Decorating your Home on a Low Budget

Nesting is a real thing.  I got a full dose of it when I was pregnant with bubba.  Our living space was stressing me out and the impending (non-extendable) timeline of when bubba would enter this world only served to magnify this.  I yearned for the clean, minimalistic styling that I saw on blogs and magazines.  I wanted a nursery for bubba.  I knew that bubba probably wouldn’t even sleep in the nursery (at least for the first chunk of her life) but I still wanted a nursery.  Just because.  Practically speaking there wasn’t space for it.  My family and I were living in an ‘in-between’ home.  A family home with pre-existing furniture plus the furniture that we had brought with us.  Everywhere I turned there was stuff.  Boxes and boxes of stuff.  Instead of being grateful for this space that we are blessed to have for this moment in our lives, I was unkind.  I said unkind things.  I shed tears.  I was embarrassed to open our house to friends and neighbours.

That was until I encountered a lovely lady who helped me to see things differently.  She’s an interior designer and she helped me to understand that styling doesn’t have to equal lots of money.  It’s about being creative with what you already own.

“Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.”

This will mean different things for different people, but here a few basic principles which may spark some ideas!

1. Write Out your Intentions for your Home

I had this notion in my head that I wanted a clean, primarily white and birch home with very little things in it.  So I went on this chuck-away-things frenzy ie. does it spark joy? ;).   However, when I sat down to think about (and write out) what I would like my home to be for me, for my husband, and for my child, these were my thoughts: I wanted our home to be cozy, comfortable, happy, hospitable, life-giving, restful, rejuvenating and a place where everyone who lives there can be at their best and worst.  When I looked over my intentions for our home, it didn’t marry the notion I had in my head.  For example, I wanted a happy/ cozy place, so a more colourful setting with lots of textiles would work better than the white/ cool colour palette I had in mind.  Sometimes what I see in magazines, blogs and Instagram may look amazing, but may not be a good fit for my family’s lifestyle.

2. Function First

Our space should fit our lifestyle.  It doesn’t make sense to carve our lifestyle around how our space is set up.  For the longest time, the biggest room in our house was a formal sitting area with a fireplace – which we never used.  The smallest room in our house was a little study/storage area – where my hubby and I spent a lot of time (cause we do a lot of our work on the computer).  So we finally decided to switch things up – we’re moving our workbench into the sitting room where there’s a lot more open space and sunshine!  I don’t know why it took us so long to think of that.  We just have to pretty it up a bit…..but after scouring Pinterest I’m pretty sure we can make it work.

3. Use Everyday Objects

Glass jars, and baskets (and Kmart!) is your best friend here.  My motto is to beg, borrow or buy second-hand before purchasing something that I think I need (often it’s just a want :P)  I’d been on the lookout for a teeny tiny bookshelf for bubba cause books are her thing and she’s got lots of them strewn everywhere.  I wanted something that was safe for her (no crazy sharp edges!) and something that she could easily access, so she can pull books out to read herself.  After searching high and low, I found that turning a woven, square storage box  (that we already had) sideways did the trick!  Total money spent? $0.

Source leaves, flowers, herbs and branches from the garden, or buy an inexpensive indoor plant in a decorative planter! (some plants also serve as air filters which is a double bonus)  You can crochet your own decorative planter using inexpensive/upcycled t-shirt yarn (more on this in another post!).  Hang your children’s artwork, use food as decor! (eg. Jar of lemons on the kitchen table, a grazing table for a party).  This way you can eat it (ha!) and you don’t have leftover streamers/decor which you don’t know what to do with after the event.

4. Know Your Style

I didn’t know what my decorating style was, so our house was full of mismatched stuff.  One day I wanted to emulate a beachy look (after we came back from a beach holiday!)  The next day I wanted shabby chic cause I saw a great magazine cover showcasing that particular style.  A neat little trick I heard about is to spend some time on Pinterest (Addictive, no?) pinning photos of decorating styles that you like.  After awhile, you’ll get to see overlaps between the pins you like – and from there you can work on refining your style.

5. Traditions and Memories

The thing I remember most about my childhood home wasn’t how tidy or how messy it was.  All that sticks in my mind are moments in time – happy memories, sad memories (and all those memories in between!)  What traditions and memories do you wish to leave your child with?  How can you create a  living space which helps to foster this?  My friend mentioned the other day that she did lots of cooking/baking with her Mum when she was young, and her Mum would always write down the dates on the recipes of when they cooked each recipe for the first time….and she loved looking back on it.  I want my child to grow up having these little tidbits of memories and traditions to look back on also.

What’s your favourite childhood memories and traditions growing up?  Are there any decorating tips and ideas which have worked really well?  Please do share x

Thanks to Boutique Yellow for sparking these ideas!

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