On Design: Decorating On a Budget

'vase - flea market find'
photo credit, megan arquette

NOTE: the player has the slows today - so be patient! Thanks!!


Dumbwit Tellher said…
Ladies; Great, great advice. I was in a new huge Homestore yesterday. First impression was to whip out my wallet. But you laid out the perfect foundation, don't buy just for the sake of it being a bargain. I now know to go home & rethink before I leap. Target online has been one of my all time favorites for on the cheap. Appreciate all the helpful hit's & misses.
susan said…
Great discussion. Now, here's a very different point of view on this topic.

I have spent much of my earned money over the years not so much on fine furniture, well, NOT on fine furniture, but on artwork and artifacts, as I am a collector of Scandinavian artwork and pottery by mostly known artists (mostly known over there). I usually get my pieces at quality auctions and galleries and sometimes flea markets over there. I buy what I love. My pieces range from very expensive to quality flea market finds.

As a result, although my furniture is not the best quality (and it's not low end, it's solid middle) I do believe it is the quality of the artwork and artifacts that I have that significantly elevates the look of my spaces.

I've done the opposite of what most people do, I think. :)
Unknown said…
Thanks for another great discussion! Joni, I would love to see your black interior doors.
72 and sunny said…
Hi Susan,
I think we're talking about the same thing. I totally agree, art work falls into that category of being
'one substantial piece'. I had some great art in my 20s that I bought and some that was handed down. It elevated the entire look and feel of my apartment, which was, otherwise sparsely furnished.

I'd love to see photos of your home

katiedid said…
So funny....I have the Target blinds in my Family Room, Pottery Barn white linen drapes on sale in the Living Room (good installation is key!It makes a world of difference if you can have someone who knows what they are doing steam and dress the drapes....not expensive to have done), and I was going to look at the IKEA slipcovered sofa for the basement studio. Oh...and a seagrass rug in the Living Room. Sort of an inexpensive formula for success! And Flea markets are my friend. Lots of good advice here.
Kerry said…
That was great -- I took notes!

So one of the things I was thinking of doing, since Joni talked about it on her blog, and now am convinced I have to do, is paint my interior doors black. My question is, satin or gloss? And, I have several sets of French doors -- interior and exterior -- do I paint those too (of course, I'm pretty sure?)

Megan, you mentioned Benjamin Moore paint and said to email you guys for colors, but do you think paint color is something you might talk about here?

Just love all the info. You guys are great to listen to -- wish it was more than once a week, but I'm grateful for that.

Thank you all so much,
Linda Merrill said…
Hi Kerry - yes, I'm sure we'll be talking paint colors at some point. Obviously, Joni has to answer how she painted her doors, but I would suggest a semi-gloss on trim and doors. And yes, the French doors would probably want to be painted as well. Joni - what did you do?

Susan - a great collection of art is one of the best ways to decorate one's home - the rest is there to support the main show!

