*As written for the Every Day Mums website blog. October 2016.
Today I scored a free outdoor setting, occasional chair, lamp and cushions from my local curbside collection. Am I a scab? Totally! Do I care? Not one bit! Because I love bargain decorating. Even before becoming an interior decorator, I have been drawn to decorating on a budget. I love a bargain. I love second hand. And obviously, I love free stuff. As a kid, I would pester my parents into keeping any big cardboard boxes they got so that I could make them into furniture. I made an awesome couch once which was a huge fridge box with a sheet and cushions on it. Nobody could sit on it… but I was beyond chuffed to have a ‘couch’ in my room!
People are often led to believe that Interior Decorating is expensive. And yes, it can be. Take for example the latest season of the block where contestants are spending $40K upwards on just their bathroom alone. It’s no wonder people think that their own homes can’t look great on their smaller budget. I think even if I had that kind of money to spend on a home, I would still budget shop. Budget decorating is fun. It’s a challenge. And it still gets you a great looking home at the end of the day.
First of all, don’t just go to your local big retailer and buy everything from there. You don’t want your home looking like an exact copy of their latest catalogue. My suggestion is to go find that perfect piece for your home which may cost a little more. A piece of artwork for the wall. Or a nice occasional chair. A stylish floor lamp. Something to start with and take inspiration from. Always start with larger items and work your way down to the small stuff. The fillers. After you have all your furniture, you need to dress a room. For this, you need wall art, lighting, soft furnishings, maybe a floor rug and home décor items. Personally, I like to start with artwork. Then soft furnishings. Then the rest. And don’t go buy everything at once. If you like something, bring it home and see if it works and see what else you need. You don’t want end up with a cluttered space. The saying ‘less is more’ is actually a great rule to follow.
The great thing about bargain decorating is that if you don’t like something that you purchased a few months ago, you can get rid of it. Or even give it a makeover. I always have a can of white, black and grey spray paint in the shed so when something like copper isn’t ‘in’ anymore, I can just change the colour and it’s still good to use. And if the makeover was a big fail or I still didn’t like it, I don’t mind throwing it away or giving to an op shop because it was inexpensive to buy in the first place.
In the past two years, we have seen affordable home decorating in Australia boom! Scour Instagram and you will see hundreds of every day Aussie home owners creating beautiful spaces with affordable furniture and homewares. We are loving it and the big retails sure are loving it too! Thanks to social media, small businesses are being seen, ideas are being shared, bargains are being found and now people across Australia can afford to make their home look magazine perfect. Home decorators rejoice!
Zoe Gilpin – THE DIY DECORATOR