Small Budgets: From nothing to something, bring out the best in your home!

Working with a budget always comes with challenges no matter what size project you are trying to accomplish, but when we are ready for change and our budgets are low, it’s time to design smart and design creative! Starting a project with a small budget or no budget can discourage our expectations or even keep us from ever starting a project because we focus on all the things we can’t have or what we can have if we do it later.. And later is still waiting to happen. Shifting from this perspective, learning to plan and really identifying what it is we want to accomplish is what makes the difference between a great project and a difficult project.

The last thing we need when we have established a budget, is something going wrong that will result in additional expenses, so taking the time to develop a game plan is crucial. What I recommend clients to do, is to focus on what they want to get out of the project. Is the goal to add a new room? Are we creating an entertainment space with lots of seating? Do we need to accommodate a new hobby or activity? It can even be as simple as sprucing up a room with new colors and décor, but knowing exactly what you want will eliminate the need to go back and forth between ideas and concepts that will be timely and costly if we don’t include them in our budget upfront.

Once our project has a direction and a goal, we can start to plan and shape the design of our space. This is where creativity plays a large goal and I want to encourage everyone to explore their creativity first before settling on an idea. What I love about design, is that you can never be wrong, you can find many ways to create, design and accomplish a goal, so don’t be afraid to think outside of the box, and let your ideas shine through, remember it is your home and that is what makes it unique. Take the time to do your research, learn about different materials and compare prices, look for Do-It-Yourself videos and tutorials online and keep all of your ideas, notes and pricing quotes together in a *project binder. If you know industry professionals like contractors, painters, or designers don’t be afraid to consult their professional opinion, they might have good suggestions or foresee unplanned costs or obstructions.

Once you have an idea of what you want, go back and review your existing space. Is there anything that works in your favor? What can you reuse or restore? Are there areas that you love that can remain as-is? Although we love the idea of change, the cost of structural changes, furniture, equipment and décor can add up quickly, so by salvaging pieces and working with what we have, we can eliminate unnecessary expenses and use our budget more effectively. It is very easy to get a little carried away with the excitement that comes with change, and very often I see projects go over budget because of last minute additions that can have a ripple effect, creating difficult and costly delays.

Tip 1: One of the most common mistakes is color selection! Avoid the extra costs and labor and try inexpensive paint samples before painting! Asking about upcoming sales and discounts can also help you save on paint!

Tip 2: Look online for furniture and accessories! It is a great resource for discounts and good deals on replicas and unique items. I recommend your local Craigslist, Amazon and EBay.

Tip 3: Look for a local furniture restorer! You can easily learn to stain and refinish your own furniture, but maybe a local restorer can play with colors and designs that will make your piece unique, they may also be a good source for new vintage pieces!

Tip 4: Hit the books and research historical periods and modern styles for design ideas. This can help you recreate a style adequately and inspire you if you want to reuse your existing furniture. Adding a few modern pieces to a traditional area can be enough to freshen up a space.

Tip 5: Reuse and recycle your décor and accent pieces. Pieces of sentimental value are unique to you so don’t be too quick to replace and spend on new knick-knacks to sit in your renovated space. Reframing old photographs or repainting existing frames and accessories is a good way to give new life to something old.



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