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The 8 best ways to create a stylish room on any budget

Over the years, I have worked with many clients that all have different styles, and goals for their renovation. One thing that remains a recurring theme with every job, is the fact that regardless of household income, every single client comes to me with some sort of budget. Here are a few tips and tricks to create a stylish room on ANY budget.



Though painting is the cheapest investment you can make, it’s also the one with the most dramatic result. Go ahead and put some color on those walls for a fresh — and inexpensive — new look. The toughest decision anytime you decorate can be what color to paint a space. Opting for either a crisp white or high pigment paint in a neutral hue will make a space feel a bit more polished. Neutral walls allow for the rotation of accent colors seasonally. I love doing this… swapping out accessories as the season change. Another easy trick that really adds that lux finish to a home is to paint interior doors black. Yea, I said BLACK! It will instantly give the space an expensive vibe; just be sure to tie the doors to the rest of the décor with other uses of black accessories. Another thought is to put the Ceiling to Work. Don’t forget the "fifth wall". Paint the ceiling or add faux beams to continue the design upward. It’s a great, inexpensive way to get more design mileage out of a room.


Do It Yourself

By far, the biggest budget killer is hiring others to do things you could do. Labour eats up a huge portion of every budget. Consider what you'll save by taking on some relatively simple projects such as painting, tiling, or installing a new floor— whatever you feel up to trying. There is a ton of tutorials and information online, to steer you in the right direction, so no need to feel overwhelmed! You may not have a wad of cash or a lot of home-improvement know-how, but you have other resources that can help get your decorating project off the ground… and that is the people you know. Call on a group of relatives, friends and neighbors who can supply the muscle to rip down wall paneling, roll on paint or assemble a room of flat-packed furniture. In my experience, this always seems to go smoother if no one gets hungry… so be sure to order pizza!


Save With Stock Items

Sewing, upholstering, Custom framing, and other skilled labor can add a bundle to the bottom line. Instead, stick with stock items whenever you can: Buy off-the-shelf frames and mats, and trim non-valuable art prints to fit them. Buy standard blinds that are a bit larger than your windows and mount them outside the frames rather than inside. Snap up stock cabinets and finish them with moldings for a custom look. Order that sofa in a neutral, ready-to-ship fabric and use the money you save to splurge on colorful throw pillows. Ultimately, if you can save money on the big ticket items, you will have more money to spend on the fun stuff!


Mix, Don’t Match

When it comes to furniture, not only is a "matchy-matchy" look boring, but buying entire suites of furniture tends to cost more than putting together a creative, eclectic look. Mix it up by opting for a couch and chairs upholstered in complementary fabrics, or flanking a bed with unmatched nightstands and decorating with other diverse items unified by color, form, material and tone. Or try pairing a stately wood table with shiny aluminum or brightly colored plastic chairs. And don’t be afraid to mix high-end and low-end or modern and traditional. This is really important to keep in mind. The way to achieve YOUR personal style is by mixing styles. Sometimes we get fixated on an item we love but is out of reach. Because of that, we are too often closed off to other options that may be slightly different but DO fit within our budget. Be open to alternative choices and think outside the box.

I also think that if we love something, we should only buy one. More attention is given to say a beautiful coffee table, without the matching end table. One of a kind items in a space makes that item more special! Achieving the mix n’ match concept is easier to do when you remember the only rule is that you should love every piece in the room!


Shop Second hand

You should also get creative on where and how you source your decorative items. Thrift stores, consignment shops, online auction sites, estate sales and even salvage yards offer unique pieces at a killer price point. Look for furniture with solid construction and classic lines that new upholstery or paint will bring back to life. Affordable furniture is out there — it just takes some hunting to find the perfect bargain pieces for your home. Take the time to see what's out there. I've been very lucky to find really old pieces at secondhand stores — people don't know the value of them. Refinish them. Get a piece of marble, glass or granite cut down to size and put it on top of a dresser, for example. Then piece you buy will become an original all over again.


Reuse Items You Already Have

This is one of my favourite pieces of advice I like to give. You don’t have to buy new pieces to transform your space. Instead, turn a fresh eye to what you already have and think about how it might be camouflaged, repurposed or reimagined. Reinvent a drab dresser in a guest bedroom as a dramatic dining-room sideboard with a few coats of glossy black paint and sparkling new hardware. Make over that old couch with a slipcover in a fabulous fabric. Turn old pillows into eye-catching accents by throwing new covers on them. After all, there’s no better budget stretcher than your imagination. Challenge yourself to get creative. I really believe that everyone is creative to some capacity… maybe you aren’t painting new artwork, but are rather sanding and refinishing a dresser. Start by looking at what you already have, and re-envisioning it. Move it to another room, or flip the floor plan. Reupholster, spray the wood pieces. Shopping at home can be your most inexpensive resource.


Add Unexpected Accessories

This is a fun one to consider…Almost anything can serve as an accessory, and that goes for found objects and household items that cost practically nothing. Architectural corbels rescued from a salvage yard make great book ends, seashells and driftwood collected at the shore create a beautiful natural grouping. A bowl filled with crisp green apples lends a bright pop of color to just about any surface, and a stack of vintage books adds height, dimension and character to a coffee table. Use every day items such as a marble serving tray behind a your favorite cookbook displayed on your countertop. Pull out a few pieces of your grandmother’s tea cups to add a touch of vintage to your modern shelves. There is really no limit



Throw pillows are always a fabulous accessory for your sofa, loveseat or oversized chair. Cushions are so easy to source and a huge selection is usually found at every home decorating store. The other perk is that they come in at all price points. I love to group different cushions that have common color. I love mixing pattern and textures, and the larger the pillow the better. The overstuffed pillows offer that luxurious feel you desire

If you are trying to spice up your space and save a dollar, the biggest thing that you will need to do, is challenge yourself to think outside the box and get creative. Use the pointers above and have fun with it!

XO Kelsey

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