With house prices at a high, many first-time buyers struggle to find the extra cash to alter their homes once they have invested all their cash in buying the property.  Young families also may find it difficult to find the extra money to change their homes and add luxuries such as reclining sofas.

But to make a difference, you don’t have to hire an interior designer. DIY stores are more than happy to help instruct their customers on how to develop design skills. With a little patience, research and a little extra effort, a designer look can be achieved without designer prices. Here are my tips for interior design on a budget.

transfer stickers image borrowed from Furniture Reviews Now dot com


Old furniture picked up at garage sales and second-hand stores can be made to look as good as new.  A little paint can change a drab chest of drawers into something special. Try white paint with a distressed effect for a shabby chic look. A bold color can add a twist to an old-fashioned wardrobe; transfer stickers can also give it a touch of individuality.

Paint & Wallpaper

Many wallpapers can be expensive; at the cheaper end, they tend to look cheap too. Try investing in a few rolls of expensive but beautiful paper, and decorate a chimney breast or feature wall. You can paint the rest of the room in a complementary or contrasting color, but this reduces the cost without taking away any of the class. An alternative could be to paint the walls a neutral color and use one of the many Wall Decals (vinyl stickers) available, there are hundreds of designs to choose from and you could make something truly unique.


If you are cursed with an ugly carpet or floor, try covering them with a rug. Rugs are cheaper than re-flooring a whole room and can take the focus away from worn or ugly flooring. If you can afford it there are some cheaper yet, effective laminate flooring available, and you could always choose to fit it yourself to reduce costs. Another option is to strip the floor to the floorboards, sand it, then paint with floor paint. This can give a wonderful effect which would complement other painted furniture.

Editor’s Note: An affordable DIY with a big payout, Create an Area Rug with Carpet Tiles.

Tie it All Together with Accessories

With a good eye you can select a few items such as pictures, ornaments and vases from thrift stores or garage sales.  It may take a little more time and effort, but to design your interior yourself on a tight budget can not only save you money but be incredibly rewarding. Free your creative side.


Note from the hosts:  If you haven’t guessed, Susan is out of the UK, and, well — you may have heard, we’re getting kinda big there. Anyway a thanks again to Susan, and we’ve provided a short glossary of terms below.  Enjoy! ~jb

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More Moxie (Glossary of Terms)

* Transfer stickers — vinyl wall decals.
* Chimney breast — a portion of a wall which projects forward over a fireplace.  Per the author — “I think the term here is ‘smokestack’.”
* Feature wall — a single wall of color in an otherwise plain-walled room.