Best Paint Colors

December 19, 2009

15 Budget Decorating Tricks

Mixing high- and low-cost items in your home adds personality to your space. A coat of paint, a few Chinatown baskets and some vintage treasures exude soul and allow you to save up for investment furniture that will last a lifetime.

Create a DIY wallpaper panel. Papering an entire room can cost well into the triple digits, especially if you hire someone to do the job for you. In contrast, one or two wallpaper panels add personality to a room for the cost of a single roll of wallpaper and some MDF. Get step-by-step instructions.

Add juicy colours. Inexpensive finds in accent colours will add pizzazz to your rooms. Look for fun ceramic vases, painted chairs, plates that you can put on a coffee table or hang on a wall, throw pillows, coloured glass jars, or framed prints. This season’s hot accent colour may be warm yellow, but in a year you’ll probably need a change.

Save on lamps. Go low for the base and high for the shade. You can take the most basic lamp base — sometimes repainted, or raised on a wood stand — and elevate it with a great shade.

Install an upscale counter in a plain kitchen. Embellish a builder-box kitchen with new hardware, pulls, and a dark, dramatic countertop.

Paint it black. Vintage treasures like a pedestal table or wooden chairs look like a million bucks after a few coasts of glossy, ebony-black paint. Likewise, rich historical colours will give inexpensive pieces a more sophisticated feel.

Layer in texture. Inexpensive sisal rugs, baskets and woven trays mix well both formal and relaxed furniture. Chinatown is a great spot for inexpensive trays and baskets, as well as chic tableware.

Paint your doors and ceilings. White interior doors are boring. Black or dark charcoal-grey doors, on the other hand, are graphic and interesting. Or, try a bright red hue. Likewise, painting the ceiling can instantly transform a room from ho-hum to haute.

Reupholster an old ottoman in a fresh, interesting colour or a graphic print. If the legs show, and they are nicked and scratched, stain them espresso brown or paint them black.

Save at salvage stores. Clawfoot tubs are a steal at salvage stores, for instance. Reglaze the inside and refresh the outside with a coat of paint.

Build a multi-use bench. Inexpensive, big-box shelving units can double as a bench. Just have a cushion made for the top and voila!

Personalize plain white pillowcases with monograms. This gives everyday linens a luxe look.

Frame your finds. Frame unique postcards, wallpaper, gift wrap and images from discounted art books for instant, budget-savvy art.

Mix and match chairs. Rather than shelling out for six to eight new dining room chairs, invest in four to six new beauties and then pick up two eclectic flea-market chairs for the ends. Chairs with arms are most on trend for end chairs at the moment.

Dress up ready-made window treatments. A simple band of colourful, grosgrain ribbon can transform inexpensive roller blinds or drapes with a custom look.

Cluster low-cost pendant lights. Do this over the dining table and for the same impact as a four-figure chandelier.

Get more budget-chic decorating ideas in our guide.