Decorating a home on a budget? 10 interior design ideas

With the cost-of-living spiralling, almost everyone is working to a budget. But that’s no reason why you couldn’t build a house or renovate an existing property and still have an interior worthy of a home magazine. 

There are so many handy hints, tips and tricks in the world of design that anyone can create a space that reflects them and their personality without having to spend lots of money.

When you are building or renovating your own home, thinking about the practicalities of layout and room size is one of the main factors, alongside the exterior design and kerb appeal. The interior is just as important as that’s where you’ll be spending most of your time, so you will want to make sure that’s up to scratch too, and isn’t left as an afterthought. If you are running low on funds from the build, then these interior design ideas may just help.

Get rid of clutter

If you are in the process of renovating an existing property, getting rid of any extraneous clutter is a must. This might mean throwing no longer useable things away in a skip, taking objects to a charity shop, selling them on online selling sites, or upcycling items into something more useful. 

This preparation is key, as once the clutter is gone, you’ll have a better idea of what space is available and you can design your room plans. Decluttering can be a very therapeutic process, clearing your mind as well as your home. Taking a methodical approach and tackling each room at a time makes the whole process much easier.


One of the cheapest methods of cutting your costs is to do all, or most, of the work yourself, if you have the skills to do so. YouTube videos are a great way to learn how to do everything from painting to upholstery. 

It can also be quite fun, and you can get a massive sense of satisfaction from everything you’ve achieved, as well as adding more strings of expertise to your bow. Let your creative side loose and get crafting.

Or get someone in?

For more major works, you may want to consider taking out a bridging loan to boost your funds. As Online Mortgage Advisor explains:

They can be useful for closing a deal when timing is of the essence or when the borrower doesn’t qualify for a mortgage or does not wish to take one out.

Bridging loans are short-term financing options that are interest-only and secured against your home. This would likely allow you to get in a plasterer, decorator, or other tradesperson to do the work to the required standard – especially if you’re planning to sell the property rather than keep it for yourself.

Maximise original features

When doing internal work, look out for any original features that you can spruce up and reuse. Tiled or parquet flooring under worn carpets are often discovered during property renovations, along with the likes of old fireplaces. These all add character to a room and often save on having to replace items when you can just freshen up what’s already there.

Historical features can be combined with modern-day living to create a home that exudes individuality and style. Mixing old and new is a design trend that’s here to stay, with vintage and inherited pieces giving a home a feeling of casual familiarity which is enhanced by contemporary surroundings.

Reclaimed and second-hand finds

On that note, using reclaimed or second-hand furniture and other materials is both good for your wallet and for the environment. It is amazing what you can pick up at scrap and salvage yards, or on sites such as freecycle or Facebook Marketplace. One man’s trash is another man’s treasure, as the saying goes. And nothing could be truer when it comes to interior design, especially when on a tight budget.

Often, these items will just need a quick sand and varnish or lick of paint to bring them up as good as new. Alternatively, use them for purposes they weren’t originally intended to bring some boho chic to your design, and provide a talking point for guests. With recycling being high on the agenda in so many people’s lives, where better to start than in your own home design? Practical and trendy, it’s a win-win.

Mismatching magic

If you are using second-hand items, you’re not likely to find matching sets. So, embrace it! Mismatching dining chairs can look great when done properly – paint them all different colours to show off their idiosyncrasies. Just make sure they are all the same height, so everyone can reach the table.

Alternatively, go all out and mismatch all your furniture. Why not? Stick to a style or period though, if you can, or your house may end up looking like a salvage yard itself. Using the same shades or hues will also help to create a more coherent design.

Carpet and flooring remnants

Many carpet stores will have roll-end remnants which are smaller pieces of carpet or vinyl flooring that can’t be sold by the square metre as they are often not big enough for full rooms. Looking to see what’s available in these clearance rolls offers the opportunity to carpet smaller bedrooms or to vinyl a utility room. 

Alternatively, just carpet a certain part of a room, to zone separate areas effectively. Being creative with your flooring in this way will likely be cheaper than carpeting or laminating an entire house.

Use the same paint colours throughout

To really cut down on costs, use the same paint colours throughout your design. This doesn’t necessarily mean painting all the walls magnolia – although that can give you the perfect canvas to add your personality to the room in other ways such as decor and soft furnishings. Opting for a maximum of three colours that complement each other and can be used in different ways in different rooms to highlight certain aspects, not only provides a flow to your property but will also mean you aren’t left with lots of half-empty paint tins. Use a paint calculator to work out how much you might need.

Design focal points

You can create focal points for a room fairly simply, using paint or wallpaper to draw attention to a particular area – or away from another one – providing a visual impact. Large statement furniture will achieve an automatic focal point, while patterns, shapes and textures can all be accentuated if done the right way.

Lighting can also be used to great effect, with statement pieces drawing the eye upwards in admiration, as well as literally spotlighting a chosen piece of furniture or artwork. The contrast between light and shade can be dramatic or subtle but will still provide its own emphasis in a room. 

Storage hacks

Not having enough storage is one of the main bugbears in any home, so this is something that really needs to be considered when designing each room. Don’t just go for standard flat-pack and shop-bought shelving or cupboards. There’s a myriad of creative storage options out there if you know where to look.

Think outside the box and see what general household items you could repurpose to put a designer slant onto your container issues. It is amazing what could work – flowerpots, muffin trays, even LEGO. So, let your imagination run wild and see what you can come up with.

Final thoughts

Creativity is the key to interior design: reusing and recycling items that might typically be discarded, using paints, patterns and textures to accessorise, and statement pieces that make an impact. You don’t need to spend lots of money to devise a design you, and anyone else, can be proud of. 

Be bold and be brave, and the results will speak for themselves. Construct your interiors to complement your property’s architectural style and features, and you won’t go far wrong.

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