‘Sorry I wasn’t listening. I was decorating your home in my head’. – Zoe Gilpin, THE DIY DECORATOR

Yep. True Story. I don’t mean to but my mind just starts to make decisions on what colours would look great in this room. And that those cushions I saw whilst out shopping the other day would look fantastic on that couch. #sorrynotsorry.

Almost daily I am rearranging something in my own home. It starts with relocating one item to see how it would look in a new spot. And then after a few hours and plenty of mess later, ends with our entire home being redecorated. My husband loves those days! Not really. He knows it’s probably best to go fishing and stay out of my decorating obsessed way. I find that rearranging can sometimes save you money as you’ll find a new spot for something and give that area whole new look. Sometimes though it can backfire as you realise that you might need something else to go with it in its new location. As I always say, use what you have first before spending money on more. Then shop after if you need.

img_20161107_120331Today I’m going to share with you some simple rules for home decorating on a budget. Tips and tricks that I have learnt over the past ten years as an Interior Decorator. I’ve picked up ideas from working as not only a decorator but also as a real estate property stylist, visual merchandisers, DIY’er, Bargain shopper and stay at home mum with an Instagram addiction. I’ve worked at the expensive stores and had to decorate houses with ridiculously expensive items. And I hated it! Give me a brief with a small budget and preference to bargains any day.

Start by having a clean out of what you’ve already got. If you don’t need it, or if it’s daggy or won’t fit in with your new scheme, take it to the opportunity shop or give it to your Mum.

Write down what it is you hope to achieve so you don’t lose focus of the initial project. And work room by room so that you don’t take on too much at once.

Do your research. These days we are spoilt for choice being able to view everything online before even going to the shops. If you don’t have a plan you will impulse buy and spend more. And probably end up with a mash of different styled products that you don’t actually have room for.

Start with furniture if you don’t already have it. Buy good quality furniture-spend your money on the important items as they need to be sturdy and last. You can still pick up bargains. Even look on places like Gumtree as you can get amazing items for so cheap! Some even brand new.

If you have the time, do your research and look for example display furniture and homewares or look for places like restaurants that are closing down and getting rid of perfectly fine items for cheap.

Once you’ve got your furniture and have it set up in your interior, next purchase well decor. Artwork. A mirror. Wall hanging etc. Use these as a guide to work out what you need next.

If you don’t have a big budget, get creative. Pick up a cheap canvas and make your own abstract masterpiece with some acrylic or oil paint. Or simply purchase a suitable from fabric and stretch it over the Canvas. Prints are super cheap to purchase from small online business these days, as are cheap from places like Kmart. Another great and inexpensive wall decor option.

Now that the main and large pieces are in place, take a step back and look at what you’ve got and what you now need to finish the room. Take some photos as a room always looks different in a photo and gives another point of view to work with.

Now it’s the fun part. My favourite part anyway! Finding and styling home decor pieces. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, less is more. Buy what the room needs. Don’t overcrowd your space as too many items easily create a cluttered mess.

A rule I like to follow to add interest is to include items with colour, texture and pattern. Just a touch of each gives depth and helps with the layering effect. If you don’t like a lot of colour, using texture and pattern is a great way to stay clear of a clinical or boring look which sometimes interiors can have.

Another great rule which I learnt as a visual merchandisers, is to place items at different height levels to keep the eye engaged and use different sized objects. If everything is at the same height in a room, the eye will be drawn to one spot and not get to embrace the entire space. There should be a flow to a room which consists of high, eye level and low items. Think prints up high. Home decor at eye level. And planters down low.

I like to finish a room with some greenery. Real or artificial depending on the amount of natural lighting and your own ability to keep plants alive. And I also like to have a scented candle in the room as I believe smells play a very important role in adding to a rooms overall appeal.

The most important tip I can give is to have fun! Decorating is not a chore. Throughout my career as a Decorator, I have rarely had a bad day at work. (Only when I’ve broken something…oops!). There is SO much inspiration and information out there to help even the most clueless of home decorators make their home look amazing. Take inspiration from everywhere. The internet. Instagram pages. Facebook decorating groups. Pinterest boards. Magazines. Shop fronts. Interior bloggers. Catalogues. Literally everywhere! And don’t forget to use your own ideas. You have to inject some of your own personality into a space to completely finish it off and make it your own.

Happy decorating!