Thanks everyone for your comments, questions and suggestions!
In the last 5 years I have edited my 'things' down to the bare bone. It took me that long, but now I only have the things I love, love, love. I believe paint is 'THE ONE' thing to do when you are on a budget. (and let's be honest..95% of all people are on a budget) I agree with all of you. Paint can change the soul of a room instantly.
Denise said…
Great discussion! Just painted my kitchen cabinets and am now working on the trim in the whole house. But the floors, I had never considered that one! My hubby will have to be talked into that!!
Unknown said…
I am listening...Thank you, it's been great, I love your lively and spontaneous discussions. I feel I am sitting at your table.
I always find good deco items on sale, at some bargain places, but have learned that TJ Maxx etc, have only certain sources for their wares and I feel it always looks somewhat the same. I can't see that fake french or country style anymore. Better off to Target or Crate and Barrel...
You are so right, online is my hunting ground as well, for example Etsy shops have so much individuell and often reasonable priced items and nobody else will have them sitting around either.
When I moved into our house we bought blinds at 'Blinds to go' and we have had them for almost 10 years functioning well and looking good, but we went for the linen bands and made it somewhat custom looking. To upgrade things is such great advise!I'll be back!
Debra said…
Ladies: I love listening to what you have to say, however sometimes buying at target or Ikea, you may really suffer quality. I am very careful about choices that I make at discount stores and try to stick with classic lines that look like they have some quality to them. Many of my best accessories and art have been purchased by my darling hubby for next to nothing at the flea market.
Fun topic, ladies! And one that is near & dear to MY heart. I'm a firm believer in shopping 2nd hand with flea markets & other places, esp. yardsales. You can find some great one of a kind things out there. I'm trying to stay out of TJ Maxx for many things & look for more unique items to bring home. Although I still love my Homegoods for lots of things. Yes, most of us have to shop on a budget. I built the bones of my furniture over the years with some pretty good purchases, so the rest is fill-in and now I'm trading up on certain things for a better look for me.
cotedetexas said…
Black doors: all my doors are painted black - eggshell I believe. Slightly glossy, but not a high gloss. BUT none of my French doors are painted black - just my other doors. The French doors are painted the same color of the trim - a light gray. HOPE this helps!!!!!
Leigh said…
Great topic guys. And great discussion! One of my new favorite cheap decorating purchases is a sewing machine. You can get a basic decent quality machine for around a hundred dollars. I'm currently making belgian linen interlined drapes for around 75 bucks a panel. I can redo them any time I want - join panels, do fancy pleating, whatever. And they're gorgeous!
Black Doors, that's my trick...
Only the doors, then the trim must be painted out to match the walls or there will be to much going on for your eyes to enjoy the doors.
One hint, always leave the bathroom door open at night...walking into a black door in the dark is a shock... lol
Loving your podcasts,
Carol Ann
Peggy B said…
Just finished re-doing my old wooden porch floor. Tough prep but used Benj Moore porch oil (quarts only) and a 3/8" roller--so easy and fast!
Megan said…
Hi Ladies
Loved this post as I am doing so many of the things you mentioned - I had a little chuckle to myself. I've clearly picked up lots of ideas from all of you by osmosis.
Painting is such a wonderful thing - I'd love all three of you to take a look at my blog and tell me what you think of the exterior before and after of my home - I'd also love an opinion on the colour I should paint the front door!! It's http://idyllpleasures.blogspot.com/2009/05/my-new-house .I am also getting my kitchen cabinets painted instead of a brand new kitchen. The interiors are just fine as are the appliances - so I see getting them painted as an "interim" step which might buy me 5 - 7 years before I do a complete remodel. As I've only been here a year I think it's important to live in a place for a while to get the feel of what works and what doesn't (but not leave it too long!) and how the light and heat affects different rooms etc. Lots of what I see in the US wouldn't work here - it's too hot and the light is too strong for much of the year although the Hamptons look is great for much of Australian coastal living!
Loving the blog - keep up the great work!
Anonymous said…
Ladies, I love listening to your discussions. They are always helpful. I agree you can find some great items at lower to midrange stores. I think the trick is to be selective, so your home doesn't look like "pottery barn", "target", or the like. They all have wonderful things in moderation. Also, I think using unusual pieces in unexpected ways can be not as expensive, but can be very arty or edgy. That's where flea markets come in. Joni, would love to see your black doors! And, thanks for all the helpful hints on drapes, blinds, paint etc.
Look forward to next Roundtable.
Kerry said…
Okay, okay, my last question about the black doors, I promise. All my trim is white (unfortunately a very bluish white, white) and I just can't imagine painting all of it (I don't love this house that much). I was wondering, if my trim is semi-gloss, should I paint the doors semi-gloss or is it okay to still do them in eggshell?
Thanks so much,
GNurik said…
Decorating on Budget?
I also want to add my coin... there is one source of HANDMADE decorative fabrics for home interior designing.
They are the first-hand because they sell uzbek silk ikats and uzbek hand embroidered suzanis from the capital of Uzbekistan. And they are uzbek guys selling uzbek artworks...
The store address is http://www.oriental-creations.com
Rachel said…
I'm late to the party... but I wanted to comment on the Ikea slipcovered sofa - it's great! I have it and the chair, and have had it for almost 4 years now. At the time, I was (well, still am) on a tight budget, and spent more money on an entertainment shelving system from Pottery Barn. I bought the sofa and chair with the full knowledge that it would probably last about 5 years. Not bad for $399. It's been pretty comfortable, and still looks great. Plus, the slipcovers are only $65, so about 2 years ago I bought a new one.
I know that everyone says to buy the best sofa you can afford, but when you can't afford a really great quality nice looking one the Ikea model is a wonderful choice.

And yes, I have a sisal rug and the tortoise shell blinds with white panels from Pottery Barn. My blinds came from Home Depot.
Elizabeth said…
Can someone please email what kind of paint was used to update the doorknobs? I was just looking at hardware last night and wanted to update mine, but thought I'll have to gradually do this because it can get so pricey! Since listening to this it seems I can save even more money by just painting over the brass.....The fireplace has some brass around the screen also that I'm wanting to paint. I'm not sure if I should paint it black or the color of the painted brick around it. Any ideas for me? I'm loving these discussion y'all are having!
Decor To Adore said…
Right now I am trying to update my $30 Home Goods, etc. artwork with good art. It just elevates a room. Some of my newer finds were actually even cheaper that HomeGoods. My sources are Goodwill and Estate Sales.