If this happens to you, resist the temptation to put off designing your interiors and live like you’re in a college dorm room. You want to make the most of your new home and enjoy it right away, not wait until you have the cash to spend on a full-scale decorating job and a complete set of brand new furniture.
There are lots of ways to make your house more welcoming and attractive immediately, even on a tight budget. Think of your home as a work in progress. Don’t fall into the trap of thinking you have to fix everything at once. You can have a lovely home even if you still haven’t replaced that second-hand dining table or added your (expensive) dream chandelier.
Here are seven steps to styling your home on a shoestring, for the long term.:
Decide on your design theme. Start with a theme in mind. Browse through design magazines, Pinterest, or Instagram and keep a file of rooms that appeal to you. Look for a common theme—is the style that appeals to you minimalist, industrial, shabby chic, or classic? Having a look to emulate will help you fix what you can immediately while laying the groundwork for a final design in the future.
Make a final plan. Even if you don’t have the money to hire a designer and design everything from scratch, come up with a final design and floor plan that you would like to achieve in due time. This gives you a vision to hold in your mind and to work towards.
Choose a color palette. A consistent color palette that suits your design theme will keep your home’s look polished and put-together even if not all the elements are there yet. A palette will guide your purchases and ensure that they will be part of the design in the long term. Choose three to four colors with two base colors and one or two accents.
Paint furniture to match. Furniture, especially large pieces like sofas and dining sets, can be quite expensive to buy all at once. You can make do with second-hand or thrift-shop pieces by painting them in one or two colors from your palette. Instead of having a cluttered hodge-podge of pieces, you will have a charming collection with lots of character instead.
Use fabric and accessories to pull the look together. Another way to keep things consistent is to use in fabric and accessories with a common theme. Avoid an overly matched look, such as matching curtains, throwpillows, and napkins—instead, aim to have designs and patterns with a similar aesthetic or that pick up key colors in your palette.
Plan your major pieces. Canvass shops and furniture makers to find the perfect pieces that fit your final floor plan, and plot when you can purchase them in your calendar. You can save up for each piece, or buy them on credit at 0% instalment, with the next purchase to come after you’ve paid the plan off. In the meantime, boxes draped with fabrics or cheap second-hand items with a fresh coat of paint can be used as substitutes.
Add delightful personal touches. The most important thing about designing your home in phases is to make sure it looks good every step of the way. You should definitely keep things clean and uncluttered and stick to a consistent theme. But most importantly, don’t forget to use meaningful personal touches like photos, collections, and items that you love in your decorating, to turn your house into a home.