretty stellar pieces of furniture they can come with some pretty hefty price tags. Instead of going this route consider some of the following:
Wood You Could You
The hallmark of a great table, chair or bookcase is often the wood that it is constructed from. Grains, stains and thickness can often all come together to make a pretty spectacular piece. On the outset, most wood furniture falls into one of the following three categories: solid, veneer and particle.
Solid wood will generally have the highest price tag associated with it, but with all of the innovations that have come out in the last decade, selecting a piece from one of the other categories can often be just as convincing as the first. Veneered furniture is usually constructed from very cheap wood but then covered with several layers of more expensive wood, giving the piece the appearance of higher quality.
Designing on a budget is all about exuding the same sense of style that higher priced pieces give without the associated costs. Using veneered furniture for bookcases, tables and some chairs is a great route to take when looking to bring elegance to a space on a budget.
If you want to save even more, consider picking up a few inexpensive particle board pieces then sanding and staining them, perhaps even adding some texture through paint or other materials to achieve a high class look at a low cost price.
The Ins and Outs of the Bigger Pieces
Bigger pieces of furniture need careful attention given to them. Rather than focusing on the now, think about how these pieces will adapt with you as your tastes begin to change. Often times our living rooms, bedrooms and other spaces go under many different changes. What worked in a space at one time may not be so effective in another.
I remember picking out a lime green sofa right after I graduated University. The sofa was by no means cheap but it was absolutely adorable in the flat that I was renting at the time. That statement right there should have been warning enough. The space that I was utilising already had an expiration date and here I was investing a sizable amount of money into a piece of furniture that I would probably never be able to use in the same way ever again. In the end, I soon moved out and into a new space where try as I might, that same green sofa that looked stunning in my previous home looked out of place and clunky in the next. I ended up selling the piece for a fraction of what I paid for it. Lesson learned.
Unlike what I did, try to stick to neutral colors, whites and greys. Instead of having the fabric of the sofa be the focal point, make the colour tie-ins come through the accent pieces. Consider less costly items like throw pillows, small blankets and other trimmings for the role. These items can be the stand-in, adding a pop of colour that appeals to your current tastes.
Utilise a Good Sale
Often times it can be wholly appealing to purchase a piece of furniture that immediately catches our eyes. The problem with this is that the first piece we see is often not the best price. Waiting for a good sale or clearance item can really help you save when it comes to furnishing your home. Do you have your eye on a canopy bed? Instead of splurging on an expensive frame, try your hand at re-creating the look with cheap wood posts and plastic railing covered by a nice sheer drape or other fabric. Use the DIY as a stand in until the right sale comes along and you can get that piece that you have had your eye on all while saving in the process.
Scout Out What’s Used
Just like the woman who bought my lime green sofa, don’t overlook what savings you can achieve by purchasing second hand. With the proliferation of sites like Craigslist and eBay the possibilities for designing on a budget are only limited to your patience.
Simply bookmark a page with the keywords of the item you are looking for. For example, I was on the lookout for a cheap end table a few years ago. Every morning when I would check my email, I would also hop over to Craigslist to scour what new end tables were listed from the day before. After about two and a half weeks I found the perfect addition to my living room at a fraction of the cost that I would have paid for it new.
Embrace the World of DIY
Putting your own creative juices to work is another trademark of achieving elegance at a low price. Sites like Pinterest and the DIY Network have a smorgasbord of ideas just waiting to be utilised. Here are a few that I have used that have been an integral part of achieving a design aesthetic that won’t have me scraping the bottom of my change purse.
I have lived in my fair share of spaces that had no distinguishable points of separation from kitchen to living room to bedroom. In order to bring some semblance of enclosure I have used drapes, bookcases and entertainment centers to wall of different portions of the living area.
If you are looking for something to spruce up your walls with, consider purchasing a few old empty picture frames of various sizes. Depending on their style, colour and grain, you may not even need to put anything inside of them. Simply arrange them in a visually interesting way!
When putting the finishing touches on a space, it is often easy to overlook the ceiling, don’t! Adding a striking splash of colour to the ceiling can really be the missing design choice that will tie a space together. The web is alive with countless visualiser programs that let you upload a photo you have taken and then add colour to it to see what works and what doesn’t.
about the author
Since graduating University Emily Wright has spent time writing for a number of publications both print and on the web. Emily now works with the furniture creation gurus at Love Your Home For Less, a corner sofa supplier. When not writing, Emily can be found making a mess of her art room and attempting to cook too good to be true recipes from Pinterest.