CONNIE OLIVER AROUND THE HOUSE
The economy is on everyone’s mind these days. The more you hear about the recession the more you think twice about spending money on unnecessary i t ems . Ev e n the home décor industry, which is usually considered recession-proof, is noticing a slowdown. The recession is also seeing consumers spending more time at home rather than going out for entertainment. To that end we should not forgo maintaining a décor that is vibrant and enjoyable.
Now more than ever it’s important to use your money wisely when updating your rooms. Using what you have to its fullest advantage is one way to keep the budget in check. Paint and wallpaper are also good budget-friendly revivers that can be used to help keep your space up to date. There are a few dollar-stretching tricks to follow that may help you keep your interior projects on target.
Our feature bathroom, courtesy of Benjamin Moore, has more than one money-saving decorating trick up its sleeve. This bathroom is a great example of how just a little bit of paint can create a huge impact. The striped-wall design, gleaned from the upholstery fabric on the back of the antique chair, is an easy but effective update that anyone can do. The vibrant colours in the Benjamin Moore palette are what make this room pop. You could easily purchase a few sample pots to get a similar look which is easier on the budget than having to purchase paint for an entire room redo. You may even have some leftover interior latex paint that could be used to transform a room in your home. You don’t have to have a full gallon of paint to make a décor change. Stripes, large geometric colour splashes, focal walls and so on can all be used to update any room in your home without much cost or time involved. Painting an entire room takes a few days to complete whereas a focal wall of colour may take only a day over the weekend. I personally love quick projects that can be done on a whim. I hope I’m motivating you to check out those half-empty cans of paint. You could do a quick update today!
Another money-saving idea from our feature photograph is the use of small bits of upholstery fabric on the antique chair. If you can find remnant pieces of great fabric, you can recover a small piece inexpensively. In this case, the use of three different but co-ordinating fabrics make the traditional chair eclectic and fun. If you are considering reupholstering any furniture, another money-saving idea is to choose a solid colour or a smaller pattern. Larger patterns have to be matched and as a result there is a lot more wasted fabric that you have to pay for.
The simple window treatments in this room are made more interesting by the way they are hung to create a balloon/swag effect. Adorning inexpensive window panels is another way to save money but still update your décor. Again, smaller fabric remnants along with decorative accents like braided trim can be sewn together to create a unique look. If you need a curtain rod consider using inexpensive PVC tubing, copper piping (I saw a length of it on the clearance table at Canadian Tire recently) or even a piece of decorative driftwood. These items can be covered in fabric or painted to create a finished look.
FOLLOW THE DEALS
I often let the deal decide change in my space. If you want to do this as well you’ll have to keep your mind open to the possibilities. For example, if your kitchen cabinets need an overhaul you can update them with paint of course, but also consider mixing up the hardware for a casual look. You can often find deals on a few great drawer pulls or knobs so scoop them up if you like them. Don’t assume that you have to purchase matching hardware. One style for the drawer handles and another for the cabinet knobs can make for an interesting look. If you don’t have enough paint to make the cabinets a uniform colour then paint the top and bottom cabinets in co-ordinating colours, or paint the drawer fronts a different colour from the door fronts. There are no hard-and-fast rules anymore. Create your own style.
Here are some decorating ideas that will help you save money: use mismatched ceramic tiles to create a mosaic backsplash or tabletop; one discounted roll of wallpaper can be used to create a focal wall in a small bathroom or can be used to create a focal point at the head of the bed; exchange leftover paint and/or décor items with friends – they may have colours that you like and vice versa; hold a decorating swap meet for family and friends and exchange unwanted décor items; look for deals on mistinted paint or discontinued wallpaper; create your own artwork by framing black and white photographs, copyright-free images from the Internet or paint a canvas yourself with leftover paint; use leftover fabric or great remnants to update small furniture; create toss pillows or even to frame as art.
Don’t automatically pull out the catalogue when you need or want a change. Look at what you have and update it to create a new look in your space.
– Connie Oliver is an interior designer from Winnipeg