With the US economy in shambles and the possibility of an uncertain economic future ahead I thought I would share my thoughts on how to design like a recessionista. How to spend your money wisely when decorating your home. There are in my eyes common mistakes, certain beliefs people have about design that I think make no economic sense. I strongly believe interiors should move your senses, and if you don’t feel it or see it, you’re wasting your money.
Current cover of the Economist
1. DON’T GO OUT AND BUY EVERYTHING NEW AND CHEAP
The biggest mistake I see people do in times like this, is to go out and buy everything new and cheap. Designing an entire home with IKEA or buying that matching budget bedroom set is a mistake. You might think you save money, but in the long run I believe the opposite to be true. The best interiors are a mixture of HIGH and LOW and VINTAGE. You need only 1-2 good/interesting pieces in a room to make the space. Those two pieces alone will make the rest of the inexpensive items look fancy.
Image via Lonny.
2. INVEST OVER TIME
Rome was not built in a day! Invest over time. You never know when you’ll find that special piece, or that cool great deal. Let your home evolve over time, and leave space to let it evolve with you. The pieces you slowly collect will be good quality and last you a lifetime, instead of something that only looks good for a year and two.
3. SHOP YOUR OWN HOME AND REINVENT
Before you head out and buy ANYTHING look around your house and see what you can reuse or reinvent. Perhaps that drab chest of drawers you hate, can look fantastic in a fun color and new hardware. Or an ugly chair can be painted and get new upholstery.
A client had a set of these dining chairs that no longer fit the look.
We had them repainted and recovered in inexpensive fabric.
4. MOVE THINGS AROUND IN YOUR HOME
The first thing I always do for a client is to take inventory of what they already have. Almost always I find great pieces have been used to great disadvantage in the wrong room. Knowing where to place your furniture to the best benefit creates a lot of value. And even though you initially bought it for one room, see how it would work in a different room. Try it in a few different spaces. Don’t be set in your ways. It might be match made in heaven!
4. BUY ITEMS WITH A LOT OF LOOK FOR A GOOD PRICE
Find items with great design and a lot of “look” for a fairly affordable price.
A mirror like this would be enough “look” to make an entire room! It will carry and lift up any pieces in the room.
GILDED CHINESE BAMBOO MIRROR $ 380
A designer look that’s modern and classic all at once. A look like this will never go out of style.
5. FORGET ABOUT THAT KITCHEN COUNTER…
Often people feel the need to have great kitchen cabinets or that great kitchen counter. Those are very high cost items and can eat up the entire furniture budget. I often see people spend money on a slab of stone, but then leave gaping holes and have an unfinished home. Use that money instead to furnish your home. Buy something that moves your senses. In a warm, inviting home with the right pieces, no one will ever notice the stone on the kitcthen counter.
6. WALLPAPER SMALL SPACES
Wallpaper can be very expensive so use it the least of it with the biggest effect. Avoid wallpapering a big room. Choose a small hallway, a bathroom, a single wall – it can make a huge difference.
A big pattern in a small space makes a big statement.
The look and the value will carry throughout the home. I love seeing the hallway from my bedroom and living room yet I only bought two rolls.
7. BUY SOMETHING SMALL THAT CAN RESCUE A WHOLE ROOM
Sometimes it’s the smallest chic purchase that makes a room. Pillows or garden stools are a great way to add color and chicness to a space while only spending on one thing.
Garden stools and pillows are great items for creating ambiance.
ORANGE MING GARDENS STOOL and BLUE FLUTED LOTUS GARDEN STOOL
8. DON’T FORGET ABOUT THE POWER OF PAINT
Paint the room. Imagine it in an unusual hue, it can change everything.
My TV room BEFORE
TV room AFTER
the walls were painted, pillows freshened up the look and items were moved from other rooms.
Even in a recession (if that’s where we’re heading) I believe we should make sure our home is our haven. Like Oprah said “Your home should rise up to meet you when you come home”.
I have lots more thoughts on this subject, but this might be enough for today.
21 thoughts on “Recession proof your interiors”
What a great post with wonderful advice! I love reading your blog- you are so talented and such an inspiration to me as a you designer! Have a wonderful week!
Fantastic post, Jill! All great tips!
Great post Jill with all very solid and doable advice!! I agree with absolutely every point you made. Kathysue
Wonderful post!! Loved it and all your tips are so true and valuable in these times. I definitely will follow these guidelines as I continue my livingroom makeover.
Fabulous post – very apropos!
very good advice – you never want to run out and buy everything matchy-matchy… no fun at all. Is a home ever really, truly, finished? Not mine that's for sure!
Awesome post and advice! Nothing better than a home that looks collected over time.
Great tips Jill. Love your wall paper.
excellent post, jill – great ideas! and think of the $$$ you could spend elsewhere in your home if you didn't do granite countertops!
Great tips, Jill! And I think it shows the true talent of a designer if they are able to make existing pieces work (in a fresh new way). Lots of people can shop a new room…but only the talented ones can create an imaginative space!
These are all great tips. You are so right about people spending their entire budget on renovation projects and have nothing left for furniture and accessories. I love designers that make old things new again and encourage people to use what they already own!
Great advise Jill.
Great idea to post on this. I find that so many people, even when things are good, dont have a plan and rush the process. Having a design plan will save you from making costly mistakes.
Such great informatin – I especially like the idea of making over something you already own. I've had my eye on a chest in my bedroom that needs some serious work. Now, I just need to stop being lazy and do it!
Thank you for this post. Great reminder to buy pieces over time and that the pieces don't all have to be high end. Love your orange room!
I especially agree with the design over time tip.
I also think one should place something that makes them giggle in any room they are not satisfied with yet. Even something as small as a small purple hippo in the corner of a bookcase.
i agree wholeheartedly with every-single-word in this post! wonderful and quite informative!
Great post my friend! Great advice! And I know first hand that you know what you are talking about! Just look at your fabulous TV room!
I agree w. you that people seem to overspend on certain things. Curtains for instance. I know people who spend tens of thousands of dollars on frou-frou curtains they can't bring to the next house anyway! But they are using cheap chairs in that very same room…
I should send them your way.
Hugs to you,
P.S Vi aer tillbaka fraan kusten. 2 veckor fraan blog land och jag aer utvilad och glad som en laerka! (:
Wow Jill, these are great tips! I just found your website via Twitter from @peteolsen. These are great ideas not only for decorating your home, but also an apartment. As a renter, I find it difficult to spend money on outfitting a room that I know won't be mine forever. Things like fun throw pillows really do make a huge difference! Seeing this post makes me want to go out and search for perfect vintage-y statement pieces.
This post absolutely blew me away! Not only do I agree with everything something really reached a core belief in me – Rome was not built in a day! Invest over time. I believe that's such an important factor in homes today that people forget and they continue to waste money redoing what they have done again and again. Thank you for such a wonderful, well written post 🙂
HI Jessica so glad you liked it. Thanks for the nice comment!