The economy is still contracted and we all need to save money – but emotions often get in the way, especially if a room’s furniture and decor are simply depressing. Picking a theme for your room will ensure cohesive, sustainable decor, and help you stick to a budget. But pick your theme carefully. A sumptuous Arabian nights’ style boudoir will likely cost you a packet; and look tacky to boot. I would suggest a nautical theme; it is a fresh, popular look that can easily be done on a budget.
Start with the lights. Wrap your lamp base with twine, and either replace your lampshades with a more nautical design, or stencil the existing shade with ships or anchors. You can make your own stencil easily from cardboard or lino, and fabric paint is super cheap from hobby shops. Replace the curtains with striped blue and white canvas fabric – Ikea sells this fabric very cheaply. If you aren’t much for sewing; chop the ends with a pair of pinking shears and leave them unlined. I find tabs are the easiest way to hang curtains, or else iron on curtain tape for pinch pleat curtains.
Where you shop for home-wares is absolutely key. There is no need to buy from top designers or expensive boutiques. Hunt for freebies from family, friends and neighbours, and supplement those freebies with items from dollar stores, charity shops and sales. Look in unusual places too – I found the most amazing coca cola straw dispenser at a rock bottom price in a shop most known for selling bargainous microwavable rice. If you are crafty, think about some stash busting rather than buying new. A boring cream lampshade can be spiced up with a little colourful fabric dye, or else a sewn on applique. I had *one* leftover curtain after a refashioning job; it made a great pair of matching cushion covers.
Pick up furniture from thrift shops, second hand stores and even for free from sites like Freecycle. This cheap as chips furniture can then be updated to look and feel good. You can either simply disguise any flaws with a throw, or buy washable slip covers if your family is somewhat untidy. A good option is to source good quality pieces where the original upholstery has been ruined; a glass of red in the wrong place, an unruly pet’s claw marks, a child’s muddy footprints. Then get the upholstery replaced, and voila! Top notch home furnishings for a fraction of the price.