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High impact design ideas for low budgets

Creating a design impact in your home needn’t cost the earth. Check out these ideas for going bold on a budget

High impact design ideas for low budgets

Abigail Owens, Houzz Contributor
Brought to you by Houzz

I absolutely love hearing your feedback and I’ve been getting quite a few requests to share some ideas about how to make a real design feature in your home that not only keeps within a small budget, but doesn’t require a multi-million pound property in which to execute it. The good news is that it’s easy to do – it just takes a little inspiration. I hope these suggestions spark some ideas for your home.


Try a trio of bold canvases

An oversized canvas covered with simple shapes in colours you love is one way of adding an original decorative feature to a room. Blank canvases are inexpensive, and this is an opportunity to really put your artistic mark on your home.

Triptychs are a great way of making a bold style statement, as well as filling up a blank wall. But this also works well on a much smaller scale. The joy of painting your own is that if you don’t like it, you can just start again.

Alternatively, source some original art from one of the more affordable art houses, such as Artfinder, or go to a show such as The Affordable Art Fair. Art graduates often sell their work online, too, which is a great way to invest in something you love without the hefty price tag.

Get inspiration for painting your own canvases

Eclectic Stoke Newington Apartment

Think outside the wardrobe

This just looks fantastic – and what a brilliant and affordable way to bring a little cheekiness into your home. I think this could work with all sorts of things – odd socks, hankies or even teddy bears in your child’s bedroom. The painted handrail really ties this look together, too. So be bold and pick out an accent colour from your display and use it somewhere else in the room to maximise the statement.

Emifocus Fire

Pick out architectural details

Using contrasting colours on your woodwork is another way to bring some fun into a space. I love these lime green skirting boards, which really highlight the black fireplace and make it the star of the show. This idea would work brilliantly in other areas, too: you could choose a fresh hue for your doors or maybe just the architraves, or add colour to a dado or picture rail.

Painting is a great way to be adventurous and you always have the option of painting it back to the original colour once you’ve exhausted your creativity!

Home for Now book by Joanna Thornhill (Cico Books, 2014)

Add character with books

You can often squeeze a bookshelf into the smallest of places and I just love how much character this arrangement has brought into this little cloakroom.

If you don’t have a lot of books, then get down to your nearest car-boot sale, market or charity shop, where you’ll find hundreds of paperbacks for pennies rather than pounds. Painting the shelves makes them feel all the more quirky and shows you really can bring life to even the smallest areas in your home.

Discover more creative ways to display your books

Chelsea Town House

Invigorate with a wall mural

Wall stickers are a cheap and very effective way to add some artwork into your room when you don’t want to go to the expense and labour of hanging wallpaper. There are plenty of stickers available that can be peeled off without causing damage to the paintwork, too – a real plus when you fancy a change.

Obviously, the smaller the area you want to cover, the less it’s going to cost, so choosing this space above the loo is a great idea, as it still makes a big impact. On a side note, I also love the pink painted radiator that ties in with the smaller pink accessories and works beautifully with the greys.

Explore more ways to play with colour

Belmont House

Frame your treasures

Small box frames are very affordable and you can buy them in many of the high street home stores. And the possibilities are endless: you might frame shells you found on the beach, your baby’s first shoes or a piece of treasured jewellery that you no longer wear.

Clustering smaller pictures together on the wall creates more of a feature and gives that eclectic feel so many people want to achieve in their homes.

Colour Pop Apartment

Choose small mirrors with big reflections

I love this cluster of bullseye mirrors, but if your budget won’t stretch to these, you could source a collection of second-hand framed mirrors to achieve a similar look. Mirrors are a great way of bouncing light around a room and smaller ones are sometimes less intrusive and more flattering, especially in a bedroom. Sometimes you don’t want to see your whole reflection when you’ve just got out of bed!

Bring new purpose to old pieces

Vanity units can be very expensive and, if you don’t need loads of storage, sourcing an old table or chest and retro-fitting a basin is a brilliant way to achieve that look without the huge expense.

You can, of course, give your piece a fresh lease of life with a lick of paint and new handles, but I love this untouched, peeling paint look. More ornate pieces work brilliantly in cloakrooms, where you might want a bit more glamour, and where you can get away with something quirky that doesn’t need to match the rest of the house.

Creative Spaces by Geraldine James

Lean rather than hang

Sometimes, hanging pictures is too big a commitment – especially if you’re renting. And if you like change, by simply resting pictures on a ledge instead, you can keep moving things around. Shallow ledges are very affordable and look great when they are painted to match the walls.

I love the empty gilt frame on this shelf – and it’s much cheaper than having to buy the painting, too! This look can be as big or as small as you like, but it will always look great. And when you get bored, you can soon shake things up a bit with a new artwork or accessory.


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