I'm back with the second instalment of my A-Z of budget-friendly decorating tips. If you've missed the letter A, you can find read up on it here. This A-Z is a bit of a fluid guide ranging from building works to small decorative items - basically all the things you're likely to encounter (and which I'm dealing with) when updating your home or moving into a new one. Not everything will be applicable to everybody and there are of course many, many more things which I might not touch on, but I hope that some of the things I'm mentioning will resonate with you or give you new ideas.
This might be one of the most boring parts, so apologies upfront, and it might not be immediately obvious how building maintenance relates to decorating the interiors of our home. I am the first to admit that I really resent spending a couple of thousand Pounds on new guttering when I'd much rather buy a nice cooker for our kitchen, some made-to-measure wardrobes or have our kitchen walls plastered beautifully. You get the idea. However, I unfortunately soon discovered that if the fabric of the building is falling apart, the interiors will suffer. Years of rain water running down the outside walls due to defective (read: totally rotten) guttering have resulted in huge and ugly stains on the inside walls and even paint work peeling off in some places. So this part of the outside building maintenance directly affects the interiors and the decorating. Be it a leaking roof, ill-fitting windows, broken gutters, shoddy rendering, these things will affect your home in the long term and the longer they're left, the more expensive the repairs are going to be due to the knock-on effect on other areas. So, as much as I hate to admit it (I want my cooker!), it's wise and more budget friendly in the long run to spend money on maintaining the fabric of the building as early as possible.
If I read another piece anywhere that advises to throw out books I might just run off to the next charity shop and buy up all their stock in protest. Ok, silly, I know. And I have admittedly thrown out a few books myself. Paperbacks I had read and just knew I'd never touch again, some dictionaries dating back 20 years and hailing from a failed attempt to learn Russian, a few books that had been well meaning gifts but that I never really liked. So, yes, of course it's ok to throw out books and they're not inherently sacred. What I don't like, however, is the notion that books are mere clutter. Books represent far more than that. They are about my interests, they are escapism, they represent part of my education. All these things are part of me and I don't want anybody telling me that I should discard any of it. All of this aside though, books also make for interesting, very personal and often beautiful decorative accessories. Whether big coffee table books on which you can arrange other accessories or small paperbacks all stacked up on a shelf, chances are you already have a whole collection, so you should utilise them. It doesn't get more budget friendly than using something that's right in front of you.
I like any colour as long as it's black. Ok, and grey and white... Anyway, the point is that every home needs some black. Whether it's small accessories or large pieces of furniture, black will immediately give an interior more depth and just a hint of sophistication with being too intrusive. If your personal style isn't overly glam or elegant but you're looking to introduce a little class, then choosing black accessories is the thing to do. It doesn't matter whether vintage or rustic, mid-century or boho, a little black will always work and will always enhance any scheme. Yes, all white interiors can be lovely when done right, but a few black touches will give that room just a little bit extra impact. Glossy black adds a touch of Art Deco glam whereas matt black works well in a more laid-back home and can often be seen in chic yet casual interiors.
Painting window frames black like I have might seem bold to some of you and downright boring to others, it's all about personal taste and what works for you. I'm not particularly bold in the conventional sense when it comes to decorating which might on first glance seem like a budget friendly option. Well, it's actually more down to my personal taste rather than budget. I like white, black and greys, natural materials and textures, wood, linen, wool and stone. I know though that you can just as well achieve a super-bold (in my book) look on a budget and one of the best examples is to be found on my lovely friend Kimberly's blog Swoon Worthy. Her look is a million miles away from my own, but I admire how she achieves this on a budget and with lots of creativity. If you check out her A-Z of Design Tips, you'll see what I mean.
When looking after the pennies, it's worth thinking about what might just be available for free. Branches and other pieces that are to be found in nature can make for nice decorative pieces that will be fairly unique. I have a few large branches which I have had for a few years and I tend to decorate them according to season: displaying christmas ornaments in December or some paper flowers in Spring.
I hope some of these tips will be of use to you and you'll be back for the letter 'C'. Later this week I will reveal our living room makeover and look forward to sharing what it looks like now with you.