Creating Style and Personality On A Budget....

Having never been privy to a generous lottery win, when it comes to decorating my budget is always a modest one.  With general family life and the demands that it requires on the purse strings I'm always looking at ways to refresh our spaces for as little money as possible.  This does however involve knowing when to be thrifty and when to save the pennies to get it done properly, I could bore you all with my utility story but I won't! But needless to say there are plenty of ways of injecting your personality into your place without too much damage.

Firstly, paint.  It is the single most transformative thing you can do to change a room.  You can create illusions by the use of colours. Make ceiling heights appear taller, make long corridors appear shorter or create atmosphere by making a room appear less cold or warm, or simply just give you a feeling! I am so drawn to dark colours,  It isn't the norm to paint your room an off black so people say things like 'ooh it'll be very dark' 'or it will feel very oppressive!' this is true, it may feel this way  to them, but the point is, for me it's cosseting and inviting, my place is personal to me,  my aim is always to make a space feel cosy and comfortable so hopefully this won't put people off visiting! But once you've painted and if it isn't quite what you thought then paint it again. It may involve a bit of sweat and a few choice words but It is only paint and can have the biggest impact for the least amount of money!

Continuing with the paintbrush, and my favourite - Upcycling.  Revamping furniture is having a moment and if you have a piece of furniture that you just don't love anymore, decide on a paint colour and give it go! I use Annie Sloan chalk paint, there are plenty of other alternatives out there, if you've got a small project you may not need a large tin, or you may have been recommended a brand or colour by a friend.  Whatever you choose you'll be pleasantly surprised by the result.  As long as you adhere to the processes for your chosen paint finish, you'll get your desired result. For instance if you're painting with an eggshell you'll need to sand/prep and prime first off. Chalk paint does't need this however it will need to be sealed with a wax to harden and cure the paint. If you fancy trying this but don't want to risk it on your furniture keep your eyes open for pieces in charity shops, gumtree, freecycle or local community pages on sites such as Facebook.

Knowing when not to paint is also as important.  Often a raw wood piece of furniture can ground a space and tie it together.  I have 2 beautiful french bedroom chairs that I got through a house clearance that i'm going to use as carver chairs to sit at each end of a dining table.  They are such lovely decorative chairs that i'm just going to recover the seat pad to give them a freshen up and make them fit into the scheme that i'm working on.  I shall post a picture for you once i've finished them.  

Re-upholstery.  You don't need serious skills for this.  You can start small with a seat pad, footstool or headboard in a fabric that has caught your eye all you'll need is a staple gun suitable for upholstery such as a pneumatic staple gun, available here.

Modifying a piece of furniture also works well and can repurpose something that may no longer have it's uses.  We have a shed full of old cabbage crates still with the original sign writing and 6 shilling price tag.  They are so lovely and part of my families' heritage so it's nice to incorporate them in someway.  Either upturned and used as a side table, chunky cart wheels added to make a moveable toy box or storage for kindling.  Even mounted on a wall to create modular shelving! Endless possibilities! Likewise replacing bits on furniture that you don't like such as handles is also transformative.  I have an old dresser waiting to be painted and it has glass and stained glass in the top half.  I'm not a huge fan of this detail so i'm thinking of replacing the glass with chicken wire (much to my father in laws amusement!) but you get the picture.  The item is dated as it is and isn't to my taste so by giving it a new look, it will be loved again and used for many more years to come!

Often artwork is really expensive.  So there are a number of ways to add personality to your walls. I frame old Birthday or Anniversary cards, I would keep the special ones anyway and this way they aren't gathering dust in a cupboard and I get to see them everyday! Equally framing pieces of fabric or wallpaper may add the colour you're looking for.  Or perhaps the designer wallpaper you desire is just too much of a stretch, then try and incorporate it in some way, either by framing it or papering an alcove, or the back of a bookshelf, or maybe just one wall?  If you're feeling creative you can always have a go at creating something yourself, copy a print or postcard from one of the greats, or pick up a blank canvas and paints and go abstract.  Keep adding to your painting, stand back and take it in, and keep going until something you are happy with has evolved!

Have a look at the infamous Ikea Hacks on sites such as Pinterest! We all love our go to Swedish lifestyle store but we don't always want something that everyone else has! Pinners have included some ingenious ideas from some of the stores most basic items.  Endless hours of distraction conjuring up ideas for what you can create from the simple lack table!

Brush up on your DIY skills, and have the necessary tools to hand for each job. This doesn't require you having a shed stocked like brandon tool hire, just the basics!  I have a drill, electric screwdriver, phillips and flat head screwdrivers in a few sizes and the necessary fixings, wall plugs, screws, hammer and tacks and lastly Command  strips for realising your gallery wall dreams! Available at any supermarket but brilliant for fixing picture frames to the wall without leaving the dreaded whole marks or stripped paint and plaster. They are a great option for renters or for moving your pictures about. This list isn't by any means exhaustive but with these items you can hang a shelf, put up a picture or carry out a small repair job.    

Lastly I would just say be yourself and go with your gut! Its so refreshing to see something that's full of personality, even if it isn't to everyone's taste.  It's your space so create something you love, and if you need a cabbage crate to get creative with, get in touch!