Cheap and Easy Decorating Tips

Decorating for the budget minded do-it-yourselfer!

Are you on a tight budget and can’t afford an interior designer? Are you craving a fresh new look for a room in your home or office?  You’re in luck.  If you are creative, open-minded and willing to do it yourself, here are some great ways to transform your home or office into something unique and beautiful.

Four simple secrets to transform ordinary rooms into sensational settings on a shoestring budget:

  1. Paint
  2. Plants
  3. Lighting
  4. Staging/Space planning

Don’t be afraid to splash some color on those walls!

Let’s start with paint.  If you’re on a really tight budget this is the decorating remedy that can almost instantly transform the feel and look of a room for less than $50! Splash some color on an accent wall. It can change the feeling and look of a room dramatically. Or, if you are willing to be brave and bold, try painting the entire room.  Add color to the walls of a room for a simple and affordable way to give it a face lift for less than a nice dinner out for two with cocktails.

Color affects our moods.  Different colors provoke different emotional experiences.  If you want more passion in your love life, paint an accent wall in your bedroom red.  But, if you are on a diet and want to shed some lbs, keep red out of the kitchen. Restaurants use red to increase patrons’ appetites.

If you need to concentrate and stay focused, paint a wall in your office white or a cheerful yellow.  If you need a peaceful place to escape and reduce the stress in your life, try a soothing sage green or sky blue.  If spiritual enlightenment is what you seek, paint a wall lavender or purple.  Enhance a room with color. Paint one wall or the whole room as a quick, easy and affordable solution to transform a space.

In the southwest part of the states, it is common to use bold, bright colors inside and out.  However, most people are afraid to use bright or dark colors. They think bright or dark colors will make a room seem smaller, or they will be too overpowering. Believe it or not, in most cases, bold colors have the opposite effect. They brighten up a room and bring energy to it, making it feel warm, cozy and inviting, even luxurious. Try it. You’ll like it.  Don’t worry if you make a mistake and don’t like something.  Paint is an easy thing to fix.  You can always paint over it and try something else.

Painting is an affordable, quick and easy secret for transforming a room, office or entire home.  You can usually paint an average room in a few hours, which means it can be done in a day or over a weekend.  Just think, in a few hours you could have a brand new room in your home, just by adding some color to the walls.  And, that is just the beginning.  Now it’s time to go shopping at your favorite nursery.

Bring the Beauty of Nature into Your Home with Plants

Plants are living green energy that provide life to a room.  Besides that, they are healthy to have around.  Plants clean the air we breathe.  They breathe in the carbon dioxide we breathe out and breathe out the oxygen we breathe in.  It’s a match made in heaven for any happy healthy home.

Extensive research has revealed that our indoor environments are far more polluted than the outdoors.  That may surprise most people.  Think about it.  Pet dander, dust, chemical fumes emitted from carpets, paints, fabrics and cleaning supplies we use in our homes are trapped inside for us to breathe in day in and day out.  Plants help reduce internal pollution and provide us with clean air to breathe.  They also bring the beauty of nature inside.

It is important to find the right plants for the theme and mood that you intend to create for a space.  Palms of any kind are beautiful for bringing a tropical or relaxed feeling to a room.  Cacti can serve as live statues.  Is your style European, traditional, Asian or eclectic?  Whatever your preference, there are plants that can help create the mood you desire.

Ask your local nursery for help.  Tell them what you are doing and be open to their suggestions.  They may surprise you with something you would never have considered that you end up falling in love with.  Plants bring life force energy and natural beauty to any space.  They are especially beneficial in office environments where employees are subjected to harsh fluorescent lights.  Plants serve to counteract the harmful effects of such lighting as well as relieve stress. Peace lilies and spider plants in particular are the preferred plants for zapping the harmful effects that EMFs (electromagnetic frequency) have on our bodies. Place them between you and your TV or computer to act as an EMF shield.  They will protect your body from absorbing too much positive electrical charges from all the electronics in your home or office.

Lights, Camera, Action!

Now that we have some color and plants to set the mood of a space, it’s time to light up those beautiful plants and bright red walls.  Lighting can be used to enhance the mood of a space and showcase that favorite corner of your new room.  Strategically placed lights create unique and interesting affects in a space.  Use light for dramatic effect or to create a romantic or peaceful mood.  You can get great ideas by visiting your local lighting or furniture store to see what they have done with some of their displays.  For example, setting a large palm tree in a corner with a small floor spot light shining up at it with a green or blue bulb can create a tropical feel with the patterns of the leaves reflecting on the walls and ceiling.

There are so many affordable, creative ways to decorate with lighting.  Rope lighting gives a classy touch that provides subtle lighting to show off a unique architectural feature or accent kitchen nooks and shelves.  Good old fashioned candle light can be used in a variety of ways to set the mood to entertain others, spend an intimate night with someone special or to pamper yourself.

Be creative and get out of the box.  For example, bug lights come in a variety of different colors, so do tract lighting bulbs.  They can be used in traditional lamps in a corner of a room to emphasize the color palette and theme of a room or just for a unique effect.  Have fun with lights and don’t be afraid to play and experiment with your own creative ideas.

Places Everyone- Ready, Set, Go!

Staging or space planning is crucial, because it affects the energy flow of a room.  It is the final touch and actually more important than all the rest, because if the room is laid out wrong, the energy flow of the room will affect the feeling of the space, no matter how fabulous the color, lighting and plants are.  Buying a couple of books on Feng Shui (pronounced feng-schway), can help you learn some basic principles on how to lay out a room for maximum benefit and appeal.

This is where having another set of eyes can come in handy, because someone else may lend a fresh new perspective you wouldn’t have considered or thought was weird.  But then when you try it, you’re surprised at how much you like it once you see it.  Be open to arranging your furniture in ways you haven’t considered before.  Experiment, try something new and see how it feels. You can always change it back if you don’t like it.

Get other people’s opinions on how the space feels for them.  Listen to their feedback.  Be open to suggestions from others.  Sometimes a new pair of eyes and new ideas from someone else can inspire a whole new look and feel for a room that you may never have tried yourself and yet end up falling in love with.  Perhaps putting that loveseat at a diagonal angle in the corner isn’t something you would ever do.  Just try it anyway to see how it looks and feels for you.  You may surprise yourself and really like something you never thought you would have.  You can always move it back if you don’t like it.

Being open to exploring and experimenting with new ideas will inspire you to create beautiful spaces for you to live and work in.  Have fun transforming your home or office by applying some of these simple and affordable suggestions.  Go buy a bucket of your favorite paint, a few plants, a spot light and some candles and spend the weekend transforming that spare room you’ve been using for storage.  Perhaps it’s time to use that room for something new, to breathe new life and purpose into it.  Have fun and enjoy the creative process of transforming your home or office into an environment you love living and working in.


Deborah Brightstar © 2009

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