How to: luxury home decor on a budget

7 Tips from a compulsive bargain hunter on home decor for less

We moved into our brand new two bedroom apartment in October last year, I was more than excited (ok, obsessed) with every inch of the home decor. Being a compulsive bargain hunter I'd already gathered a number of bits and bobs from our previous rental hiding them in the back of cupboards until it was their time to shine!

Within the first week of moving in the lounge was better than I had even imagined. With a little pre-planning, a lot of painting and very little expenditure, I'm sure you can do the same.


 Play with Light

Go to any luxury hotel and you'll notice fancy lights, everywhere. From uplighting, downlighting and wall lights, to reading lights, spotlights and more! It's endless. But you don't need to spend a fortune to replicate just some of this in your own home. 

Upgrade your look with ceiling lights, don't just pop a shade on those plastic fixtures that came with the house, take the next step and change the fittings too. You can pick up pendant fixtures with decorative cords for next to nothing these days with colours to suit any project. Start with a great fixture and end with the perfect shade. For that finishing touch find a vintage style bulb!

Uplighting can require some pretty complex equipment and electrical knowledge, but it doesn't have to! It can be achieved super easily with a hook, an LED bulb and a plug in light fitting. Simply fix the hook to the wall around the light fitting behind the furniture and that's it! (Just make sure your bulb is LED to avoid excess heat)

Luxe up your lighting for less to create a hotel worthy home.


Make your bed!

It's so easy to spend a fortune on dressing your bed, but you really don't need to. Even our mattress wasn't crazy expensive, for that added luxury add a memory foam topper and you're sleeping on a cloud.

It's so easy to fling on a duvet cover and think that's it. Unfortunately your bed is going to need a little more attention than that to get that luxe look. However, considering the most reasonably priced bedspread I could find online was £70, wasn't even nice, you need to think outside the box. For my bed I knew what I wanted, something to contrast against my (less than £20) grey duvet cover. Then it struck me, I didn't need to spend a penny, I've got a spare duvet's bed sized...and white. Perfect! Fling a couple of Primark blankets over the corners of the bed and you've got a handsomely dressed bed. If you're buying yourself a new duvet cover, why not pick up a cheap spare for those wash days to give yourself a contrasting duo too?


Go for a Gallery wall

Treat your space like an art gallery, the key here is actually not the art itself, but the way you arrange it. My rule, at least two walls in each room should feature art. This could easily look messy, but if you plan it right, in some rooms you can even do every wall! 

Uniform or cluster? it's up to you. But whatever you chose on one wall should be the opposite to the other. If you have a varied frame cluster twice in one room this is where it gets busy. For the clusters you can go mad with all types of frames, check out charity shops and supermarkets for a budget friendly selection!

Keep the eye entertained with different layouts, if you have a huge poster and you're looking to put something on the wall beside it, chose multiple small or medium frames with lots of white space to avoid overpowering it. Try to keep it inline with the top and or bottom of the big one for that all important art gallery look.

Stuck with what to put in all these frames? Try the next tip!


Get abstract with Art

I remember browsing my Pinterest and seeing some really interesting huge abstract canvas art. Follow the link and they're charging anywhere from £100-£1,000 plus.  I thought "I could do that", so unearthed a large piece of cardboard and began.

The key here is colour. Start with a base colour, white is easiest and looks great too. Next add an extra 2-3 colours one bright and one more muted. My ultimate tip for this one, to bring something really special to your piece, is a metallic paint - gold or silver. Add this throughout in small areas and you'll get a beautiful reflective quality that livens up the entire room!

You don't need fancy paints! It really doesn't matter, use anything you can get your hands on wall paints, watercolours, oil, or acrylic. For most of my art I used a mixture of dried up old tubes of acrylic, from a school art set I had lying around, and big pot of white gloss wood paint. Just be wary of drying times and how to clean your brushes. Stick to water soluble if you can, it's just way easier to clean up after. I used oil paints for my bathroom piece and it's probably still not dry, but it doesn't drip because it's not water soluble so I don't mind so much.


Find quirky accessories

Yep, even I thought I had gone crazy when I bought this wire stag head from a local charity shop, but I just had to buy it. I'm glad I did since it's now one of my favourite focal points of my lounge.

Quirky accessories are all about creating a focal point, they're different, so the eye is naturally drawn to them. Don't overdo it and keep it simple. It helps if you can find something meaningful to you. I just love our bottle lamp, £20 from TKmaxx. We use it to store corks that we pop on birthdays, anniversaries and holidays.

Create a focal point with quirky accessories that look more unique than mass produced.



Paint it pretty

Go dark, bright, or light. The colour on your walls sets the tone for the entire room. I have a great pale grey blueish colour in my lounge and hallway. It's fresh, modern, and classy. Move to the bedroom, and the feel is completely different. Dramatic, moody and luxurious. All in the change of a colour.

Dont be scared of the dark. Dark walls can bring a room to life. You can go for a feature wall or every wall. This really works if you have a lot of white furniture, it will pop against dark walls where it looked dull and ordinary against pale walls before.

Buy cheap, unfinished furniture. This is how I furnished my first apartment. Ebay has loads of flatpack basic furniture, in fact, I found the coffee table (below right) on there for next to nothing. After a lick of paint the result is almost unrecognisable. Don't ever sell or throw out an old piece of furniture before considering painting it first. The transformation could be sensational!

Dark vs. Light, two moods in the change of a wall colour.


Get Crafty!

You don't need to be an expert, have fun with this one. This is the cheapest sofa bed in Ikea, and quite possibly the world. I thought it was looking a bit drab but didn't want to part with it. So a youtube video and an eBay delivery later we have ourselves a fancy tufted sofa. 

If that sounds a little too crafty for you, then maybe go for a bit of cushion art, sharpies on a plain white cushion are the perfect addition to any room. You can end up paying a fortune for cushions, and a lot of them have arty scribbles on anyway. Go on, let your inner 5 year old out, you just might create a masterpiece.


Style your Shelf

A picture may paint a thousand words, but sometimes that just not enough. A shelf on the other hand can display anything your heart desires. 

Go decorative rather than practical. Sure, you can pile loads of boxes on a shelf, fill it with anything from DVD's to duvets. But don't. Curate your shelf, and it will become a piece of art.

Three is the magic number. When it comes to displaying objects, try and group them into threes, with varying levels and depths. What you display is up to you, and this bit can be a lot of fun. Those little trinkets you've always wanted, but never had anywhere for them? This is their moment!

Tempted to try these ideas? Or got some more ideas yourself?

Leave me a comment, or get in touch via social media!

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