Congratulations – you just purchased your first home! Or maybe you’re looking to refresh that room that’s in desperate need of a change.  If your design desires appear to be BIGGER than your budget, we’ve got some foolproof tips to get you that look for less without having to wait.


Here are some helpful ways to achieve the look you want without sacrificing quality or your budget.


  1. Reuse items you already have:

There will always be items (even those from your days of crummy-rental apartment living) that you cherish and can work into any space. But, what do you do with those other items you already have that may look dated or tired? Give your old pieces a new lease on life with a few easy changes. Re-purpose that old dresser with some updated hardware and a new place in your home. Sometimes furniture can be completely reinvented by simply moving it to a different room in the house. Re-imagine that bedroom dresser as a dining room hutch with a fresh coat of paint and updated hardware.  

  1. Did we mention paint?:

When refreshing or renovating, paint is always a good place to start.  Nothing will transform a space more than a fresh coat of paint.  Painting the walls is often the easiest and quickest way to refresh a room.  I love the simplicity of white, but keep in mind, there are probably 50 shades or more of white out there, so choose wisely. Trust your tastes and the colors you love. If you love grey and want to incorporate it, go for it, but remember to always consider the mood of the room when selecting your color.  In a bedroom or living room, you may likely opt for more soothing, cooler, neutral colors.  


Conversely, more dramatic colors may be the feeling or mood you want to envelope in social areas like the dining room.  It’s also important to consider the natural lighting in the room, which will show the truest color. Incandescent lighting will bring out warmth, whereas, fluorescent lighting will cast cooler blue tones in a room.  We opted for a soft white in this living room and added soothing neutrals to the rest of the room to create a feeling of warmth, relaxation, and calmness.  This rug from bring it all together nicely.




If you are truly starting from scratch, then you’ll want to get the bigger items of furniture off your list first (e.g., your bed, sofa, and a rug). You’ll want to ensure that these items will be of good quality and stand the test of time.


  1. Shop second hand stores:

Once main larger pieces are in place, it’s time to fill things in and make your space truly yours.  I can’t say enough about second hand stores to help you make that happen. Where else are you gonna find quality one-of-a-kind pieces? Many accessories and furniture items bought today are not made the way they used to be.  We live in a society of mass production, and so, many items we buy nowadays are made in the shortest amount of time possible, sacrificing quality for quantity.  There is no other place to find quality furniture that has stood the test of time than shopping second hand.  


Need more reasons? Choosing second hand furniture allows you to buy higher quality pieces while staying within a lower budget.  More importantly, there’s no better place to borrow than from the classics.  Here, we added a vintage pouf to this living room, giving it a classic and timeless feel.  I also love adding smaller vintage accessories like tea cups, pots, and vases to add a little history and meaning to a space.   


  1. Mix it up:  

Mixing existing items that you own with newer ones can give a room an instant update without breaking the bank.  Simply swapping accessories from one room to another can give a space a much needed shift in look and feel.  And, don’t forget to mix those second hand one-of-a-kind pieces with your newly bought items too. This will help you achieve your design desires while staying within your budget.  Here, we moved a doorway bench into the living room, accessorized it with an updated wall piece, and added a fur rug for texture.  Adding both an unexpected element of function and style.


Buying a home for the first time can be both exciting and nerve-wracking.  You’re not alone.  The exciting part – you now have a space to make all your own!! While prices can seem high to a first time home buyer, there are always ways to save if you know where to look.  Happy decorating!!