Styling on a budget: Planning and Research

Ok. so you’ve flicked through the magazines, had a mosey on Pinterest and you’ve come to the honest conclusion that your humble abode currently resembles a cross between student accommodation and that cheap and crappy hotel airport you had to stay in one night because you missed your flight home. (Sorry! Just keeping it real here folks!)

That psychedelic nineteen seventies wallpaper your Auntie Sue gave you so she could clear up some space in her loft five years ago quite frankly isn’t cutting it anymore and the vase stuck at the end of your sofa that you so lovingly filled with long decorative twigs afew years back, thinking you were so edgy and ahead of the game, is now looking rather tired and starting to attract wildlife!

You know the sort of ‘look’ you’d like to achieve, but you don’t have a clue where to start? I mean, Jesus, you’re not an interior designer, you don’t know about colour schemes or mood boards! Plus your budget can only stretch to an ashtray and some decorative serviettes on that fancy interior design website you keep eyeing up on your lunch break.

Surely there must be a way of injecting timeless style into your home without having to hire an interior designer or break the bank. No? Yes? Possibly?

Of course there is! Here’s the thing, there’s no denying that interior designers and stylists have an undeniable talent in what they do and the majority have studied and gained valuable knowledge to sustain their careers over the years. So when it comes to trends, seasons and colour schemes they’re always one step ahead of the game. But what they don’t like to tell you and what seems to be more of a whisper amongst the design world is that alot of this you could quite easily do yourself.

Before you start to buy anything though I believe theres two things you need to be 100% sure of before you take the plunge.

  • Calculating exactly how much you can afford to spend
  • Knowing exactly the type of look and style you’d like to achieve



What I tend to tell all my clients first is to purchase all of their favourite fashion and interior magazines and join Pinterest and maybe even Tumblr, if they haven’t already, and really have a look at what sort of different styles, and trends are out there nowadays.
Follow as many stylish social media accounts as you possible can, Pinterest in effect is you’re very own mood board and this will build up your confidence regarding certain looks and styles you’d like to achieve. I would also say don’t be sold on the first idea or style you come across, live with it for a couple of days, then go back, take a look at the styles you’ve chosen and see if anything that needs re-evaluating or adding.

By the end of the week you’ll have so many cool ideas and concepts you’ll be jumping up and down in anticipation ready to start. You’ll also notice that you have a particular look that you keep gravitating towards.


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So many people say to me, “Oh I’d love to re-decorate my living room/bedroom but I can’t afford to right now! I always like to remind them that redecorating needn’t be expensive. You can decorate an entire room with style on a budget as little as £500 if you’re savvy with where you shop. With a new lick of paint, a gorgeous piece of art on the wall teamed with cool cushions and chic throws don’t tell me it’s too expensive to transform a room, and I think we can all agree that money most definitely doesn’t buy class or style!

Perhaps you have some furniture that could be brought back to life with a lick of paint. You only need to check out some of the notorious “Ikea Hacks” online where people have bought a cheap chest of draws or shelving unit for £40.00 or just used one they already owned and transformed it into an embellished and mesmerising masterpiece. Seriously take a look at the image below. This guy bought three of those cheap “Billy” book cases from Ikea, painted them white and then by adding base board at the bottom and crown molding at the joins he transformed them into a stunning period feature to match the aesthetics of the rest of his home. Genius!


Or how about these two epic hacks I came across below which I sourced from


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A lick of paint or varnish has taken these two pieces from bargain basement to high end chic!

Also, if you’re not too set on an exact colour scheme yet, don’t be afraid to go into your local DIY shop or department store and ask for sample pots of a particular colour of paint you’d like to try or perhaps a sample of a particular wallpaper before you make the initial payment.

If your budget is small try and work out what’s most important to you, for example, if you are planning to redecorate your living room you could allocate your budget into the below different areas…

Cushions and throws
Art work
Furniture – sofa/armchair/ x2 Moroccan pouf stools
If that still seems quite daunting as you’re not too sure of the costing of certain things try dividing each of the categories into percentages to see which you really feel is most important, then incorporate the percentages into your budget.

You may come to the conclusion that you don’t realllllly need that new sofa, and if you accessorise correctly you could have your chosen space looking all brand spanking, shiny and new again without an extortionate price tag.

So, there you have it, the two most important factors you need to consider before you begin to pimp out your humble abode. Now you’ve got that sorted, the next step is the best part, shopping!!!

B xx

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