6 design ideas on a small budget

Contributor 14 Jun 2018

Yujia Interior crop

Many of us have big dreams about how we want our homes to look. However, the elaborate décor we see in magazines and on TV often come with a price tag to match. Understandably, not all of us can afford a home makeover on a huge budget. But fret not – you don’t have to bust your wallet to give your space a facelift! Here are six design ideas for homeowners on a small budget.

1. Use mirrors to add sparkle to your home

Noble IDMirrors aren’t just for you to check your reflection – they can instantly brighten up your home. When decorating, Tim Tian from Noble Interior suggests using mirrors as an alternative to wall décor. Large mirrors add a dramatic effect to your room without the added cost.

“Apart from obvious places such as the bedroom or bathroom, mirrors can be used in the living room or dining room,” said Tian. “This helps to make these areas look bigger.” Small mirrors can be arranged side by side to form unique artwork.

Using mirrors is also a great way to accent the light fixtures in your home. Mirrors can be placed next to or behind decorative lights and fixtures to magnify the effect of your lights.

Also, try framing your mirrors with unique frames, or paint your mirror frames in colours that complement the rest of your house. Apart from being great to look at, unique frames can be a great conversation-starter as well!

Interior designer: Noble Interior Design

2. Declutter your space for a change of mood

BlackJack IDSometimes, a little cleanup is all that a frumpy space needs to look and feel fresh, even when designing on a small budget. Consider decluttering your space and streamlining your home décor for a cleaner, more minimalist look.

Start by investing in storage space for your items. Add shelving to your walls and cabinets to display your ornaments and crockery – this doubles up as additional decoration as well!

Embrace functional storage to help make better use of your furniture. Keep unused items in storage bins underneath the bed. Add hanging storage pouches to the inside of your closet for small clothing items like socks and ties.

In addition to storage, consider shifting your furniture around. A change of environment or angle can add a new perspective to your home. For example, shift your couch nearer to your balcony to let in more natural light, or move your home office to a common area so that you can work in a more comfortable environment.

“Shifting your furniture around is a great way to change things up at home,” said Daphne Lim of Blackjack Royal Studio. “This helps you to realise how much space you have!”

Interior designer: Blackjack Royal Studio

3. Add flair with a feature wall

Yujia InteriorWhile a feature wall may seem costly, using items you already own to add character to your space is wallet-friendly when designing on a small budget. Transform items like musical instruments or action-figures into décor by displaying them on your walls. If you’re into sports, why not show off your cycling enthusiasm or sporting equipment by hanging them up as well!

Carol Eeu from Yujia Interior suggests that for a budget interior design, painting your wall can also be an inexpensive alternative. “Try using tape, sponges or stencils to add texture to your wall,” she said. “For HDBs, we usually use partitions as a feature wall – we can create different shapes and textures with paint and use lights to accent them – this is not expensive. For condominiums, we can add a casing inside the walls.”

If painting your walls isn’t something you’re confident in, consider using wallpaper instead. Bold patterns and florals are a great way to accent your living space. Wallpaper can also be easily removed, giving you plenty of new opportunities to change up the look of your walls.

Interior designer: Yujia Interior Design

4. Redecorate with key pieces

FinelineIf you’re looking to buy new furniture, selecting only essential items is the key to keep your budget down when designing your interior. Raymond Kuek from Fineline Design emphasises setting priorities for your renovation, “If you’ve got a low budget, you should keep your built-in carpentry to a minimum. Buying furniture off the shelves instead of customising your furniture is also a good option. Stick to renovating only the most important items in your home.”

If you need to customise your home, materials like texture laminate allow you to get expensive-looking facades for less. There are also fabric-look laminates that can replace expensive textiles. Fabric sofas and chairs with removable covers provide a variety of options to change up the look of your furniture. Choose bright, bold patterns for large pieces of furniture to transform them into the centrepiece for your room.

If you own a modular sofa, you can also switch the arrangement around or remove smaller units to use as separate seating.

Interior designer: Fineline Design

5. Don’t be afraid to get your hands dirty

In2SpaceIf you’re strapped for cash, DIY options are your best bet. Use a stencil to paint your very own mural or use vinyl stickers for a sleek finish.

Repurpose items like crockery or vases to create artwork for budget interior design. Line them up and paint them in contrasting colours to create a frame for mirrors or family photos.

Henry Yeo of In2Space Interior suggests that your kids can also be an excellent means to infuse creativity into the home. “If you have kids, why not involve them in decorating their room? Create a fun wall and display their creations there to help boost a colourful and friendly vibe.”

You can even make furniture by repurposing thrifted items or buying materials from hardware stores. For example, plywood, pipes and old ropes are great materials for a bookshelf.

Small items like DIY coasters or candle holders can also do wonders for your home interior by adding a personal touch to your space. These items are also a reminder of the time spent making them with loved ones.

Interior designer: In2Space Interior

6. Let nature do the work for you

Des and CoLast but not least, add some life into your home with some greenery. Plants are a great form of decoration and can add colour to monotonous walls and fixtures, and more so when interior designing on a budget.

If you don’t have the time to care for fussy plants or don’t have green fingers, choose indoor plants that are easy to maintain. These plants include the aloe vera plant, spider plant and snake plant – all varieties that grow well in indoor temperatures and lighting conditions. Plants like the Japanese sago palm can even survive in low light and looks great as indoor décor too!

Plants can also do more than just look good. Consider plants with multiple purposes – for example, herbs like basil are easily grown indoors, while plants like lavender act as a natural insect repellant and have aroma-therapeutic effects.

Desmond Tiew from Des & Co Interior suggests using items like wood and stone as alternatives to greenery. “Faux wood and stone are obtainable in hardware stores, and often require less maintenance. For example, faux wood flooring is often much cheaper than real wood and doesn’t need to be polished.”

Interior designer: Des & Co Interior

Article and images contributed by HomeRenoGuru and Nippon Paint.

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