The whole point of decorating your home is to create a safe place that will help you thrive. A decorating budget might sound like a buzzkill if you’re planning a new project, but it is really important.
We live in a world fueled by Instagram and Pinterest. Where everything is placed just so and everyone seems to live in a perfect house with perfect clothes and a perfect pantry. We’ve moved past the highlight reel and straight to TV set living and it’s had a really harmful effect on our expectations.
Decorating a home can be expensive. And I want to preface this by saying that the word expensive is very subjective. To me, a 4k sofa is expensive and yet most designers would consider that a mid-range sofa, perhaps even a cheap sofa.
Here’s what I know to be true: everyone deserves to live in a home that feels safe and beautiful. I also know that you can make your home feel safe and beautiful on any budget.
What do I mean by a decorating budget?
Again, this is going to mean something different for everyone. Sometimes this means determining a set amount you can afford and recording everything in a spreadsheet. Sometimes it just means understanding how to live within your means. When it comes to decorating my home, we tend to stick to our gut and buy things slowly that fit within our means. Sometimes we splurge on something special and other times we make do with secondhand items. Someday I would love to design a room all at once and experience the extreme makeover feeling. But it just isn’t reasonable for this stage of life and I’m okay with that!
As organized as I like to be, having a set budget and a spreadsheet feels too intense for our home. If we were in a position where we had to buy everything at once then I would probably do it this way. Right now, our decorating process looks more like seeing the perfect piece and deciding if it’s a smart financial decision for us.
Your budget might be set amount spent all at once or smaller amounts that you can afford over the course of a few months or a year. When you’ve done the work to understand your style and have considered your budget it’s totally possible to put a beautiful room together. It’s definitely a balancing act, but when you’re decorating with your gut in a holistic way and not just panic buying the IKEA catalogue it does take time.
What if I’m moving into my first house and I don’t have anything?
This is tricky but I’ve been there! My parents lived in a different country when I moved into my first apartment so I couldn’t decorate with my childhood furniture and call it a day. I had to buy everything from scratch and it felt like a really big project. Now, I really enjoy this process! Obviously! If you’re feeling a little nervous or don’t know where to start, head over to my five questions and five more questions blog posts just to get a sense of how your home needs to support you.
When you have a good understanding of how your home should support you, start with the basics. I would prioritize having a comfortable place to sleep with nice sheets and pillows so you can rest. Moving into your first apartment is a daunting experience and you’ll need your rest. Then, make sure you have what you need in your kitchen (pots, pans, dishes etc.) so you can cook food at home. If you’re on a small budget, eating out is probably not in the cards! Head over to your local thrift store and pick up pieces as you go. I would treat this as a fun treasure hunt! You might end up with beautiful, great quality dishes, beautiful glassware and the perfect pots and pans. All hand-selected by you! Way more fun and sustainable than buying everything new.
As for furniture, take it slow. Secondhand will always be cheaper and it is very possible to find beautiful furniture pieces on a budget. Remember, you don’t have to have everything done at once.
What if I go over my budget?
This is always a possibility! Sometimes the perfect thing pops up at the wrong time and you find a way to make it work. This has happened to me and 90% of the time I don’t regret it because I trust my decisions. My biggest concern with going over your budget is that you’re doing it for the wrong reasons.
Here’s a list of reasons NOT to go over decorating budget:
- You want to show off your perfect home on social media
- You feel pressured because everyone you know has a nicer living room
- It’s a trendy piece that is expensive but will probably change your life
- You already have something you like but this thing is BETTER
- One piece will swallow your entire budget and more
I’m sure there are way more reasons to add to this list. But at the heart of it, if you’re buying something to impress the rest of the world or to seek external validation then you shouldn’t stretch your budget. Holistic design is all about making decisions that support your life as a whole. If you’re stretching your budget so thin you are only eating noodles for a month in order to have the perfect chair, then you are not in a healthy relationship with your home. I’m all for investing in pieces that make my heart happy and are long-lasting. But not at the expense of my mental, physical and emotional health.
At the end of the day, I want you to feel at home. I believe wholeheartedly that it’s wise to invest your time and money into making your home beautiful. It’s important that you walk into your home and feel like it is a reflection of your personality, your creativity and your style. But if you are decorating your home and putting everything on a credit card then you are chasing a myth and not designing for your future. Blowing through a decorating budget won’t make you feel good in the long run and your home should be a source of joy, not stress.
If you need support on your decorating journey, send me an email or a message on Instagram. I’m here to help you create the house of your dreams regardless of your financial status. You deserve to feel at home.