There are several good programs on HGTV devoted to budget friendly design. To start, I recommend looking for a room that gives you inspiration, a room that you want to try to reproduce. Choose a design that will be fairly easy to reproduce, nothing too exotic. You may not be able to recreate it exactly; your room may not be the same size or have the same number of windows or doorways. First pinpoint what is about your inspiration room that you like best. Is it the colors, the furniture style, the mix of patterns and textures that please you? Let’s say you are working with a living room. First find a sofa or sectional that will fit in your room (you may not be able to use the same size as your inspiration room). Measure the room to determine the size of furniture that you want to buy. It is important to buy the right size pieces or the whole plan will feel wrong. Scale, proportion and balance are key elements in good design. Lay it out either on paper, or by measuring on your floor, using blue painters tape to mark where and how the furniture pieces will fit. Once you have decided on the size of the furniture and the number of pieces you can comfortably fit, start shopping for bargains. Wait for furniture stores to offer a good sale, or check out consignment shops, estate sales, auctions or private individuals selling pieces of furniture. Don’t settle for the wrong piece to save, make sure you get the look that you want. Once you have the key furniture pieces, then start looking for the smaller accessories, tables, lamps, pillows window treatments and art. Again, take your time especially if you are bargain hunting. Inventory turns over frequently in some of the discount home stores. Stores like Home Goods and Ross will offer some great prices for accessories; also try shopping at some of the online home accessory stores. When buying second hand pieces, look beyond how they appear now, you can save a bundle if you are willing to change the paint color, or reupholster a chair seat.
Good design can be about the magic of paint, fabric or second-hand finds. Style is not about money. Money can make decorating and well, most things in life, much easier. But true style is about passion and research. Above all when you find your inspirational room, try to stick to the plan. I find that what gets some people into trouble is impulse buying. When shopping, it is easy to see a piece that you like, but you have to ask yourself if that piece will work with the style you are going for. We all like multiple styles, but for the novice, try staying with one style per room. Below are two rooms that would be good examples for inspiration and fairly easy to reproduce.