Decorate Your Home on a Budget
Ideas for Cheap Home Interior Decoration
Decorating your own home can seem a daunting project, particularly if there are constraints on your budget. Here are some inexpensive and original ideas on how to make your house a beautiful home, based on my own experience with our first home in a terraced house in South Wales. We had plenty of time to think about decoration while we did all the essential work necessary to renovate an old house: installing new floors, central heating, and electrics, and stripping layers of wallpaper. Some of the methods used are described in more detail here.
Nine Home Decorating Ideas
Use aerosol “spray etch” on glass door panels and mirrors to recreate expensive etched glass effects.
Buy a few metres of good fabric and create cushion covers, or trims and panels for existing cushions, matching pelmets and curtain ties to give a feeling of harmony.
Strip off old paint and varnish from floors, doors, old furniture and original fittings and fireplaces to reveal their natural beauty, then use wax, oil, natural varnish or repaint as preferred.
Make elegant wall panelling out of MDF then finish with eggshell or satin paint.
Make your own stencils and add subtle borders to walls with lettering or pattern – avoiding the more 1980s effects!
Paint your stairs rather than carpet them.
Follow a design theme – use an existing feature such as Victorian tiling and repeat the design on walls, glass etc.
Use a favourite painting as a source for your colour palette for paint and fabrics.
Transform an ordinary glazed door with stained glass – using recycled panels or commissioning a stained glass artist.
The Living Room
As an artist I am interested in how spaces work to create a flow around a room, with features giving interest at varying levels. Proportion is important and architects and mathematicians have for many centuries recognised the Golden Mean (which is a ratio of 1 to 1.618) as an aid to achieving aesthetically pleasing proportions. It can also be useful when applied to interiors. Here, the room is roughly divided into three sections.
At ceiling height an original fitted shelving unit was stripped of paint and is used as a bookcase. Another focal point is created by an unusual pelmet and the use of lettering around the wall – in this case a favourite poem by W B Yeats.
The chimney breast was stripped of plaster to reveal the bricks beneath and a mantelpiece added at two thirds height, creating another level.
Up to dado level, following the height of the windowsill, we constructed panelling out of MDF and painted it with duck-egg blue eggshell paint. The panelling continues through into the kitchen to give a feeling of continuity. Paintings and prints create interest at each level.
A glazed door will allow light through and can be decorated with “etched” patterns and calligraphy. This creates lovely light effects with the etching reflected onto walls. This was achieved by drawing the lettering onto a sheet of clear acetate, then “cutting” out the letters or shapes using a soldering iron with a fine point. Alternatively use a craft knife. The letters are taped or glued onto the glass using masking tape or spray mount as these should not leave a mark on the glass The spray etch is then applied in a few layers, allowing each layer to dry before applying another. When an even, frosted effect is reached just peel off the acetate letters.
Spray etch has been used again in the bedroom, applied around a mirror simply made from a framed piece of mirrored glass. Mirrors are extremely useful for throwing light around a room and giving a feeling of more space. As in the living room paintings and prints are used at different heights to break up space and lead the eye around the room. Here, simple plain curtains are perked up with decorative curtain pole reflecting the dark wood of the picture rail and furniture. The walls have been painted blue - a calm restful colour for a bedroom.
Following a Design Theme
If you are decorating an old house with some original features, think about taking design inspiration from features such as Victorian floor or fireplace tiles, then using this motif in stencilled borders, etched glass, or painted floors.
Here the pattern of the Victorian floor tiles has been used to decorate a painted staircase as well as a narrow border around the top of the walls.
Each of the rooms has its own distinct character which is all pulled together by using cream walls throughout and allowing features such as the panelling in the living room, calligraphy and stencilling to connect rooms and create a flow.
Transform a plain glazed front door by fitting panels of stained glass. These could be recycled from a reclamation yard or made by a stained glass artist. These panels were inspired by other original stained glass doors in the area and made by Cardiff glass artist, Ruth Shelley (link below).
Stained glass adds another dimension to a room, throwing gorgeous patterns of light onto walls and floors, giving a feeling of warmth and vibrancy.
Inspiration for home decoration can be found in so many places - books and magazines, art galleries, gardens, other people's houses! A colour palette can be lifted from a well-loved painting or reflect a favourite combination of flowers. Adding personal details such as the calligraphy gives warmth and meaning to the home. I believe houses are not just bricks and mortar, they absorb the lives lived in them and reflect their owners personality. You can have a lot of fun too expressing yourself through your home's appearance!
More by this Author
How to use sculpture to best effect in the garden. Finding the perfect piece of sculpture for a specific site will turn your borders, pools, hedges and vistas to poetry.
Guidelines on how to create a lovely garden sanctuary in a small urban space. Design and planting advice for creating your own piece of paradise whilst encouraging birds, bees and butterflies.
Describing the materials and methods used to design and make a simple pebble mosaic for your garden. Create decorative borders or focal points to add interest to lawns, paths and paving.