Whether you buy it or make it, a stuffed ottoman is a great addition to any room.
A grouping of seashells in a glass vase is an inexpensive, natural accessory you can create yourself.
Framing and hanging personal photos in groupings is one way to create meaningful, budget-friendly artwork.
Dress an antique chair or table in an eye-catching color or pattern to underscore the juxtaposition of the classical and the modern.
Decorating with Photography
Using your own photography is an inexpensive way to create real and meaningful artwork in your home.
Money-Saving Design Secrets
Designers share budget-friendly decorating ideas.
- by Suzanne Gannon
Looking to update your home’s interior, but short on cash? Don’t despair. We’ve asked two talented designers—Connecticut-based Corey Grant Tippin and Pennsylvania-based Sharon Hanby-Robie—to share their secrets for budget decorating. Their advice can help you give your home a new look without breaking the bank.
Decorator and stylist Corey Grant Tippin suggests overhauling your bookcases in just a few simple steps. First, paint the inside back surface of the bookshelves themselves. Use a color you’ve been flirting with, but have been too afraid to use. Then select from your collection the art and decorating books with the most interesting covers and arrange them facing out. Finally, place the books with particularly dowdy covers spine in, so that the pages show. Now you’ve got a whole new look.
To bring your dining room up to date, interior designer Sharon Hanby-Robie recommends painting or re-staining an old dining table to a dark black or rich brown. Tippin suggests painting a small piece of furniture in a high-gloss black, white, or pea green for a jolt of color.
Convert your cocktail table into a cocktail ottoman. Hanby-Robie suggests creating a tailored cushion to fit the top of your table, then embellishing it with tufts and buttons. To tie the room together, she suggests creating a pair of accent pillows in the same fabric and using them on a nearby sofa or chair to add coordinated color and pattern.
Photos as Art
Using your own photography is an inexpensive way to create real (and personally meaningful) artwork. Mat, frame, and hang, and you’ve got your own gallery. There are a number of websites that can help you enlarge or recolor your images, as well as companies that specialize in printing them on canvas.
Au Natural Accessories
Got a collection of seashells in storage? Tippin suggests putting them in large, cylindrical glass vases and displaying them on a console or center hall table. For a soothing finishing touch in the bath, cut simple leaves from your garden—hostas and ferns work especially well—and arrange in small vessels on the vanity.
China Cabinet Redux
You can give your china cabinet an entirely new look, according to Tippin, by lining it with layers of burlap, lightly tacked into place. The fabric adds texture and just a touch of color. Add some polished silver; mix in some white china; and place some white faux coral in silver bowls for a striking visual.
Mix it Up
Infuse a touch of tradition into an otherwise contemporary space. Hanby-Robie recommends dressing an antique chair or table in an eye-catching color or pattern to underscore the juxtaposition of the classical and the modern.
Leverage Your Library
Choose a coffee table book off your library shelf, flip to a dynamic double-page spread, mark it with a wide satin ribbon, and then display it on your sideboard or coffee table, suggests Tippin.