There are situations when it is neccessary to spend money on good design and then times when you can put your wallet away and put the money towards something else.  For instance, if you are just clueless about the design process then hiring someone to help can actually save you money in the long run.  A good decorator can usually understand the kind of look you want to acheive even if you don't, just by asking you questions, looking at what pieces you love, and the colors you are drawn to.   This in the long run will save you time and money and endless mistakes.  When a room is finished you should have no regrets and love the end result.  If that costs a little bit extra to acheive it is well worth it.  However, I have lot's of frugal tips that can save you money in other ways:

Always hang your drapes several inches from the ceiling and several inches away from the trim of the window casing.  Your ordinary average sized window suddenly becomes a dramatic oversized  window and your ceiling height looks taller as well.  Suddenly your room has granduer!

When you fall in love with a fabric that is $40.00 a yard consider using it as an accent rather than the main attraction.  For instance the blue loveseats in the photo gallery under slipcovers.  This customer fell in love with the expensive paisley fabric.  Instead of slipcovering the entire sofa with the paisley we used a solid coordinating blue and used the paisley for the cording and accent pillows.  The result was a huge savings!

Take an outdated lamp base and spray paint gold, black or silver, then buy a new lamp shade.  Use  drapery tassel around the base of the lamp for a formal look or decorate the shade with trim from a sewing supply store.

Paint an old piece of furniture a fun color, maybe pick a color from your fabric and buy new contemporary knobs.

Use an old dresser as a buffet server in the dining room.

Paint anything white and it gives it a fresh clean look.

Paint anything black and you have instant drama.

Silver and gold spray paint can turn trash into treaure.  An old hall table sprayed silver can give your foyer drama.

Frame postcards, greeting cards with inexpensive off the shelf frames in groups of three or six for the look of an expensive collection.  To the right I have displayed a collection of pictures I tore out of a book and framed them inexpensively without even using a mat. 

Take an old mirror and give it a coastal look by covering with sea shells. (see to the right)  I used tile adhesive as a base and layered my sea shells on till my mirror frame was covered.  I have seen these mirrors sell for $600.00.  I don't think I spent $60.00. 

Give an old sofa new life with several bright pillows.

Changing the look of a room with a can of paint is the biggest bang for your buck you will ever get.

My Favorite Tip:  Incorporating family heirlooms into your design.  Most of us have things that have been given to us by parents and grandparents that are of extreme sentimental value.  Unfortunately, most people have these things packed away in boxes.  Get these things out of storage and use them in your design.  They are part of who you are and can be used tastefully to enhance your home.  Old pieces of furiture can be painted or given a new look with fresh new fabric.  These pieces were made better than anything you can buy today!

Old plates can be hung on the walls. 

A collections of black and white family photos can be beautiful in silver frames in a hallway.

Children's art can be framed in inexpensive frames in groups of 3 or 4 for extra impact.  Lots of expensive modern art doesn't look much different than your own childs!  

Old black and white photos look great framed in groups or better yet take family pictures in black and white and use these to fill up your walls.  The key is be consistent.  If you group the photos, make sure the frames are similar in color and the pictures have a similar theme and color.

If you don't have a lot of money to spend on custom sewing for your bedroom, invest in a custom dust ruffle and shams.  Buy a coverlet or duvet off the rack but this is one splurge worth making.  The difference between a store bought dust ruffle and Euro shams is night and day.


 When money is tight go for color!

When you don't have money to waste, use color as your statement.  Bold fresh beachy colors are very popular right now.  If you have some old furnitue that you would like to replace but can't afford it, try painting wooden pieces of furniture or lamp bases in bold coral, lime green or spa blue and see what a difference it makes.

Also, slipcover furniture in bright colored fabric.  Or just simple white.  Drop clothes are very popular right now. For the cost of a few drop clothes you can slipcover a full sized sofa!  Picture frames painted in bright colors or even black grouped together make a nice focal point as well.