Lauren Tunney: Creating Home on a Budget

I admit it - I love interiors and all things decor. It excites me to no end to imagine and create beautiful spaces but what doesn't excite me is the price tag that can often go with pretty things! But what I have found, with a bit of pre-planning, a lot of patience and a dash of imagination, it is possible to craft a unique, warm and functional space without selling an organ!



Here are a few of my tried and tested tips to keep in mind, next time you want to refresh a room or even just one area, in your home but want to stick to a budget!


1.Know what you’re trying to achieve!

It's far easier to sniff out a good deal when you know the style/look you're going for as well as your practical needs. If you don't really know what you're looking for, invest some time in getting some inspiration. Pinterest is full of great ideas, as is Instagram! Also, determine how much you're willing to spend to achieve your goal. If I am trying to put together a space, I like to put together a mood board, like the one below (Canva is awesome for this). I'll add what I already have (either by taking a photo or sourcing an image that is similar) and the style of things I would like to get (not necessarily the exact items) so I can get a feel for what will work. Then you'll know what you looking for and can pass on anything you know isn't going to work within those parameters (and this includes those specials things we see and fall in love with - even though they don't fit the budget!)



2. Think outside the box and be willing to be flexible!

Retailers want you to want the newest thing - don’t fall into that trap! Ever walked into Kmart and felt like you needed everything? My hand is well up!! Everyone who knows me, knows I love me some K-Mart. It is a really great option to bring in more "trendy" items into your home or wardrobe. But, it is also likely that there are thousands of others out there with the same "trendy" items. Second hand or customising something else is not only a way to be friendlier to the budget but you can also get a better quality item at a lower cost as well as getting something that is more unique and a better reflection of your personality! Facebook Marketplace and Gumtree are popular options for this or make a day of it and head out to some of your local thrift shops. Again, keeping in mind, your budget, and how flexible you are (can you pick up a couch with your vehicle? Are you willing to drive the extra few kilometers to collect). I look for the things I can't change - like shape or material something is made of. When looking for furniture, look for timber not melamine or chipboard, as you can easily paint timber furniture. Colour can change! Shape and size can’t, generally! Here is a dresser I renovated recently that acts as a bedside table! A quick paint job and new handles and voila! Even better, it was all done in an afternoon.

BEFORE AFTER

3. Be patient but know when to pounce! We recently bought a couch we had wanted for over a year - it is currently retailing at $1899. We nearly bought it in the post-Christmas sales for $1699 and then again during the COVID lockdown for $1299 (but this meant a 17 week wait time)! So we held off. And, a little bit of favour later, the same couch popped up on Facebook Marketplace for $1200! We paid the asking price because we had done our research and knew it was a good deal, so we pounced. I am writing this post sitting on it right now! The same goes when perusing for retail items. Be patient for the sales and when it hits the price you willing to pay - pounce! This is where it pays (literally) to know what your budget it. If you're buying through a classified site (like Facebook Marketplace) negotiating tip101 is to know your position! Know how much your willing to pay and how quickly you can collect. Most people want their stuff sold, so if you can collect sooner your likely to be able to negotiate. But having said that, if you know it’s a good deal, chances are, so does someone else! So picking when to negotiate is important.


4. Mixing it up is fun! The best way to find a bargain is to use something you already have! A hand me down piece from a family member or friend, a kid's artwork (or your own if your feeling creative). Print a memory off your Instagram and frame it - wow outrageous! Add personality and a true sense of home with things only you can bring! You! Your favourite books on display, a travel momento you collected but is collected dust in a cupboard! Move items from one room to another or change somethings function. Maybe it's a sideboard that becomes a TV stand or a small dresser becomes a nightstand. Adding these with the new and the trendy, layers in personality and warmth to your home or as the cool people say.....hygge!


Keep adding in and swapping out until your happy. And have fun! It's your home - so enjoy it!


I hope these tips are helpful.....and if you have any for me, I’d love to hear them! Comment below! I am always looking for new ways to find a bargain.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Lauren is one of the team at iSEE CHURCH. Aside from running our Media and Events team, she's also the resident (and self-proclaimed) decor gal. If there is a space that needs painting, renovating or re-zhuzhing, she usually finds a way to be involved!

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