On the record, I don’t believe that you need money to prove you have style for a second! Necessity is the mother of invention and there’s nothing like limitations to get the creative juices flowing. Now onto fear number three!
Fear 3: I don’t want to waste money.
Yeah, who does? This fear isn’t unrealistic but there are a number of ways to safeguard against it.
If you worked your way through fear two, you should have a clearer idea of your design tastes. This in and of itself will help you save money. You won’t have to guess whether something is or isn’t your style and will thereby save yourself both time and money from making mistakes. Sure you can repaint that room and most stores have forgiving return policies but if you can avoid it, why not? Knowing thineself will also get the added perk of being able to pounce on deals. The Bowery Storage Bench in Lazuli (above) that stands at the foot of our bed, it was the LAST ONE when I found it scrolling through the pages of Joss & Main. But I already had something similar in mind so I busted out the credit card and made it mine. All mine!
Another way to reduce your financial risk (and heartache) is when going big (on the wallet, that is) go neutral. A trained designer may be able to buy that in-your-face citron chaise, but beginners (like moi) are safer to go with classic designs and neutral colors. Doesn’t sound brave and bold, which is supposed to be the mission of this blog, right? Perhaps. But those pieces will be able to change and evolve with you and you can go carazy… on throw pillows : ] And luckily, there are a host of colors that are neutral and not boring, like navy and charcoal grey. Beige is no longer the only color synonymous with neutral.
When shopping for these pieces, and others, try avoiding retail shopping if possible. The most obvious alternatives are thrift stores and garage sales but personally I like keeping my eye on Craigslist once I have in mind what I want. When The Hubs and I first moved in together, we went the retail route. We were in somewhat of a hurry and we had a compact car; we weren’t about to transport a couch, we wanted that thing delivered to us! When he ended up getting a pick-up truck for The Hubs’s work it was game on for me! Thrifting takes more time. It’s a game of patience and there is typically some work involved (like steam cleaning a couch) when you get the piece in your hot little hands. Personally, I prefer this because it allows us to tread more lightly on this earth; you can usually snag items of a better quality than what you are paying; and it supports a more collected, less matchy-matchy feel. Budgeting always helps anytime money comes into the picture, too.
Give yourself a realistic budget before you start your hunt. This will manage your expectations and curb your frustrations. I wanted a rug for our living room. But I’m
cheap frugal. I didn’t want to spend a lot. How not a lot? The rug we landed on from Ikea (above) was less than $20 and that was about all I was willing to spend on a rug. It was a find and I’m happy with it but, of course there’s a but, had I done any research, I would have known that for the size I wanted I needed to be prepared to shell out at least $100 if not more. The rug we got is sorta like a place holder. And that means it’s temporary and that means that 20 dollars could have gone towards a forever rug. You, however, may be in a different stage of decorating. You might already have the basics down and are working on the details.
If you have the basics and it’s just a matter of putting something up on the walls, try shopping your own home. Display your collections. Re-purpose what you already own. That set of luggage passed down from your parents? Stack ’em up and voila! Bedside table. Spray paint is also fabulous at hiding imperfections and updating dated pieces.
And finally, just clean and organize your space! It can do wonders to improving the flow and energy of a space and doesn’t cost a dime, just a bit of elbow grease. This might not seem like design advice but think back to a space you saw after it was cleaned and everything was put back in it’s place; it looked like a different room, right?
Have you ever spent outside of your comfort zone and regretted it? Have you found any creative ways of working around not having limitless piles of money?