How To's, Interior Design

The Broke Person’s Guide To Decorating!

The Broke Person's Guide To Decorating

I love the luxury interiors but what with losing our business and before that trying to keep the damn thing a float I have always been on a tight budget. My white goods are so old now I give them a pat first thing in the morning and congratulate them for making it through the night. So when it comes to decorating I have to get clever. Do I wish I could just pop up to London for a spending spree every now and then? Yes, of course I do. Am I working my ass off to try and get us back on our feet? Too right I am. But for the moment I still have a creative itch that needs fulfilling. So here’s my how to decorate on a minimum budget to get maximum effect like my little old kitchen. Basically it’s the broke person’s guide to decorating. 


And once I transform a room with little to no budget not only do I feel proud. But it’s sort of addictive too, I challenge myself to see just how little money I can spend. There are so many simple yet effective ways to transform a room without having to spend the national debt of Peru! I transformed my bedroom with only £300! And the kitchen with £600! Anything is possible if you put your mind to it. You just need to follow a few simple rules. Add in a sprinkling of effort and a dash of inspiration and you have a recipe for success. So without further ado (my grandmother said I can talk the hind leg off a donkey), here’s my top tips to creating a luxury interior look on an own brand lemonade budget.


The Broke Person’s Guide To Decorating – Forget Wallpaper!


The Broke Person's Guide to Decorating


I never use wallpaper! It just plain and simply costs way more than paint. Plus, I’ll say that again….. Plus!! Unless you choose a classic design it will go out of fashion. perhaps sooner than you think! Or you will eventually go off it. And can you hang it yourself? If not you will have to get someone in to do it for you. And we all know Painters and Decorators seriously know how to charge. Instead embrace paint! It’s cheaper, easy to use and scrubable too! It’s amazing what you can do with paint.


So get creative. From ombre effects to creating a mural, it doesn’t have to be boring. Nor does it have to hark back to the 1980’s a la Changing Rooms style either! Be gone rag rolling and sponging! Arrrghhhh!!! Don’t forget floors too, if your carpet is looking tired paint or stain the floorboards. Furniture and cabinets too! The list of what you transform with paint is literally endless! And you don’t have to go for the more expensive brands either. I use Valspar. Don’t get me wrong I have almost every paint chart out there but I get Valspar to mix the colours for me to match the more desirable brands. Downpipe but at half the price! Remember also to contemplate painting your walls dark, it really is a revelation.


The Broke Person’s Guide To Decorating – Learn How To DIY


The Broke Person's Guide to Decorating


If it’s got to be done on the cheap then it’s got to be ‘Do It Yourself’. It’s really not as hard as people think. My eldest son the other day was telling me he was a You Tube trained mechanic. He did make me laugh out loud but there’s a bit of truth to the statement too. Every time he needs to fix something on his car, ‘You Tube’ is his friend. And it can be yours too.


Whether it’s replacing Sash Window Cords or Dying a Sheepskin there’s a video out there just for you. And don’t just watch one, watch as many as possible when your learning a new skill.By the time you’ve finished watching them all you’ll be an expert! I can’t tell you how many skills I have learnt on my renovating journey, though the one thing I would never attempt is wiring. No make that two, don’t touch anything to do with gas either!


The Broke Person’s Guide To Decorating – Create A Focal Point


Gold Fireplace


Concentrate the majority of your efforts on a focal point. If you’re lucky to have a fireplace in the room it’s the natural go to. If not it could be a sofa, a bed or even a console table or bookcase. By concentrating your efforts on making one particular spot a feature (or more if you can) it will naturally draw the eye ensuring other parts of the room become less noticeable or prominent. Your focal point doesn’t have to cost a fortune either. Take a look at my bedroom fireplace and mirror for instance. All it cost to create a jaw dropping feature was a tin of gold spray paint and a little ingenuity.


The Broke Person’s Guide To Decorating – Shop Your Home


The Broke Person's Guide To Decorating!


Work with what you have! We often talk about shopping your home but it really is a great way to bring a breath of fresh air to a room. Simply collect art, ornaments, soft furnishing, rugs etc from other rooms and try them out in the new scheme. It’s amazing what you can do. Not only is shopping your home the cheapest way to dress a room but you create such a huge mess that as a silver lining the house gets a clean too.


And don’t forget you can always change the colour of something too. The bust I have in my hallway was originally white so I painted it black. And if my tiny hallway can look luxurious on a budget when there’s barely room to swing a cat. Then yours can too. Even furniture can be shopped and made to feel more cohesive with a lick of paint in the same colour. Or a variety of colours. A set of miss matched dining chairs for example can look super stylish.


