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    Experts say it is possible to freshen up your home's interior without breaking the bank.

  • Painting

    Painting is one of the easiest, and most economical, ways to give a room a new look and feel.

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Painting is one of the easiest, and most economical, ways to give a room a new look and feel.


Small Budget, Big Imagination

If your current decorating budget won't allow large purchase, there is still a lot you can do to spruce up your space. “You can make great changes to a room for $20,” says Kathy Wilson, an interior designer known as The Budget Decorator. Or less. Even if you’re flat broke, you can still take action. “When there isn’t a dime to spare, rearrange the furniture, borrow accessories from other rooms, and clean out the clutter for a brand new look without spending a dime,” Wilson says.


Making a budget can be a bit challenging the first time out, but with a little legwork and a calculator you’ll save yourself a lot of anguish down the road. You don’t have to do everything all at once. “Rooms decorated on a budget usually come together over time, not overnight out of a magazine,” Wilson says.


  • Be flexible.Wilson points out that there is plenty you can do for little to no expense. “Slipcover furniture, paint the dining set an elegant color, use a throw rug to cover warm carpet, or learn faux paint finishes to create one of a kind custom looks on your cabinetry,” she says.
  • Upgrade where you can. “There are always ways to create a warm home no matter how tight your budget,” Wilson says. “Remember you can enhance, recover and renew almost anything that you already own. Paint, fabric and a little elbow grease go a long way.”

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  • Redecorate on Any Budget

    The 'Budget Decorator' shows how you can freshen up your home's interior for less.

    by Sam Gaines

    In this time of belt-tightening, the idea of redecorating your home may not have occurred to you. In fact, "we can't afford it right now" may have been the first thought to cross your mind. However, there are many ways you can update your home's décor without breaking the bank.


    Scratch Out Starting from Scratch

    What can you do on a limited budget? Plenty, as it turns out, and it doesn’t have to be a major production. “Redecorating is a great way to create a warm and comfortable home while also saving money—because you aren’t starting from scratch,” says Kathy Wilson, home and garden expert and editor of “Many of your favorite items you already own can be used in your redecorating scheme, put together and enhanced in new ways.”


    Have a Decorating Plan

    You can’t create a budget until you know what you plan to do. Wilson recommends starting with a decorating plan. “Create a theme, and write out a plan that fulfills your wants and needs,” she says. “You can’t create a budget until you know what you want, or you will waste a lot of money on impulse purchases.”


    Shop Around

    How do you know how much to budget for furnishings and décor? “Use your decorating plan to make a list and get estimated costs,” Wilson says. “When something appears too costly, look for a less expensive way to create the same effect for less.”

    Now it’s time to hit the stores. Price what you need and compare those prices to get your best deal. One more thing: Never go pricing without that decorating plan. “Even the most experienced decorator can get into trouble buying things out of budget and inappropriate for the room if they don’t have a guide to keep them on track,” Wilson notes.


    Start with the Big Projects First

    By starting with the bigger items on your list, you can make the biggest impact in the least amount of time, says Wilson. “Painting the walls or slip-covering the furniture may be the first step you want to budget for, and then plan to make more changes as your budget allows over time,” she says.


    Work with Your Retailer

    If your redecorating project involves purchasing new furniture, work with the retailer to make the most of your budget. Make the sales associate your partner in redesign. They can help you plan and organize your purchases over time so that you get the most bang for your buck.


    Use an In-Store Designer

    If you can't afford to hire an interior designer for your home décor project, you may be able to find one at your furniture retailer who can assist you for no additional charge. Apartment Zero, a Washington, D.C.-based contemporary home furnishings and accessories store, is one of many furniture retailers offering in-store consultants. “We offer a full range of design services, including space planning, color coordination, furniture, wall and floor covering, and architectural design and renovation,” says Douglas Burton, co-owner and operator of Apartment Zero.

    In-store designers can also help you select items in the store that best fit your budget and design plan.