Decorating on a Budget

Looking to stage your home for Sale? Or add the finishing touches to the decor in your new home? Read below for some great tips from our Interior Designer Vanessa Mitola.

Have you ever looked through a magazine and thought to yourself, “Wow that looks amazing but I bet to do that it must cost a fortune?”  Are you guilty of going through those apps on your phone or tablet and “like” every decorating style?  Those apps are amazing if you know what style you like, but they can definitely be overwhelming, confusing and ultimately blow your budget out of the water.  What most people don’t realize is, is that you don’t have to have a million dollar budget for your home renovations.  If you budget accordingly, you would be surprised as to how much you an accomplish when you start decorating your home.

Repurposing older pieces in your home is a great way to keep your budget low.  If you would love a mirror in your home but don’t have any wall space, why not use it as a serving tray?  My grandmother had a beautiful mirror, but overtime it got worn and discoloured so she moved it to the laundry room.  After she passed away, I wanted to display a few of her pieces in my home so I cleaned the frame and glass and painted it!  Now it looks like I purchased it at a home decor store when in reality, it’s over 40 years old but it looks amazing!  I use it as a tray for my ottoman and my deck furniture, and using a reflective surface also makes the table look more elegant.  Another thing you can do with a piece like this is, during the holidays, place some candles on it or a candle holder with some lights in it.  This way, since the surface is reflective, it will really sparkle and add a nice touch to your table setting.


Painting, I always say, is the most inexpensive way to dress up your space without spending a lot of money.  Accent walls are on their way out and solid colour walls are coming in!  With accent walls, they really are a great way to add a pop of colour in the home but they can really make the room look small.  By having everything one colour, it opens up the space and you can add that “WOW” factor with some art or decorative pieces in the room.  Another thing you can try doing is painting your baseboards and trim.  White is the typical go to colour, but why not try something dark; a chocolate brown or black!  If you don’t like it, just paint over it!  Simple as that.  Keep an eye out for your local home improvement stores; typically they have great sales that will end up saving you money!

If you are not that into painting and want to add some texture on your wall, wallpaper is making a comeback!  When used appropriately in the right space it can add some depth to your room without much of an expense.  If you’re afraid of putting it in your entire room, try putting it on one wall as a focal point.  One way to decorate that wall would be some bookshelves perhaps.  If they are open shelf book cases, you can dress up the shelving with some art work, photographs and books, and just peeking through will be the wallpaper.  It adds just a touch of contrast and it wouldn’t be too overwhelming because the wall would be mostly covered with your displays.


If you have a lot of art but no where to display it, I have a great idea for you to try!  An easel!  They are usually adjustable and come in different styles and they are mobile.  I had a client last year who had a ton of art and lived in a condo; they were running out of wall space.  By adding the easel to their living room, they were able to change the art work they wanted to display as often as they wanted to.  You also don’t want to have too much art on the wall because then it can start to look cluttered and can actually make the space look small.  This same idea can be used with photographs that you have of your family and friends.  If you have some large pieces that you would want to display, an easel might be the best thing for you.  They range in prices and can be found in stores and online so you will definitely find a lot of options.

Do you have a small kitchen and feel that the island that you initially wanted so bad is making it appear even smaller?  Try putting wheels on it!  This way it can be moved aside when you’re hosting and it can act as a hutch or buffet table against a wall as opposed to having it in the middle of the room.  This is a small cost to you but adds a huge feature to your kitchen.


Another thing to try that is inexpensive is adding a chair rail.  If your decor allows for it, having it around the room makes it look more elegant.  If you paint the walls the same colour but in different tones, it really adds some va-va-voom!  If you paint it yourself, you also save some money!  If you aren’t keen on painting, don’t worry…you’re not alone.  It’s not everyone’s favourite thing to do.  Doing it yourself will definitely keep your costs down, but another option you have is to call around to local painters and get references.  If they have happy past clients and their prices are reasonable, it may be something to consider.

If you want to change your bathroom or kitchen but don’t want to spend too much money, try changing your faucet!  Yes, they can get up their in price, but in the realm of renovations, it isn’t too much and it definitely perks up the room.  Also, most large box stores have sales so you might be surprised as to what you might be able to find if you’re patient!

There are so many ways to update the look of your home without spending a lot of money, and these are just a few!  The possibilities are endless and you can have so much fun figuring out how to decorate your home! – written by Vanessa Mitola, Interior Design Consultant

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