The Broke Person’s Guide To Decorating – Layering



Nothing speaks luxury more than layering. Layer rugs, throws and cushions, you name it. You can layer it. The mixture of colours patterns and textures really ramp up the luxury rating. Cushion covers can be picked up relatively cheaply from places like H&M, Matalan and even Primark. Or better still (and less throw away society) keep an eye out on Ebay for designer fabric remnants and make your own. Or find a design you like and replicate it like I did with my star and lightening bolt cushions.  It’s so much more satisfying making your own and they’ll always be one of a kind too.


The Broke Person’s Guide To Decorating – Up Your Styling Game


The Broke Person's Guide To Decorating!


Found art and objects can look fabulous even if they’re free or cost a few pennies. The trick to making it look cohesive and classy is all in the art of how you arrange them. Perfect those vignettes to create eye catching mini features within your room. A good vignette will support a room’s tone, as well as make a space seem beautifully styled, sophisticated and full. Equally done wrong the room will lose its feeling of balance. So what do all great vignettes have in common I hear you ask?


Well, firstly your vignette above all else should reflect your taste. It’s no good having dozens of things in it if your a minimalist. And equally if maxamalism is you thing having only 3 items isn’t going to reflect your style either. Next is the rule of 3, or 5 or 7! Odd numbers grouped together look better than even numbers. That isn’t to say you can’t break the rules occasionally with a bit of symmetry but on the whole vignettes look more balanced with an odd number of items in them.


Carrying on with the rule of 3, you need some height, the idea is to create the shape of a triangle. Either have the highest item central, to either side or indeed both sides to create an ‘M’ shape, in this case the triangle is upside down in the middle. Always keep that triangular pattern foremost in your mind. Once you’ve styled your space up take a quick pic with your camera phone, it will help you hone in on any obvious gaps or balance issues.


The Broke Person’s Guide To Decorating – Make Ebay, Gumtree and Facebook Marketplace You Friend


The Broke Person's Guide To Decorating!


Whilst these sites are a great place to earn an extra few pennies they’re a fabulous place to save a few too. As they say, one man’s junk is another mans treasure. Let’s not forget, skips, car boot sales, charity shops and reclamation centres too! If you want a one of a kind home you’re not going to find it on the High Street. Plus, just think about how much you’re doing your bit to save the planet by not allowing a piece to go to landfill! You can pick up the odd bargain too from Ebay shops that sell off larger manufacturers returns and seconds. I paid less for my pair of gold bar stools in the kitchen than it normally costs for one. Did they have a couple of scratches? Yes, but we’d have scratched them anyway.


The Broke Person’s Guide To Decorating – Create Your Own Artwork


The Broke Person's Guide To Decorating!


Now this one might be a bit out there but give me a chance to expand. I’m not saying we all have an inner Picasso or Andy Warhol just waiting to emerge. I’m not the next Tracey Emin that’s for sure and actually I don’t think I want to be but I can create my own bit of art that I love. It may not even be the case of creating art, more how you display it. You can pick up canvases for a couple of quid and hey presto with a couple of tester pots from B&Q and you have the makings of a piece of art. Go abstract, or try geometric designs, or even decoupage it. Put your stamp on your walls.


And when it comes to framing, think outside of the box too. You can pick up some amazing vintage frames for pennies if you look hard enough. At the car boot sale or local recycling centre look beyond what’s in the frame and focus on the frame itself. Nothing looks better than a modern print in a old gilded frame. It will transform a mass produced print into a work of art. In fact you can just hang the frame itself with no art inside it whatsoever too!


So that’s my approach to designing and styling my home on an own brand lemonade budget aka ‘The Broke Person’s Guide To Decorating!’ What do you think? If you have to make those all important pennies stretch too, do you have any extra tips for us?


Rachel's Signature



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  • Reply Jane Coomber (@JaneCoomber1) November 24, 2018 at 5:35 pm

    my fridge freezer has died sadly and a cheap but new one might not get here before xmas (never let your Auti hubby order a new applience!!!)

    • Reply Rachel Edmonds November 24, 2018 at 5:58 pm

      I feel your pain, my husband ordered my washer dryer for me! It take 5 hours per wash, arrgghhhhh! Can you cancel the order and go somewhere else? I’m sending speedy delivery vibes to you x

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