From my childhood bedroom to my college dorm room and now to my first house, I’ve always loved designing my space and making it my own. I was that kid who was obsessed with House Hunters, Design on a Dime, Sensible Chic (I miss this show!) and of course Trading Spaces! Basically I was entranced by any design show, and the DIY projects always inspired me to build, craft and paint. My poor mom would drive my to Michael’s, Lowe’s, Ikea, anywhere I could get my supplies, and I would go at it.
Who could forget the time I reupholstered all the dining room chairs (I think I was 12). Or the time I sewed curtains for my sister’s dorm room at USC. Or the time I mounted my own flat screen on my wall. Good times. 😉
No project was too big for my to tackle back then, and things have only escalated since then. I’ll be showcasing one of my favorite design projects, my bedroom, on the blog later this week, but I thought I would kick off design week by sharing my top 5 design tips! Have your paint, power drills, and sewing machines handy, and feel free to turn your screens to HGTV (if you’re at work or in class, don’t worry I won’t tell!). Let’s get designing!
There are new design trends popping up everywhere. Especially with all the design blogs and Pinterest boards out there, you may start to question your true style. My advice is to try to stick to the style you’ve always loved. This is your space to live in, and it shouldn’t aim to please anyone but yourself. So what if guests think a pink couch is weird! They don’t live there. If it makes you happy, that’s all that matters! You make your own design rules, just use the shows, pins and blogs posts as inspiration. Always remember to add personal touches to put your stamp on your space. No one wants to live in an Ikea showroom!
Now that you’ve determined what your personal style is, it’s time to start shopping! Over the course of about four bedroom redesigns and various house projects, I’ve learned that sometimes (but not all the time) it’s important to splurge on the important items. With a limited budget, it’s often tempting to buy everything from Ikea or Target, but there are some circumstances when it’s worth it to spend a little extra, save time and work, and purchase a better quality product. In a recent guest room/office redesign this summer, my mom and I were contemplating on whether to get an Ikea sofa bed or spend a little extra and get a better quality sofa bed, similar to this one from Pottery Barn. So I was a a standstill, because, y’all, I love nice things, but I hate spending money more than anything! (I seriously get anxiety about it!) I’m always trying to be budget conscious. We went back and forth for days, but ultimately decided to spend a little more and go with the nicer couch, and let me tell you, it was so worth it! There really was no comparison, and after researching the Ikea bed more, we discovered that it was uncomfortable and not durable!
Once you’ve determined what items you want to spend a bulk of your budget on, it’s time to bargain hunt for the rest of the room elements! But bargain hunting doesn’t mean you have to skimp out on design! It sounds cliche, but thrift stores can have the coolest and unique items. It may take a little more work, but often times you strike gold with the treasures! If you don’t have that much time on your hands, check out my favorite store ever … your local HomeGoods! This place has just about everything from lamps to rugs to furniture. If they don’t have it, it’s likely that it doesn’t exist. And the best part is that EVERYTHING is marked down from other retailer’s prices. A.K.A this place is Disneyland, and everything is high-quality gorgeousness! Go crazy. Seriously.
I’ve also found that sometimes what you need is staring right at you, you just need to look at it in a new way. It’s amazing what a little hardware, paint or stain can do. I was fortunate to have some furniture come with my house this year, but the desk was, let’s just say, not the cutest thing ever. My mom and I searched at a local Habitat Restoration Store (another fave), Target, etc. but I felt guilty spending money on a item that’s already been provided for me. I’m so happy that I didn’t find anything I liked at those stores because I decided to try to re-purpose the desk I had. We went down to Home Depot and bought some gorgeous new silver knobs and handles for the drawers, bought some touche up paint, and cleaned it up to sparkley white perfection. I think we spent maybe $10 on everything, and it looks like a brand new desk! I love it!
Lastly, this is my favorite design tip. You really can do it yourself. You don’t need to hire someone to build your desk or paint your walls! My mom always thinks I’m crazy taking on DIY’s like painting curtains or building desks, but I know I can do it! And I love seeing how astonished she is at the finished product. This not only saves money, but you learn new things as you go that can be applied to other projects in the future. Believe in yourself, you are more creative than you think! You can do it!
I hope these tips help you and inspired you with your next design project! It can be done on a budget and still look beautiful! Now go check out your local HomeGoods, and feel free to stay there for a day or two, you won’t want to leave! 🙂
Leave some love, and let me know what your top five design tips are or any projects you’ve completed recently! I would love to hear!