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Individual Homes on a Budget

You may have noticed over recent years that it is getting more and more difficult to keep up with trends in home living. Like most things today, design cycles are running at a much faster pace meaning we are decorating and redecorating with ever decreasing gaps in between. Now choice has never been a bad thing, but it is exactly this that is responsible for this DIY fever. With new forms of media creating new ways to advertise and old forms of media reaching a greater audience than ever before, consumers can’t open their eyes without finding out about the amazing new thing that they just must have. Because of this, home styling, taking its lead from the fashion world, has become more “throw-away”. This basically means that a need for more affordable furniture made of inferior materials has been recognized and catered for. The problem with this of course is that homes are in danger of becoming extremely generic. If your friend comes to visit and falls in love with your coffee table, no longer do you have a wonderful yarn about how you came to own such a rare and timeless piece, you just sheepishly point to the sticker on its underside and know that your friend will be settling a mug of coffee down on a not too dissimilar table of their own very shortly.

Retaining some individuality in your home, whilst sticking to a reasonable budget is not as difficult as you might think. It just requires a little more imagination- which brilliantly is free! The eclectic look is right on trend and is what you should be trying to achieve. Luckily this means you do not need to throw out your old furniture, just give them a little attention with some sandpaper and a paintbrush and match them up with some choice thrift shop items and you will have a set up that has style and history without breaking the bank. To give you an example, rather than spending over a thousand pounds on a new living room suite, keep your battered old Chesterfield, pair it up with a retro coffee table from the local charity shop then update the whole look with a new cow hide or shag pile rug and you will have a room straight out of a fashion shoot that you know will remain as individual as you are. Really finish off the look with a new woollen throw and some mismatched cushions for easy thrown together style. In the kitchen, rather than shelling out six months wages on a new built in set up, why not go for some Parisian café charm instead. To achieve this look, take off all the doors to your old units and give them a good clean. Apply a layer of white undercoat then apply a coat of paint in a rustic or classic bold colour. Bottle green or a faded red works brilliantly with this look. Once dry lightly sand the doors (you heard me correctly!) paying particular attention to the edges and any raised detailing there may be. Attach some brass door handles, or as a cheap but in-keeping alternative, thread some worn rope through the holes where the handles would go at knot at either side. Once you have put the doors back on, the charming aged effect will begin to reveal itself. Add to this some wall decoration in the shape of pages form old recipe books framed in mix and match frames then spend a leisurely weekend hunting down a battered old farmhouse table by visiting vintage and antique stores- trust me it is much more exciting than queuing all Saturday to get a parking space in a furniture retail outlet. If your kitchen is on the smaller side, instead try looking for a used café table for two by visiting coffee shops that are about to close or renovate. Again, it’s the small and inexpensive details that finish off the look, try adding some floral or gingham print curtains and making some cushion seats out of matching fabric.

These are only a few small examples of what is possible on budget if you want individual style and are willing to put in the detective work but hopefully they will get your creative juices flowing. The trick is to be brave and once you have decided on a look or period you want to recreate, stick to it with conviction and it sure to be a success.

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