7 Tips to update any space when you have no budget!

Those of you who read my post on my 2019 Goals will know that a big one I have is to create inspiring spaces this year. My first ‘big’ project was to make over/ renovate my home office.  As you’ll see in the video I did this with practically no budget. To do this day, nearly a month later I still find myself stopping in the doorway as I pass to enjoy the space. My hubby even said at the weekend that he still can’t get over the difference with just a few small changes! So far, all I bought for that make over was a can of paint for €25 [on sale] 3 frames at €1.50 each and a poster for €1.50 – a total spend of €31. [Full disclosure, I do plan to buy a new blind, chair and rug in the future when I find what I want.] But the point is, you can make BIG differences to a space for no budget, or about €30 if you want to be pedantic. So how do you do this?

Assess the space.

The very first thing you’re going to do is sit in the room, distraction free and take it all in. Identify and write down:

  • What you don’t like about the room.
  • What is not working, either because its broken or is badly used/ positioned.
  • Observe what you do like about the room.
  • Identify the functions of the room.
  • Who uses it and what needs to happen and be stored in the room.
  • Consider the furniture and decor you have in the room. Does it fit? Does it work? Is it in the best orientation or position?
  • Make a list of everything the space might need. [This is best done in two lists: needs right now list; like a book shelf for the stack of books on the floor. To a ‘would be nice list’: a new rug would pull the room together].
  • Does the room have too much pattern or colour, or not enough?

Lesson learned: My own bedroom, has been bugging my recently. I’ve been flipping between the idea of a complete transformation/ redecoration or not. I recently changed the bed-sheets to a combination I don’t think I have ever used in this space – all cream. AND OMG – its just brought the room together SO much. Normally I would have patterned or cream + a colour or white + colour – all cream and white just unify the space and make it so inviting. I love it so much so that I am getting rid of all patterned and coloured sets I have[ – accept 1 red set I love!] … this is why assessing your space first, is so important!

Declutter the space.

You’ll have identified from the above step the functions of the room and what needs to be stored in there. Now remove from the space, everything that does not need to be in the space. [The things you simply don’t love and the items that either don’t need to be there, or should not be there – put them where they do belong.] Tidy up the room!

Now that the room is perhaps slightly less cluttered and only has the things in it that you need and want in there look at the space critically again. Add anything that stands out to you to your ‘needs list’ and ‘would be nice’ lists.

Get some inspiration.

You’re probably thinking that its odd I’ve left this until step 3. The reason for this is, first I wanted you to really think about your space and how you actually use it and need to use it, as opposed to seeing a pretty picture in a magazine or online and thinking; yes, that is what I want! – Because life and reality isn’t a styled photo or show house. While of course the intention is to make you space as nice and inspiring as possible; in reality we also have to make it functional and practical – often not that case with styled images!

With your list of functions, needs and wants for your space look for some inspiring ideas you’d like to use in the space. Note down what you you like from these!

Shop your home!

Our goal is to spend little to nothing here. You know what the space needs to do. You know what you want and need for the space, and you now have a few ideas on how you’d like the room to look. Walk into every other space you own. Assess what is in there. Is there anything that you could use or would like to use in the space you are decorating? [Presuming that its not actually fully functional where it currently is!]

Because we live and see things daily we can often become blind to them. A dresser that’s sat in the corner of a bedroom, filled with t-shirts you hate and never wear can be re-purposed to the dinning room to hold your linens, place mats and cutler; while providing the perfect space to sit your favourite lamp and family photos.

Or it could be a collection of throw cushions with matching woollen blanket that haven’t come out of your linen closet in a year because you treated yourself to new ones in the bedroom.

Really look at everything and how you feel about where it is -would it be better elsewhere? [I’ll be honest and say, this part of the process can ‘inspire’ you to basically ‘redo’ your whole home so be warned!]

Paint can unify pretty much anything!

My ‘big’ splurge was a can of paint. The subtle change to the room has made it brighter, cleaner, calmer and more inviting! Changing the colour of your walls, ceiling or both will have an impact on the room, but is not the only paint consideration!

When shopping your home, you may have come across a number of pieces of furniture, frames, lamps or other pieces of decor that would be great in the space that you’re updating but they’re all the wrong colours or mismatched to each other… paint them! It sounds so simple! And the idea is… the execution may take a little time; but will be worth it! Cans of paint are much cheaper that a whole load of new furniture!

Hang pictures, paintings, artwork – something on your walls!

In my video I share will you the gallery wall I created in my office. I’ve actually been ‘collecting’ things for this for quiet some time. Its an ‘art installation’ I’ve want to do for some time, and I just love it!

Hanging collections of photos and art together can really finish a room! And don’t be afraid to mix both family photos with artwork, signs and other pieces of decor on the wall… the more interesting the better.

Top Tip: It can be sometimes daunting to know the arrangement to hang items on a wall so you can either clear the floor in front of the wall and lay them flat down on the floor in the arrangement you think will work or cut out pieces of paper in the same shapes as the artwork/frames and arrange them on the walls how you think they’ll work using something like blue tac.

Style your Space

I’m sure from you inspiration step you’ve still loads of images and ideas collected on Pinterest or Instagram or in a magazine that you love. Use these as inspiration when styling the space. Arranging pillows, books and collections of candles and frames. Draping curtains, throws, layering rugs etc. Always remember:

  • Considering lighting; function and atmospheric.
  • Consider comfort and ease of use of things.
  • Plants always add to a space!
  • Collections work best in odd numbers; 3 & 5 etc
  • Remember sometimes less is more!

Ultimately with any space you are trying to reach that click point! That aw…. moment when you just love to be in the space and [in the words of Marie Kondo] it sparks joy! Sometimes you don’t need to paint or redecorate – sometimes your ‘renovation’ only need to to clearly identify what the room is for, remove anything that doesn’t need to be there, shop your home for items that might bring the space together and style it out!

My next renovation space is my garden, although I will have to wait until the weather improves, I plan to have it done by the beginning of May! What projects are you going to tackle this year? What did you think of my office renovation? Let me know in the comments below!

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