Monday, February 4, 2013

"Shoestring" Budget?

I am a big fan of Sabrina Soto. You may know her from the HGTV shows "Get it Sold" and more recently, a show called the "High/Low Project". On "Get it Sold", Sabrina visits homes on the market that are not selling due to too high a price, too much clutter, or... too much ugly.

 With the assistance of the homeowners and the occasional power drill, she makes a pretty big transformation that leads to increased interest in the home, and eventually a sale. She pretty much does all the work herself with the homeowners, no hunky contractors or overnight work crews. I loved this show because I got a lot of ideas not just for home staging, but for decorating and updating a home without a high price tag. 
On the "High/Low Project", Sabrina promises to make dream rooms for clients at a "bargain" price they can afford. She initially meets the clients in her swanky design studio in New York, then borrows a bunch of furniture from her designer peeps and shows the couple the transformed room. After the clients revel in the glory of the designer room, she tells them the price, which is well over 25,000. She then itemizes the contents and explains the astronomical cost of each item. Rugs from Persia, bedding made out of 800 percent Egyptian cotton, hand stitched tapestries by nuns in Nepal, etc... you get the idea. After revealing these insanely high prices and reminding the homeowners not to step on the rug she has to give back later, she assures them she can recreate that same room on a "shoestring" budget, which generally ends up being anywhere from 4,000 to 8,000 depending on the room. And that is just for the materials. 

Now, for sure, 8,000 is a lot less than 28,000, but it's still no drop in the bucket to decorate one room. 
I don't know many people in my stage of life who are willing to spend either amount on a design project. So while the show is trying to demonstrate that you can have high style on a smaller budget, I don't find the "savings" that impressive when you are comparing something you buy at Target with something that is imported from Turkey.

For those of you who truly have a real shoestring decor budget, here are three very inexpensive things you can do to add style. 

Repaint/repurpose. Painting and refinishing furniture is really not that hard. If you really hate it you can always paint over it. Find a piece at a yard sale, consignment shop or your parent's attic, get some sandpaper, some paint and some hardware and you've got a new piece.

This dresser was salvaged from my parents house. It used to be a brownish rock maple with dings and sticky drawers. Some white paint, some soap to smooth friction, and some new hardware. Done.

Make your own wall art:  Frame+scrapbook paper=decorative art. I made the art in my son's room with some cute pre-made felt animals I found at the craft store, and some coordinating scrapbook paper.

Spray paint: There are all kinds of spray paints out there, for all kinds of surfaces.

I have spray painted curtain rods, light fixtures, chandeliers, door hardware, and even my kitchen appliances. 
Wear the right protective gear and use drop cloths!

So, don't let finances keep you from having fun with decor. Let it be an opportunity to showcase some creativity!

1 comment:

  1. The nursery looks ADORABLE! You did a fantastic job!