Thursday, August 6, 2009

Budget Decor Inspiration!

I've been feeling very creative and inspired this weekend and thought I'd create a quick post about some budget and no-cost decor ideas. Some of the best pieces in my home were created with a little paint, some scrapbook paper, or a small piece of fabric. There are loads of things you can do to revamp a room in your home. With this you simply use what you have. Here are some ideas:

1. Paint it Pretty!-If you've got several pieces of furniture in a room that lack a cohesive feel or are just plain outdated, a quick coat of paint will give them new life. If you want to take it one step further you can replace the drawer pulls or knobs with something more contemporary or whatever the style you desire. You're pretty much guaranteed to get a winner if you stick to classic colors like black or white. You'll want to sand the piece lightly first to remove any varnish and to rough it up so the paint adheres better. If you want something fun for a kids room or something a little more coastal, some beachy blues make for lovely coffee tables, nightstands or even a bed! You can use leftover paint you may already have, find some on craigslist or invest in a small quart-size can. Be sure you get the finish that you want.

2. Frames are Fun!-One great thing you can do is round up a bunch of old frames you no longer use and create a wall collage. Pick one place in your home where all photos can be displayed vs. having random photos all over the place. It looks more substantial on one wall and a great way to cover a wall. You can use what you have or pick up what you need at a yard sale or flea market for anywhere from 10 cents to $1.00. Round up all the various mis-matched frames and sand them and then spray paint them all black. To create uniformity, take the photos you have and scan them into your computer where you can print all of them in black and white or if you have them on file, simply print in black and white. There are loads of free programs online that will change a color photo to black and white or sepia, such as, which will also let you resize and crop them too. Put them in the frames and arrange them in a neat pattern on your wall.

3. Paper or Photo?- When it comes to what you put inside your frame, you are not limited to just photos. You can create lovely framed works of art by simply picking up some gorgeous scrapbooking paper or fabric from the clearance section of your local craft or fabric store. I've had a white matted Ikea frame for about 10 years and it is in mint condition. It was hiding in my closet since I had no use for it. I found a space above the doorway to my kitchen that lacked art. I replaced the photos I once had with some beautiful scrapbook paper. The frame is rectangular and has spaces for (3) 5x7" photos so I placed a subtle striped lemongrass colored paper in the middle and on either side I have a beautiful damask/floral that has a lovely shimmer too. This project was FREE as I had all the materials already. I was then inspired to add another one to a shiny chrome-looking square frame which now houses a pretty pale blue and cream damask printed scrapbook paper.

4. Custom Creations- I spend most of my days as a designer, creating spaces for other people. Many of these spaces include a lot of custom pieces such as upholstered chairs, drapery and the like. In January 2008 I decided I was going to make more of an effort in my own home to take the time to create some custom pieces. One of my favorites is my office chair. I bought it from Craigslist in great condition but it had one flaw-the fabric on the seat was hideous! It needed to be reupholstered. Lucky for me, I was actually looking for a chair that I could make my own. So, I headed to Calico Corners and happened to stumble across a fabric I'd been eyeing for about a month-it was on sale! I wound up getting half of a yard for just $4 and the chair in mint condition cost me $30 so I got a custom office chair for just $34! You can do this too. If you're new to it, start with smaller pieces like simply re-upholstering the seats of dining chairs. If you want the look but are afraid to tackle it yourself, take your materials to a local reupholstry shop. Custom drapery, ottomans, recovering of a sofa, and throw pillows are all within reach!

5. Odds and Ends-Sometimes we purchase some great things but we tire of them so we switch them up with other, newer decor items. Other times we've purchased something or got an amazing deal but aren't sure what to do with it just yet. I encourage you to pull those things out of the closet, basement, attic (wherever they are!) and use them to update your space. For instance, I purchased a beige linen drape (just one) that came from Goodwill brand new (the Target locally donates a LOT of surplus items so I love shopping there!) for just $6. I intended to use it for the guest room as more of a sheer behind the existing set of drapery panels only it didn't match the way I thought it would. I wondered what else I could use it for. Then it hit me-our laundry room has a rollershade but it's the vinyl type (we do not have a glamorous laundry room yet!) so it was a great way to put it to use. I hung the panel with a short black rod that I had bought for our kitchen window but never got around to using. Voila! Instant beautified window treatment! Later I may use a damask pattern stencil and some white paint to jazz it up further!

Just be creative-think of all the vases and flowerpots you have and how you can use them different of freshening your kitchen with some existing new placemats or a runner. Maybe all you need is a few new toss pillows for your bed to complete the look. They are relatively inexpensive at discount stores and are relatively simple to make. Use existing down-filled or poly-filled inserts from older pillows you don't use and let that be the stuffing. Now have some fun and pick up a small piece of some inexpensive fabric and a zipper! Use what you have. No vase filler? Use coffee beans, lentils or white rice inside a glass hurricane and place a candle for some coffee table appeal. Keep your lamp base and simply spray paint it for a new look, or maybe just replace the shades with a pair of inexpensive new ones.

If you live in the Orlando or Central Florida area and would like advice or other design services, you can contact us by visiting our website.

*In case you were wondering, the cheetah print pillow in the photo is one that I created with an invisible zipper sewn in and used an existing unused down-filled pillow insert to complete our guest bedding.

Stay tuned on Monday for my before and after reaveal of a little vintage footstool I'm tranforming!

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