Redecorating your living space, whether a complete overhaul or just a room or two, is often an exciting prospect. Should you paint that wall or find a new piece of art to go on it? Should you reupholster your couch or get a completely different one? Is it time to refinish those hardwood floors or just get an area rug that successfully covers all the trouble spots?
The possibilities seem endless — endless, that is, until they’re unkindly tempered by the reality of how much money you actually have to work with. Just because your purse strings are tighter than your want list is no reason to give up your desire to remake your space. Here are five essentials for successfully redecorating on a budget from doing it yourself to getting creative with your funds.
1. Get Creative With Funds
If you don’t have any money saved for your redecorating project, you’re going to have to get creative with funding it. Eat at home for an entire month and set aside the money you would have spent eating out. Another option is to file your taxes as soon as you get your W-2, and then, use your refund to purchase what you’ll need.
You could also charge what you need on a credit card and then transfer the balance to a card with a lower interest rate. If you get creative with the money you do have, you should be able to find a way to redecorate even when you’re short on funds.
2. Commit to Your Budget
Once you’ve emptied your piggy bank, cashed your refund check, and otherwise scoured your couch cushions for coins, commit to your budget. Yes, there will be items that you’ll have to do without, visions you’ll have to leave unrealized, but going into debt in order to redecorate can have long-lasting and dire consequences.
Besides, having a budget to stick to can help you find solutions to redecorating problems that may have otherwise eluded you. As writer Flannery O’Connor put it, “Art transcends its limitations only by staying within them.” The same could be said about redecorating budgets.
3. Make a Plan
Once you’ve come up with some funding and determined your budget, set about making a plan. While you may want to remake your entire space, the limitations of your budget will help you be realistic. Choose to bite off only what you can chew.
Do you want your living room to feel brighter and more open? Painting may suffice. Does your home office need to become a nursery? You’ll only need to purchase a crib and other baby-centered items. Whatever it is you settle on doing, make a plan that accounts for what you’re trying to accomplish, the money you have, and the time available for you to complete it.
4. DIY What You Can
One of the great benefits of redecorating on a budget is that, if you’re willing to do a lot of the work yourself, you can accomplish quite a lot. Here is just a smattering of DIY projects for the go-getting redecorator:
• The “new” couch. Instead of buying a new sofa, just reupholster the old one.
• The updated kitchen. Paint your cabinets, and install new pulls for all the drawers and doors, and while you’re at it, put in a shiny, new faucet.
• A new color scheme. Even if you aren’t a professional painter, a fresh coat or two of paint will transform your space. Just be sure to purchase quality paint, brushes, and rollers, and use painter’s tape for nice, clean edges.
• Make new curtains. Just borrow a sewing machine, select some nice fabric that will hang well, and get to work.
5. Go for What You Love
When you’re sticking to a budget, it can be tempting to spread your dollars out as far as you can in order to get as much bang for your buck as possible. However, spreading your funds thin might just result in a more watered-down version of what you really want. Instead of trying to stretch your money as far as possible, select pieces you really love that can make a big impact on your space.
An artisan-built coffee table will definitely cost more than something purchased at Target, but it will last longer and look better in your living room, too. While that 5-foot by 8-foot abstract painting you saw at a local gallery may eat up half your redecorating budget, you’ll never regret having it on your bedroom wall, and once you tire of it? You can sell it.
Don’t be afraid to redecorate on a budget. As long as you stick to these five essentials, you should be able to remake at least part of your space without landing yourself in the poor house.