11 Ideas for Designing on a Budget

Check out these chic-on-the-cheap decorating tips.

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7. Wait Patiently for Sales and Discounts
Wait to find what you really love at a price you really love. While you shop, ask if items will be discounted any time soon. Store and department managers are usually the best sources for this insider info and may even offer you the discounted price before it goes into effect.

8. Mix, Don’t Match
Not only is a "matchy-matchy" look boring, but buying entire suites of furniture tends to cost more than putting together a creative, eclectic look. Mix it up by opting for a couch and chairs upholstered in complementary fabrics, flanking a bed with unmatched nightstands and decorating with other diverse items unified by color, form, material and tone. Or try pairing a stately wood table with shiny aluminum or brightly colored plastic chairs. And don’t be afraid to mix high-end and low-end or modern and traditional.

9. Sew Your Own Linens
If you have a sewing machine, you can quickly and easily transform patterned flat sheets into curtain panels, pillow and duvet covers, tablecloths, and even slipcovers — and pay a small fraction of what you’d shell out for fabric yardage. Of course, this assumes you’ve had successful sewing experience or are good friends with a seamstress.

10. Add Unexpected Accessories
Almost anything can serve as an accessory, and that goes for found objects and household items that cost practically nothing. Architectural corbels rescued from a salvage yard make great bookends, while seashells and driftwood collected at the shore create a lovely natural grouping. A bowl filled with crisp green apples lends a bright pop of color to just about any surface, and a stack of vintage hardbacks adds height, dimension and character to an occasional table.

11. Reuse Items You Already Have
You don’t have to buy new pieces to turn your tired domicile into a hip space. Instead, turn a fresh eye to what you already have and think about how it might be camouflaged, repurposed or reimagined. Reinvent a drab dresser in a guest bedroom as a dramatic dining-room sideboard with a few coats of glossy black paint and sparkling new hardware. Make over that old couch with a slipcover in a fabulous fabric. Turn plain pillows into eye-catching accents by stenciling simple designs on them. After all, there’s no better budget stretcher than your imagination.

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